How to Dress for Cold Weather Running: The difference between enjoying running as much as you can in winter and stop running outdoors during the winter season may be in knowing how you have to dress or what you have to wear to practice this sport during the cold season.
Therefore, if you want to know what is the most advisable and what are the mistakes that can be made that make you tremble at the possibility of having to go running outside in the cold, do not miss this article.
- 1 How to Choose the Clothing to Run in Winter
- 2 Do You Know the Running Temperature Rule?
- 3 So What Clothes Should I Wear Depending on the Temperature?
- 4 How Do I Have to Warm Each Part of Your Body in Winter When Going for a Run?
- 5 Women’s Dressing for a Run in Winter
- 6 Why Gloves Are Important
- 7 The Problem of Dressing When It’s Cold
- 8 How to Decide What to Use
- 9 How Much Clothes to Wear
- 10 Take Your Safety and Visibility Into Account
- 11 Choose Reflective or Colorful Materials
- 12 Always Carry Identification
- 13 On Cold Days, Use the Layering System to Go for a Run
- 14 Final Word
How to Choose the Clothing to Run in Winter
You can select the most appropriate clothing for running in cold climates, we recommend that you take these recommendations into account:
Protects Sensitive Areas
Take care of your hands and ears from the cold since they are areas that take longer to warm up and if you wear them uncovered when running, they will make you feel colder than it does.
Gloves and earmuffs can help you maintain a good temperature in these areas while being easy to remove.
Use the Layer System
Dressing using layers is the way to run in low temperatures and achieve maximum comfort.
The temperature that you are going to face will be the one that defines the number of layers you have to use.
Thus, the lower the temperature, the more layers you will need to avoid excessive heat loss and the drop in body temperature to dangerous levels.
For the layering system to be effective, it is recommended that you select the clothes wisely, so that you can unzip or remove some of them.
When selecting layers, keep in mind that to run in cold climates, you need to make sure that perspiration does not stay in direct contact with your skin, that it prevents heat from dissipating and allows you to minimize the effects of the wind.
For example, in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius, a good alternative would be to dress in 2 or 3 layers (depending on how you feel comfortable and what your tolerance to cold is), where the first should be a long-sleeved technical shirt, a diver and/or a jacket/vest.
Take Care of Your Torso
To protect your upper body from the cold, select clothing with zippers (or zippers) so you can open and close them to allow or keep heat out.
If you wear a vest or diver, a good alternative is to use those that include a hood, since it is extremely easy to put on and take off as many times as necessary.
Take Advantage of Your Pockets
For your comfort, look for clothes with pockets that you can access quickly and thus store gloves, earmuffs, and other accessories that help you fight against the cold.
Use Technical Fabrics
Avoid cotton and fabrics that can retain perspiration.
Select polyester microfiber (dry-fit or cold weather).
Long Pants or Shorts
When deciding which pants to wear, it will be key that you know the ambient temperature, weather (rainy, sunny, cloudy, etc.) and how windy (or not) the day is.
Once you know that, you can decide what types of pants to use, our recommendation is to avoid wearing long pants unless the cold is extremely harsh (temperatures below 0º Celsius and very windy).
The shorts, you get more freedom in your movements and are usually more comfortable for most runners.
Also, the legs are the main protagonists when we run and they will quickly raise their temperature, so you should not feel the cold as in other parts of the body.
If the cold is extreme and/or you have a special sensitivity (you hate cold, for example), opting for long pants may be an option. In this case, we recommend that you select special running tights since in addition to allowing you to move more freely, they can help you feel warmer.
The risk of wearing long pants when running in low temperatures is that during your training and/or competition, your legs become very hot and feel too hot.
Running in cold temperatures in extremely sweaty leggings can be very uncomfortable, as well as increasing a source of dehydration.
Use your training sessions to find the best way to dress to run in low temperatures, but remember that you should always look for clothing that helps protect you from the cold but without losing comfort and mobility.
Do You Know the Running Temperature Rule?
To know the most appropriate way to dress and better determine what clothes you need in autumn and winter, you can use the so-called running formula, which can help you compensate for the increase in your body temperature while running.
This rule consists of adding between 10 and 20 degrees to the temperature outside to calculate the temperature at which you are going to run, taking into account some factors such as the weight and size of your body, the pace you are going to carry in your career and the distance you are going to travel.
According to this theory or rule, if what you are going to do is a short run, at a gentle pace or you have little body mass, the idea is that you add between 10 and 15 degrees to the temperature. On the other hand, if you are going to do a longer run, you are going to run fast, or you have a lot of body mass, you can add between 15 and 20 °.
It is also right that you consider aspects such as the wind since if there is wind present, it is better that you see what the thermal sensation is and add to that number between 10 and 20 degrees.
So What Clothes Should I Wear Depending on the Temperature?
According to the rule, I have spoken, you can calculate the temperature that you will have when running and thus, you will have an orientation of the clothes that you should wear to feel as comfortable as possible. Therefore, here are several examples that you can adapt according to your rhythm and your resistance to cold:
- If the temperature is between 10 and 12 ° C, you will feel like it is 20 when running, and in that case, you can wear running tights or shorts with a unique long-sleeved shirt over the first layer. As the last layer, you can wear a light jacket that you can tie around your waist if you want to take it off.
- If it is 5 ° C outside, you will feel at least 15 ° C when running, so tights can be the right choice and a unique long-sleeved shirt over the first layer. The third layer should be windproof and waterproof, preferably.
- If the temperature is around 0 ° C or even lower, you will feel around 10 ° C when running, so you should wear compression stockings in addition to technical fabric pants for the legs. For the top, in addition to a long-sleeved shirt as the first layer, you should use a fleece shirt and a jacket with a windbreaker function that is already water repellent. You should also wear gloves and a hat to protect your hands and head.
How Do I Have to Warm Each Part of Your Body in Winter When Going for a Run?
You can take this guide into account to shelter each part of your body correctly:
- Head: to avoid losing body heat through the head, it is best to wear a hat, which will prevent sweat from entering your eyes. It is better if it is thermal because it will get less damp and isolate you more from the wind and cold, although nothing happens if made of another fabric such as a synthetic one. You can also opt for a sports brief, since you can use it as a hat if sweat bothers you and will protect your throat, especially at the beginning of running. Since the air is colder and drier in winter, your nostrils can become dry and your airways become narrow and too dry, you can choose to wear a ski mask, although it is not very comfortable running.If you do not like the hat, it will be almost essential that you wear earmuffs or a wide headband to protect them from the cold, since they tend to suffer a lot.
- Hands: extremities such as feet and hands are very prone to freezing as they are very cold, so it is advisable to run with gloves, even if they are thin, especially at the beginning of training, and once you have warmed up you can take them off if you want.
- Feet: it is best to use thermal socks since although some prefer to wear a double sock, even if it is thin, there is always a greater risk of preventing the blood from flowing correctly and suffering from blisters. As for the shoes, make sure they have good insulation and a good grip if the ground is slippery due to humidity or ice.
- Legs: avoid the temptation to cover them too much, since although in the first minutes they may feel numb and cold, once you start running, the simple movement will warm them up. A perfect option is to use short tights above the knees and on top of them, wear shorts if you want. And if it’s too cold, you can choose to wear long leggings, since, in addition to retaining body heat, they will help you prevent your legs from getting cold if it’s windy when they start to sweat. But remember that even if it is quite cold, it is not advisable to wear more than one layer on your legs, since they can sweat too much, even more than in summer and cause dehydration.
- Trunk: It is another delicate part of your body when you run since while the legs and arms are always moving, the trunk remains immobile. The most appropriate thing in winter is to use a thermal shirt, preferably long-sleeved and that fits well to your body to prevent the heat you generate from escaping. It can also be short-sleeved, depending on how cold you feel, whether or not you use it in a competition or the distance, because as your arms continuously move as you start to move them, they will warm up. On top of this first layer, you have several options since you can use a technical shirt if you are not too cold, which can be long-sleeved or short-sleeved. As a second option, you can put on a thin sweatshirt, preferably with a zip so that you can open it once you have warmed up if you see it necessary. And as a third option, you can put on a windbreaker jacket if it is airy as it will isolate you more.
Women’s Dressing for a Run in Winter
To practice any type of sport, we need good sports equipment. In the case of running, the same thing happens, women’s or men’s running clothing must be adequate so that we can perform much more.
The best clothes to wear to go for a run in any clothing of the year is one that is light, breathable, and made with a technical fabric that in winter can isolate the body from low temperatures. In this way, we avoid the accumulation of sweat, without the body overheating and keeping the body temperature constant.
We start with one of the most important garments to wear in winter, a thermal shirt that keeps our torso warm. Since it is this area that moves the least when running, and the one that has the greatest tendency to cool down, it is the one that we must protect the most from the cold.
To dress for a winter run, every runner should choose a technical shirt that prevents sweat build-up. Other thermal garments can be worn on this shirt depending on the outside temperature, but at a minimum, we must always wear a well-fitted cotton or nylon sports shirt.
The closer the shirt is, the less air will enter between the body and the fabric, and thus we better avoid the cold.
Windbreaker for Running
Another clothing to wear to go for a run in winter that you should never miss is a good windbreaker for those rainy days when we don’t want to get wet, and also for running in winter limiting the drafts.
A windbreaker is a very thin and light garment, which rather than a shelter, what it does is an isolate. It is usually made with little breathable materials, which allow body heat not to be lost. It’s like wearing a coat, but it takes up very little.
A woman running will be more comfortable if she only wears a thermal shirt and an insulating vest of this type. If you like to run in the cold but don’t want to fall ill, include this garment among your everyday running clothes.
While the right clothing for running in winter should be warmer at the top, during the run, the legs are the part of the body that moves the most, and they warm up easily. You may have seen that many people decide to go running in winter with shorts since the pants you choose at this time of year will be according to each runner’s preferences.
Avoid the temptation to wrap your legs too warm, because even if you are cold at first, you will end up experiencing a lot of heat at the end of your workout. The best clothing for running in winter is long or pirate leggings that are thin, and you can even choose shorts if you find it more comfortable and the temperature allows it.
Never wear more than one layer on your legs to go running, as it will not be comfortable. Technical jogging pants made of thin, insulating material are the best, and you won’t be cold.
Although the legs are not so warm, those who are often cold when dressing for a run in winter can solve this problem using good socks that retain heat. The feet are where more body heat can be lost, and the key is to protect them well.
In this case, you should use thermal socks that are not too thick to prevent your feet from shifting inside the running shoe. Never wear more than one pair of socks, because you risk your foot slipping and you end up hurting your ankle.
Gloves and Hat
Instead of wearing several layers of women’s clothing in winter, avoid heat loss in the most vulnerable areas such as the feet and hands and head. If you are very cold, do not forget the gloves and a good hat for the head.
The hats are great for going out for a run in the cold so that our ears do not freeze. A thermal panty will also work for you, which you can use for the neck, head and ears at the same time. As an extra tip, I recommend that you cover the parts of your body unprotected with a little moisturizer, applying a good layer on your face and cocoa on the lips.
Those runners who do not know how to dress for a run should always resort to the most basic outfit, but always with appropriate sportswear. If you want to give it your all during training, start with a proper preparation before leaving home, and even the low temperatures will not be able to stop your desire to exceed your mark.
Why Gloves Are Important
You can face the cold and enjoy every kilometer that you run, we recommend that you never forget to wear gloves since:
Your Hands Are Full of Nerve Endings
The hands are one of the body parts with a high amount of nerve and sensory endings (the tips of the fingers and the tongue are more sensitive than other points on the body).
As a consequence, your hands are sensitive to cold, so you must protect them with gloves while running in cold temperatures.
Your Hands Don’t Have Much Muscle
The hands (and feet ) have muscles that are not as showy as the biceps or the buttocks.
The muscles of the hands collaborate with the movement of our fingers, but not having the size of other muscle groups, the blood flow and the elevation of its temperature are different.
While you run, your hands will take longer than the rest of the body to raise their temperature and this causes that during the first minutes, it is annoying to feel cold in them.
The Problem of Dressing When It’s Cold
In the world, many seasonal runners stop training when the cold appears, since they are afraid of getting sick or prefer to stay in the comfort of their homes.
However, low temperatures are ideal for training and performing at your best and that is why we always recommend running in winter.
To cope with the cold weather and enjoy every mile you run, you will need to make adjustments to the way you dress when running.
Therefore, below we will tell you how to dress for running in cold climates and we will give you tips so that you can select the right clothes so that running in winter is not torture.
How to Decide What to Use
Runners who are not used to running in cold weather often have doubts about deciding what clothes to wear.
For you to understand the best way to dress, you must know that our body is a “machine” that functions appropriately, it needs to maintain balance in many aspects and one of them is body temperature.
To maintain its temperature, it uses thermoregulation, which is the mechanism to achieve a balance between the temperature that “enters” and the one that we “lose.”
When running and demanding our muscles, it is a rule that, with the passing of the kilometers, the body temperature tends to increase.
Therefore, the inadequate selection of quality and quantity of clothing to use will affect your performance and can endanger your health.
How Much Clothes to Wear
Thus, running in cold climates with little (or inappropriate) clothing can cause your body to lose a higher temperature than it gains.
In the same way, running in cold climates with too many clothes and / or of poor quality, can cause that although the environmental temperature is low, your body temperature increases in an exaggerated way.
Among amateur runners, the main mistake we usually detect is the last one; runners who, for fear of suffering from the cold, fill up with clothes. When they get warm, they begin to perspire excessively (even more than in summer).
Take Your Safety and Visibility Into Account
Another aspect to consider when dressing for running in winter is that it is not usually considered too much by many, ensuring your safety and visibility.
In winter, the days are usually shorter than in summer. Except for those runners who can run in the afternoon and under sunlight, those who do it in the early hours of the morning or the afternoon/night should take important precautions to ensure your safety.
Choose Reflective or Colorful Materials
Although many of the clothes for running in winter usually have reflective materials that help us to be seen in the dark, it is a trend that the costumes for running in winter tend to have mostly dark colors.
Here, the solution will be colored running shoes, which will increase the possibility that you will be seen more easily and thus, you can avoid accidents that put your health at risk.
Always Carry Identification
No runner is exempt from suffering inconveniences while running on the street. We are usually exposed to the possibility of car accidents or any type of incident that can leave us in a state of complete unconsciousness.
Suppose you are unlucky enough to suffer any of these incidents/accidents and it is necessary to resort to the emergency services in your country. In that case, it will be important that they quickly identify and communicate with a contact to report your health status.
On Cold Days, Use the Layering System to Go for a Run
When temperatures are low, between staying home comfortably or overcoming your laziness and going for a run, you may be tempted to bundle up too much, so you don’t stop practicing this sport outdoors. If you make this mistake, you may feel hot when you go outside, but when you start running, your body will begin to warm up little by little to the point that you can feel a bit overwhelmed.
To better adapt to this change in temperature, it is best to wear a technical layer system that, in addition to eliminating sweat, allows you to be comfortable running even in the coldest temperatures.
Although the outside temperature is 10º, you must take into account the weather, temperature, rain and wind conditions before leaving the house, so dressing in layers will be the best option you can choose.
The layering system that you will need during the winter requires 2 or 3 layers of technical clothing that have ClimaCool technology that will help you maintain body temperature and Dry-Fit, which will make them waterproof and breathable the same time. This fabric type will allow you to trap heat inside your body and isolate it from the cold, but it should not be too thick, nor do you have to feel that it is too heavy. Avoid cotton at all times, since when you start running, sweat will stay on this fabric and make you feel cold and uncomfortable.
The first layer would be the base, and perhaps it is the most important because it will be the one that is in contact with your skin. Therefore, it should be synthetic so that it can remove moisture from the body. You have a wide variety of tops and pants to choose from.
The second layer would be insulation, although depending on how cold it is and your tolerance to low temperatures, its use is not mandatory. This layer will allow you more insulation, although it must be made of fabric that allows you to continue eliminating moisture. For this reason, fleece or wool can be ideal, although sometimes, just putting on a long-sleeved shirt is enough.
The last layer that you put on the trunk should have a zipper towards the neck to raise or lower it depending on the temperature you reach or the wind that it makes. It is also recommended that they have a ventilation area under the arms, among other features. Remember that this layer will be your last line of defense against the weather, and it has to protect you from rain, wind and even snow. You can look for a top layer that is wind and water-resistant, so the recommended fabrics are ClimaFit, Gore-Tex, Nylon Supplex, Microsuplex, and Windstopper.
It is healthy, yes that you feel a little cold in the first moments of starting to run, especially before your body warms up, but as you warm up, the layers will take effect, in such a way that if You feel too hot, you can take off some of them and tie them around your waist to continue running.
Now that you know the best way to dress for a run in cold weather, there is no point in looking for excuses not to go for a run and stay home. You’ll see that with the right clothes and following our recommendations for running in the cold; it won’t cost you so much to go for a run and keep fit. Do not wait more!