Monday, December 3, 2012

Winter Running: What to Wear

Winter is here. Ok, not here in DC, but elsewhere. Like in Vermont. This is the time when we must bundle up to run in the cold.

So what do you wear exactly?

I've learned a few things over the years when it comes to winter running. Sweatshirts are OUT! What on earth was I thinking back in high school and college? Below are my necessities for winter running.

1. A wind-proof jacket
This was the best clothing decision I ever made in 2010. I made it through last winter with a pretty thin jacket, but made sure to include layers underneath. The jacket does not have to be thick. But it should be windproof. And if you're willing to pay a little more, it is nice to get one that is also water proof. 

DO NOT use a sweatshirt. The winter wind will blow right through and if you get sweaty at all, then you'll begin to freeze. Get something that is specifically made for exercise. If you live in a super cold climate, then you may decide to buy a thicker running jacket. Tom has a thin one like I have, but also has a thicker one. He's more willing to venture out in freezing temperatures, while I prefer to stay inside and eat chocolate. 

2. Tights/Spandex
I hate wearing running pants in the winter. They get wet the minute you step in a puddle of slush. Tights are the way to go. If it gets below 10 degrees, you may even want to wear two layers of tights, or a pair of running pants on top of them. 

3. Running gloves
You need these! Some are reflective. Some have key holders. Running gloves let your hands breathe and keep your hands warm. I just purchased some at Costco a few weeks ago and they seem really durable and warm. I haven't had the chance to use them down here yet, but know they'll be great when I go back to VT in a few weeks. 

4. A running headband or hat
I prefer a headband when I'm out there. You need something to cover your ears, for sure! It can also help to keep the snow off your head and keep you dry. 

5. Thick running socks.
My favorite are Darn Tough's socks. I was so sad to miss their annual sock sale this year. Like all running clothes, you want something that will let our feet breath, but need something thick to keep them warm. Don't use cotton socks!!

6. Layer, layer, layer!
I absolutely hate running in Tech T's or long sleeves in the winter. I know that you're "supposed" to, but they drive me crazy. Instead, I layer with cotton t-shirts and long sleeves. But I am quick to change out of them as soon as I finish my run, knowing that if they're sweaty, then I will get cold immediately. Cotton is usually a big NO-NO when it comes to winter running. 

7. Think Plus-20
Plan to dress 20 degrees warmer than what the actual temperature is. If it is 40 degrees out, ask yourself, what would you walk outside in if it was 60 degrees. I can get away with capris and shorts in 40 degree weather, but any lower temperatures call for spandex pants. I also know that once it is below 40, I like to wear a t-shirt, long sleeve, and a jacket. Everyone is different, so you have to experiment.


  1. All great things! It can get pretty cold in Spokane so I always layer up in the beginning. If it's a long run day I can always loop back to my house and shed some layers if I get to warm. I would rather be too warm in the beginning than too cold

  2. Yes!!! My greatest dilemma in life and running: What do I wear?! I love the tip about the +20 degrees thing. I seem to overheat a lot when I run, I get very sweaty relatively quickly, so I'm kind of learning this as I go along. I was wearing my fleece sweaters OVER a long-sleeve shirt but now I wear a long-sleeve shirt with a t-shirt over it instead and I don't feel like I'm festering in my own sweat after a mile.

    THANK YOU for the sock tip. I had a job interview the other day (yay!) and wore these shoes that dug into the backs of my heels really badly, I gotta toss those shoes and get better socks!!

  3. thank you for such a sweet comment!!
    I LOVE your Nike Running's so cute!
    seeing pictures of cute running gear/the Lululemon website make me wish it were cooler here in Socal during the winter...until I actually try running in winter weather, then I'm a wimp and am thankful for our sun!
    I hope your week is off to a great start!

  4. Greaaat tips! I totally learned the hard way about running in a sweatshirt too!

    Your jacket is adorable. I need a new one!

  5. Thank you--I definitely need a good pair of running gloves, I"ll go check my Costco! Did not know about the difference between running tights vs pants, good to know:)