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What to wear for running in the winter?

November 14, 2017

When I first moved to Colorado from Southern California, I thought it was crazy to run in anything less than 40 degrees. But I learned how to layer and now I’m good into the 20s (I still won’t go out if it’s in the teens!). Just because the weather is getting colder doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in the gym for the next few months, you just need to learn how to stay warm when you do go outside. It might take some adjusting to figure out what works best for you, but these tips are a good place to start when it comes to layering for a winter run.

Wear two non-cotton layers on top. Cotton doesn’t dry quickly, so if you sweat when it’s cold out, you’re just going to end up being wet and very cold. I like to start with a long-sleeved shirt and a vest, and then put a jacket on top if it’s below 30 degrees.

Add full-length leggings with a liner. Many winter running tights come with a thin fleece liner on the inside to make them a little warmer. The compression in the tights plus the liner helps your muscles warm up faster and stay warm throughout your workout.

Wear technical socks. Running shoes are typically very ventilated, which means your feet can get cold easily. Whether you’re just sweating or you’re running in snow, your feet might get wet, and cotton isn’t going to dry quickly. Wearing wool or technical socks will make you much more comfortable.

Don’t forget a hat and gloves! There’s nothing like a cold wind whipping around your ears to make a run go from fun to miserable. Whether you wear a hat or just a headband to cover your ears, putting something on your head is a good idea. Some runners find that a balaclava is even better if it’s really cold. It will protect your head and your face from low temperatures and the wind.

It’s also nice to be able to feel your hands, and running-specific gloves are the ideal choice. If your hands start to feel cold in your gloves, squeeze your fists a few times to get the blood flowing.

Try some different layering options out and see what works for you. You'll be heading out for a winter run in no time!