Running in the cold

As it’s starting to get cold I’ve been struggling to get into the routine of what to wear on winter runs. It’s not that I don’t have the right clothes, or enough of them, it’s just that I don’t remember what I ran in last year at varying temperatures.

I do remember one rule I came up with last year – shorts and short sleeves are fine down to about 48°F (about 9°C). This worked out well for me last night when it was pretty much exactly that temperature when I went out. I remember doing a race back in March which started off with temperatures in the 30’s, and I wore shorts for that. It was tough at the start line, but I soon warmed up (as did the weather a bit if I recall correctly), so it is possible to wear shorts in colder temperatures.

I have been having problems over the last couple of weeks working out what to wear in lower temperatures, and have felt that I have been over dressed on a couple of runs.

I’m sure I’ll work it out over the next few weeks as I get used to the weather patterns again. I’m happy to run in any temperature (pretty much) thanks to a set of clothes I got for cycling a few years ago. I have managed to cycle in 15°F (-9°C), and that doesn’t include the wind chill, and have stayed relatively warm which is more that can be said for the water bottle I carry which has a tendency to freeze shut during rides in those sorts of temperatures.

Does anyone have any “rules” they live by to determine what to wear for a run based on the temperature outside?

Update: the first of the colder weather updates is here – Running in the cold part 2.
Another update: Running in the cold part 3

Tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Running in the cold

  1. paigesato says:

    I’m trying to figure this out, too. Last winter was my first winter running, and the weather was so atypically warm that I got by with a pair of saucony tights and half-zip, usually with a long-sleeved shirt underneath. I bought the Sugoi Versa jacket (sleeves are attached with magnets, so they can rip off to create a vest) earlier, and I’m hoping the 3 layers (shirt, half-zip and jacket) do the trick. I’ve learned so far that I don’t need the sleeves on the jacket for anything above 35F. We’ll see what happens in Jan.

  2. runninginnj says:

    I ran Ashenfelter in shorts and a t-shirt, but normally I would probably run in a long sleeved shirt in that sort of temperature (races are different somehow). I think down to about 35 I would have a short sleeved t-shirt covered with a fairly thin long sleeve top or I also have a great under armour long sleeve shirt which is perfect for around 40, then the tops just start getting thicker as it gets colder.

  3. Pingback: Running in the cold part 2 | Running in NJ

  4. Racing complicates what to wear when running in the cold even more. We have a great winter series in Albany, NY, but I find it difficult to figure out to dress. One time I remember that the temperature at the start of a three miler was 7 degrees. Difficult, but by the end of the race, I was drenched. An important consideration is whether you will be able to quickly get inside after the race. If so, I think it is better to wear too little for a shorter race. The indispensable clothing for me during winter races is a good hat, good running gloves, and a nylon vest. I wear compression sleeves on my lower legs, so I can usually wear longer shorts until it gets into the low 30s.

    • runninginnj says:

      Agreed – races are definitely an exception. I have only done 2 races in the cold so still trying to work that out so thanks for the thoughts. I plan on investing in compression sleeves anyway so I’m sure they’ll go to good use.

Leave a Reply