Running in the Cold – What do I Wear?

“I am a new runner, I started running in the summer. All I am used to this heat and humidity. Yes, I had some miserable runs with that heat and humidity. However, anyone I know who runs, can’t seem to sympathize that I have never run when it’s cold. Tonight I have a race and it is only 36°. I know to layer. But, there’s just one place I would like to express that this is really throwing me off base. I am not used to running in cold. I’m doing a race for Halloween where we run in a well-known cemetery in Chicago. I’ve already posted about this. The cemetery is going to be even colder because there is water, ponds. I guess I’m getting tired of people telling me what they like as opposed to hearing what I’m concerned about because I’ve never done it before. The other thing is that I am walking to the race, it is maybe seven blocks away. Hopefully I will warm up by doing that. So, besides layering, what do you think I should wear? I’m bummed out by the cold because my cute T-shirt may end up being covered because I’m going to have to throw on a jacket. I do plan on wearing a layer underneath the T-shirt so maybe that’s all I need? I plan on some light gloves. Probably need some type of small warmth on my head. This is confusing to me because I’m used to running when it is 60 to 80°! I am very petite, I have no insulation on my body, ha ha. In my regular life, I am always cold. Let’s just say by the time you see sweat on me, everyone else is already melted and is on the ground in a puddle! So, we know that I run chilly, I am going to warm up by running, I am going to wear a layer under my T-shirt, I’ll have some gloves and a hairband, do I add a light jacket on top? What do you think? Again, I’m looking for a little understanding! I am not used to this. It doesn’t matter what other people are used to or what other people like, I just need some understanding and clothing advice. Thanks!”

If it’s cold, I always wear something over my mouth and nose. Keeps my chest from hurting. Also light gloves. Unless extremely cold, I don’t really get cold on my body. Hope that’s helpful.

It’s really trial and error with the temperature. Gloves are a wonderful start. But just like you said you will warm up. Just go have fun and do your best. I believe it is harder to breathe when it’s colder.

A hat to help maintain body heat, but wear light layers. Gets uncomfortable if you over dress.

Layers are good, maybe a jacket you can tie around your waist if you get warm, plan as if it will be 20 degrees warmer because once you get moving that will be what it feels like. I would do ear warmers and cheap gloves. You will do great!

Rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s 10 degrees warmer than what the air temp is for running. So if it’s going to be 32 dress as you would for 42 degrees. I like layering tech fabric over compression. I try to avoid anything cotton since if I do sweat the cotton holds that cold water against me. Light cotton gloves of the kind you get at a hardware store or wal mart work really well. For cold weather my most important piece is a knit ski cap I’ll sometimes run in shorts and t shirt with cap and gloves even when it’s in the thirties. Keeping my head and hands warm usually is enough.

Dry-fit (moisture-wicking) long sleeve shirt under the T shirt, leggings or capris, ear warmers, cheap gloves if you want. I have trouble with breathing in cold and dry air from asthma, so I bought a thin neck buff that I bring up over my nose to keep my breath warm and moist when the temps get to 40 or lower. The dry-fit shirt is important because it’ll get the sweat off your skin and keep you warmer without overheating you. You could bring a super lightweight jacket that you can tie around your waist, but I don’t know that you’ll need it.

I’m a Florida girl so you have my sympathy! #1 see what it will warm up to so you can plan your layers. Gloves and hat for sure. I also buy the back warmers from Walgreens and put one on my stomach and one on my back. I throw away once the race starts to avoid rubbing.

I understand not running in the cold. Living in Minnesota I run outside in the spring and summer but once it gets cold I’m a wuss and I run on my treadmill. I have a 5k coming up mid October and am worried about cold too. I have a dry fit long sleeve shirt that I will put under my tshirt and long leggings (no capris). I do have gloves and a hat that I bought from a running store when they were on sale. Stay warm..think warm happy thoughts

You have my sympathy as well. I grew up in Chicago but hate the cold. Something light to cover your mouth until your lungs get used to the cold would be good. Blessings to you!

I’ve been running in 90+ all summer. This mornings 5k was 40 degrees! Freezing for this TN girl. And my lungs hurt. I have no suggestions, just sympathy.

Don’t wear nearly as many layers as you think. At races where it is cold people throw clothes away the whole race. Clothes are too expensive to throw out. You will warm up while running.

At 36 I can still run shirtless. The body heat created by running heats me up in just a few minutes. I don’t need a shirt unless it is below 32.

Ok…so I run in South Georgia…Sometimes I believe that is the hottest and most humid place on earth. I hate, repeat hate running when it is cold. I do not like wind or cold weather. Below 50 makes me unhappy…lol. the biggest thing I have to do is cover my EARS. I layer and put gloves on of course (when it dips to like below 40) ha. But I have to have my ears covered. I usually use a band and a hat. I can take the hat of and tuck it in my pants like a towel if I get too hot. Also I like something covering my nose and mouth if it is super cold. Not sure if any of this helps. But mostly I want you to know that I sympathize completely with you on the cold thing. My running buddies can’t wait for the temp to drop…not me! Your run, your pace, your preference…lol

My first race was a 10k in March. I wore my smart wool thermal shirt under my tech t-shirt and I wore my tech thermal leggings under a pair of boot-cut running pants. I had a light weight tech jacket that I handed off to the hubs at a halfway mark. I was comfortable for the whole race. And I tend to get cold easily. Hope this helps

It was 43 for my run this morning. I wore a sleeveless base layer, a tshirt, and a very thin, light jacket. Also wore fingerless gloves and a buff to cover my ears. I was pretty comfortable for the whole 14 miles, just needed to zip the jacket down a little from time to time, depending on the breeze.

I forgot to mention mine is only a 5K! I guess whether I’m a little bit chillier little bit warm, considering the lack of distance, I should be okay, right?

If a fast time is your goal, better to be too cold then too warm. Overheating will slow you down. You are not going to get hypothermia from running a 5k in 36 degree weather.

I’m not a fan of running with anything around my waist, but I might put a light jacket over my shirts. I have gloves and headband and long-running leggings ready! You all have been very helpful and understanding, thank you!

I wouldn’t be as concerned with a 5k, but layering is still good. If you do need to peel something off half way through at least you don’t have long to carry it! Good luck!

You are going to do great. Get the gloves and hat and tuck them in your pants or your sleeves as it gets warmer. Wear long sleeves and push them up if you get too hot. Try to practice if you can if not just go with it and you will be fine. Enjoy.

Haven’t read all the comments so I could be repeating a thought. Dressing for the cold takes practice as we all have different bodies. What works for me may not work for you. One rule of thumb that is universal is that when your going to be active outside in the cold you should feel cold when you first step outside. If your warm enough right away, you’re going to be too warm once you start your activity. The more you run in lower temps, the better you’ll get at dressing properly. Personally, I LOVE running in the cold. And it gets pretty cold here in NEBR with temps often well below freezing. Good luck.

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