One of the questions I get asked the most from novice runners is “How do I know if I’m dressed too warm”. For most people running in the cold takes a lot of motivation. For me, trying to convince myself that it’s “not that cold” or “it gets better once I’m out there” are always the two best mantras I repeat in my head.
The thought of my feet feeling like needles are piercing them when it’s so cold or the shower burning because my skin is so cold always pops into my head. My next thought is how many layers can I get on without looking like the Michelin Man. (No more than 3 layers… trust me)
It’s always easier walking outside all bundled up and warm when I start my run but after 5 minutes or so into the run I realized what a terrible idea it was.
The Struggle is Real
Dressing for the cold is one of the hardest things to decide on before going out for a run. I’ve been running for about 18 years now. Through the years of trial and error I have learned that the best way to dress is “less is more”.
When I walk outside if I’m not chilly then I won’t be comfortable for my run. For me personally, if it’s around 30 degrees I like to wear spandex, a long sleeve shirt and a reflective vest. My favorite reflective running vest is our TECH vest.
Not only is it reflective but it is a great wind breaker and it’s water resistant. It helps keep my core warm and insulated but my arms still get to breath, and if it gets too warm I can unzip the vest to cool off.
Dress For The Run
When I meet up for group runs or I’m waiting for a race to start it is tough going with the “less is more” theory. My teeth start chattering, (that’s always fun) my feet start going numb, and of course I can’t feel my fingers (I hate running with gloves). However when I’m 10 minutes into the run I’m always grateful for the “less is more” clothing. Everything warms up and my apparel choice is perfect.
Here are some good apparel suggestions for cold running; sleeves, capri’s, tights, buff headwear, and long sleeve quarter zip shirts (one of my favorites pictured below).
The other important thing to consider is your feet.The amount of mesh on your sneakers and the socks you wear can make a big difference in a comfortable run. Most sneakers have a fair amount of mesh for breathability, some even have some mesh pockets in the bottom of the shoes.
In the winter though, the snow can make for some wet feet, which means cold feet. I prefer shoes with less mesh or even some gore-tex material. A good pair of socks is also a great idea. Sometimes I like to wear quarter inch socks instead of ankle socks for more coverage.
Know Your Comfort
People all over the world have different climates. I have been to Florida in the January and people are running in spandex and jackets and it’s 65 degrees. To them its cold weather, where I’m running in shorts and tee.
No matter where you are, if you step outside and you aren’t chilly then you’re probably over dressed. The key point to remember is “less is more”!