cold running snowIf you haven’t heard, we’re in the midst of a deep winter freeze. Polar vortex has become part of our normal vernacular. We’re all ready for a break from old man winter, but sadly, it’s probably a couple of months away for most of us.

That leaves us with some options. The treadmill, of course, is a great one, especially if it’s wet or icy. Slippery and ice conditions are a great reason to run indoors. I can repeat many a story I have heard from some dedicated runners of fall and injury. Some careers cut short. But sometimes, you just want to get out for some fresh air and sunshine, even if it’s not warm sunshine.

So here are my TOP 5 recommendations on dressing for a cold run.

  1. Yes, you can overdress in the winter. I’ve done it numerous times and it can make a run kind of miserable, in my opinion. So hard as it might be, try to think 20 degrees warmer when dressing, which is the “feels like” temperature when you are running.
  2. Think layers. They are truly the answer to winter running. Depending on the temperature, you want to start with a base layer, whether a short-sleeve or long-sleeve base. I don’t have to tell you that it should be of technical fabric, right? But the idea here is to keep your core warm.
  3. Add a warm over layer or shell, depending on the conditions. Shells are essential if it’s windy—they offer protection that a regular top will not. Shells make me hot, so I love a shell with zip-off sleeves that allow me to convert it to a vest once I warm up. If you go with a second layer that isn’t a shell, a perfect option is a half-zip top. This allows you to start out warm and cozy and then let a bit of cool air in by lowering the zipper as you warm up.
  4. cold running That’s got you covered on top, so what about the bottom?

  5. Have a variety of tights with different lengths and thickness is helpful. Most people don’t get as cold on bottom as on top. For me, anything above freezing is still capri weather, but others like to be in full-length tights once the mercury dips below 40. Experiment here and see what’s most comfortable for you. For me, it’s a rare day that I need two layers on bottom, but if I do, I usually go with a booty short and then tights to keep me a bit warmer.
  6. Hats and Gloves. Hats and gloves are clearly essential in winter. Having a really high-tech, thick glove is great in the midst of winter. Some might even add on a throwaway glove under or over these gloves if it gets super cold. Our hands are kind of just hanging out, so this is a place that generally needs some attention. Hats and their thickness really depend on the temperature and personal preference. Again, being an over-heater, I rarely go with anything more than a lightweight beanie, but most people I know go heavier in the truly cold temperatures.

One final note – Call it 5.5 if you will, Sunglasses– If it’s light out, a pair of sunglasses can actually serve as an additional bit of warmth, keeping the wind out of your eyes and somewhat off your face.

Good luck getting through the toughest time of the year for running! Stay Warm out there!!!