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5380 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Dec 24, 2009 6:15 AM by Outdoor runner2 1 2 Previous Next
misa7262003 Rookie 16 posts since
Sep 19, 2007
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Aug 28, 2007 5:19 PM

Winter Running Clothing

My sister is moving to Denver from California. She is starting to get into triathlons, but she was leary of running once it started snowing. I told her she could still run in the snow, but I have no idea what she should wear, or if there is anything else she should know to run safely. I know this is a little early still, but she is going through the whole panic "oh my gosh I'm actually moving" phase. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

  • jroden Rookie 1,350 posts since
    Dec 11, 2007
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    1. Aug 28, 2007 6:12 PM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    no big deal, there are plenty of great runners that train in cold climates.  Denver is easy because it's dry.


    lightweight wicking long sleeve shirts
    wind shell type jacket
    wind pants
    plain old shoes
    some sort of light gloves or old wool mittens if it's real cold

    That's good enough down to zero, if it's really raw people might wear a backlava or some goop on the face skin for frostbite.

    In the winter, wear a good reflector vest and flashing light, plan the run with the headwind part first and avoid route where you will get run over.

  • mbannon Rookie 1,542 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
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    2. Aug 28, 2007 6:24 PM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    We don't get a lot of cold weather here in Portland (Oregon), but from my limited experience with it, the real problem isn't snow, it's ice and slush.  Those two are run-killers.  If anyone has tips for those I'm all ears.


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  • DONSKIMAN Rookie 234 posts since
    Nov 25, 2007
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    3. Aug 28, 2007 6:57 PM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    "the real problem isn't snow, it's ice and slush."

    For ice I use screw shoes, made by taking an old pair of shoes and putting a dozen or so screws in the bottom for traction. I can post a link describing the process if anyone needs it.

    For slush I try to find an alternate route. I'd rather run in snow and ice than slush. Usually it's not slush everywhere.


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  • teacherjen Rookie 386 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
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    4. Dec 14, 2009 4:51 PM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    JRoden's winter list of clothes is complete.  You need less than you might thing.  You should feel cold when you start out, you'll quickly warm up.  If you feel warm starting out, you'll end up sweating horribly.  Running in the winter is one of my favorite things to do.  ESPECIALLY in the swirly, white, quiet snow.  Running in the summer sucks!   !|src=|border=0!

    Matt-  I've heard people say Yak Trax are great (I don't know how to spell it nor have I used them myself).  There are two different kinds I more "hardy" than the other.  They slip over your running shoes and are less likely to puncture your children than the nail shoes.  I think I'd kill myself running in shoes with nails punched through the bottom!  But I'm a clumsy oaf sometimes....

  • 4boysmom Rookie 1,018 posts since
    Dec 10, 2007
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    5. Aug 28, 2007 8:30 PM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    I love running in the winter!!!  Nuthin' like running in a snow storm or first thing in the morning after a good snow...

    jroden has a good list. Even in the coldest weather (single digits) I was fine with two tech shirts, fleece jacket, wind breaker, fleece hat, and gloves. I was fine with heavy tights except when it was very cold or windy, and then I need tights and wind pants. I bought a pair of heavy tights with windblock but it never got cold enough for me to wear them!

    The only problem I had running in the winter is that drivers are not expecting anyone to be out running...

  • tithers Rookie 1,259 posts since
    Nov 26, 2007
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    6. Aug 28, 2007 8:38 PM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    Snow? What's snow?

  • bcc594 Rookie 147 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
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    7. Aug 28, 2007 9:08 PM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    Some kind of wind-proof mittens are ALWAYS a good idea.  I used them as my only gloves while living in Germany, where it didn't really get all that cold, and put them over a pair of lighter gloves while running in the winters in Saskatchewan - where it got REALLY cold.  As many others have said, the cold isn't really the problem.  Watch out for the wind, however!  Wind can make a run very un-fun in a very short time.

  • ToddDubya Amateur 206 posts since
    Jan 26, 2006
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    8. Aug 28, 2007 9:33 PM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    The 'goop' jroden mentioned can be as simple as petroleum jelly.  The added benefit is it keeps you skin soft through a dry winter.  I use that on really cold/windy days and it's like having a mask on.  Just don't forget you have it on when you go to hug your favorite pet.

    I'll second (or third, fourth, whatever we're on) that you need less than you'd think. I spend most of the winter in one short-sleeve wicking shirt, a fleece and a reflective mesh vest. Cooler days (teens) call for a long sleeve shirt in addition to the short sleeve.

    Hands - are always tricky for me. Too much glove and you sweat and get cold. Too little and you're cold. I tend to err on the side of too warm and I tend to take them off mid-run unless it's really cold/windy. $3 poly gloves from your favorite running store are fine most days.

    Feet - trail shoes in the snow for me. Wool socks whenever I can get away with it. I just love wool socks, so any excuse to wear them is good enough for me.

    Head - Wicking baseball hat (Nike DriFit) with a fleece headband.

    Legs - Go for ColdGear UnderArmour and you'll be fine most of the year. They're a little warm as it approaches (warms up to) freezing, but I'm usually warmer than many people.

    Visibility - Mesh vest, reflective wristbands, headlamp, 100-light christmas tree lights, 500W halogen lamp, airplane strobe, air-raid siren, etc. Seriously you want to be as visible as possible because drivers don't expect to see runners out there. Reflective isn't enough if it's not quite headlight dark yet. I wear a headlamp most of the winter (I like the ones with the strap across the top of the head too so it doesn't slip).

    Just my $0.02.



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  • triandstopme044 Rookie 1,135 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Aug 28, 2007 11:24 PM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    Here's a link for the shoes"[/URL" target="_blank"> Don mentioned.  (Or at least something like the ones he mentioned.)  I'm lucky to live without winter, but I love the idea of these shoes.

  • reets15 Rookie 3 posts since
    Sep 28, 2007
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    10. Aug 29, 2007 7:51 AM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    Anything made by Smartwool is fabulous for winter running.  I highly reccommend the Smartwool Training Beanie.

  • SpartyGirl Rookie 456 posts since
    Oct 29, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Aug 29, 2007 8:01 AM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    Yak Trax are good for slippery surfaces, other than that I am in my trail shoes for the slush--followed by a warm shower !|src=|border=0!

    Smartwool and capilene are great layers in the cold and wind.

  • VictorN Rookie 395 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Aug 29, 2007 8:23 AM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    I use the screws shoes that triandstopme links to.  They are great in ice, as long as you have recently replaced them.  I usually end up replacing three or four screws after every three or four runs, more if I'm using them in a long run.  Mizuno shoes are great for converting into screw shoes because they have no air or gel bladder. 

    The key to running in the winter is to keep running all fall and into the winter. That way your body gradually adapts and you learn how to add the necessary layers. You will be amazed by how little you need to wear while running. I've run at -15F, but I know there are plenty of people on CoolRunning that have run in far colder temps.


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  • dragonsrouges Rookie 1,004 posts since
    Aug 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Aug 29, 2007 11:16 AM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    Oh don't remind me, now I feel like winter is just around the corner.  It gets quite cold here in Montreal (down to -40F/-40C) and I've run through all kinds of weather so it's ok. 

    One thing to watch out for is that if you run all winter on packed snow etc, and the spring comes around, you need to watch out for injuries because when everything melts, the asphalt is much tougher than packed snow.  I suspect quite a few people get injured when they think they've built a good base running all winter (on packed snow) then hit the speedwork on the much tougher road/asphalt once everything dries up...

  • NH_Runner Amateur 17 posts since
    Dec 6, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Dec 10, 2009 8:45 PM (in response to misa7262003)
    Re: Winter Running Clothing

    Visibility, layers and traction = winter safety!!


    VictorN -- I used the Screw Shoes from SkyRunner for several years (I used to run around Pikes Peak area in CO where he is kinda a legend).  However, like you found, they wear out quickly and need to be replaced.  I have never had good results from the strap-on systems and I have tried many -- YakTrax, Kahtoola, Spiky, etc.  I found an awesome solution last year called Icespike ( ) -- hardened steel cleats that screw directly into the sole of the shoe similar to screw shoes but last 400-500 miles rather than 20.  My set lasted the whole winter last year (quite an impressive New England winter if I may say).  Just got another for this year in town at EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports).

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