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9721 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Dec 29, 2011 3:15 PM by Monkey In The Middle
GinnyinPA Pro 150 posts since
Sep 29, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 3, 2011 12:17 PM

Clothes in winter

I'm a new runner and have never done any running when it's cold.  I have been running in the afternoons, and if the weather is bad, I run on the treadmill.  Since I'm doing a 5K on Saturday, and it will likely be a bit chilly,  I'm trying to get a feeling for what I should wear for an early morning run, and generally what I should do as I add miles over the winter. 


I'm a long time hiker and I have developed a system of layers that works for me when hiking and backpacking, but don't have a clue how that translates to running.  I usually sweat heavily, but if I start out really cold it can take a while to warm up, and I tend to hypothermia when hiking if I'm not careful.


So, at what temp do you wear long sleeves instead of a t, long pants instead of shorts, when do you add a jacket, or gloves, or a warm hat?  Do you bring a small pack or just tie things around your waist as you warm up? 

  • DadtoTwins Pro 55 posts since
    Mar 17, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Nov 3, 2011 12:39 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Clothes in winter,7152,s6-240-325-330-0,00.html


    Here is a link that you can use to help figure out a starting point, but you'll probably just have to experiment with different outfits by trial and error. Generally, I always wear shorts until it gets down to below 30 degrees. I'll wear a t-shirt down to around 50 degrees, then go with a long sleeve. As it gets colder, I'll add gloves, toboggan, vest, or thermal fleece jacket.  Just try different things.



    Run the Quay 5k, 6/4/11, 24:34

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  • Dobrobuck Pro 151 posts since
    Apr 17, 2011
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    3. Nov 3, 2011 4:51 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Clothes in winter

    Nice link!!! I've always been told to figure 15 degree's above ambient temp when your running. I always try to start with what I'll finish in, it doesn't take long to warm up for me.

    4/30/11 IL Marathon 10K 57:43

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  • Joseph Tree Legend 378 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Nov 3, 2011 5:58 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Re: Clothes in winter

    Gin, for a 5k you'll hardly need too much complication.  Stay warm with sweats and a jacket - even a little warmer than you think might be comfortable - until you're ready to run.  Then take the outer layers off and run with comfortable to light layers.  Keep your ears and head nice and warm, and your hands.  I like to use half mittens when it's chilly because I can slide them up my wrists and back down over my hands as needed.  They also let my hands cool off if they start to get sweaty.


    Sweat is a big deal when it's getting colder. Don't let yourself end up chilling down with sweaty cotton against your skin EVER!  They say "COTTON KILLS!" and they aren't exaggerating much.  Stick with synthetic materials agains your skin mostly.


    You will learn what works best for you mostly by experience.  Everybody is different and conditions vary from day to day throughout the winter.


    Good luck!  Running outside in the cold makes you appreciate life in a whole new way.  I won't run on a treadmill in this lifetime if I can help it.

    Barefoot / Minimalist Runner

    ...not maintaining this these days..

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  • runnermommy3 Pro 139 posts since
    Feb 6, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Nov 3, 2011 7:51 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Clothes in winter

    I'm glad you posted this! I live outside of Chicago, so a good chunk of my outdoor running will be in cold weather. I did a 10K on Sunday (it was about 45 at race time), and what I wore worked great for me - running tights, a long-sleeve Under Armour mock neck Cold Gear shirt with a short sleeve dri-fit type shirt over it, and thin Under Armour gloves. I was chilly before the race started, but felt great through the whole thing. The tights I have aren't heavy cold-gear type material, but they worked. I know I'm going to have to get some more layers, though, as the temp drops.

    Carolyn, wife to Chad and mom to three boys

    Started WW and C25K on 1/10/11

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  • crl8686 Legend 1,313 posts since
    Nov 11, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Nov 3, 2011 10:29 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Clothes in winter

    I'm also both a runner and a hiker. WIth regards to layers, I find it takes longer to warm up when hiking. When running, I'll warm up in less than 5 minutes. Also, If you're hiking and are wearing too many layers, you can easily take them off and stuff them in the backpack or tie them around your waist or shoulders. But when running, having to carry even one extra layer can be quite a nuisance, especially in a race. Most short races where I live do not have gear check facilities - so any extra layers get left in the car.

    Your choice of cold weather running clothes depends a lot on how sensitive you are to cold, and also whether there is wind or rain accompanying. I live in a northern suburb of Los Angeles where early morning winter temperatures are often in the 40's. That's cold for us. Here's what I'll typically wear for different temperatures:

    55 and above - short sleeve T shirt and shorts.

    45 to 55 - long sleeve T shirt and compression type shorts (long inseam).

    40 to 45 - short sleeve T shirt under long sleeve T shirt, compression type shorts (long inseam), thin gloves, runner's cap.

    30 to 40 (rare, only when I'm traveling out of town) - long sleeve T shirt under fleece sweatshirt, thin long leggings, hiking socks (they look a bit odd for running but they sure keep my feet warm), wool gloves, wool hat.

    Below 30 - I don't own true cold weather gear so I retreat to the dreadmill. Others will have good advice for "real" winter weather.



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  • LJ4 Rookie 2 posts since
    Sep 3, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Nov 10, 2011 1:37 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Clothes in winter

    I like running tights, long & short sleeve running shirts, tobaggan & gloves, and a running jacket all in dri-fit fabric.  A long sleeved shirt with a short sleeved layer is usually sufficient for racing in freezing temps so long as my head & hands are warm in tobaggan & gloves.  I typically wear a run jacket until a minute or two before the race, then tie it around my waist for the post race warm down.  Lots of racers wear a trash bag until the starting gun, but that generates a lot of unnecessary landfill.  The jacket around the waist has never slowed me down.  Good luck!


    "I'd sooner fight an army of lions led by a sheep than an army of sheep led by a single lion." Alexander the Great

    "Let's roar!" LJ

  • RunGoddessBA Amateur 24 posts since
    Dec 8, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Dec 8, 2011 10:22 AM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Clothes in winter

    For me it depends on the seasons and where you are located, running in Canada late fall and winter can get rather cold. Mid fall onward I always have a base layer shirt on to wick the sweat away. Good running jacket in this type of weather is a good investment I went with a Sugoi Firewall and has kept me warm on some brutal mornings. Mid fall to early spring is always tights unless a warm day is predicted. I also like arm warmers if your wearing short sleeve shirt or singlet check out Moeben for those for late spring/ early fall since you can always pull them off during a race if you get to warm.

    RunGoddess developer of the finest temporary tattoos for runners and triathletes. Free shipping to Canada and the US on orders $13.00 or greater.

  • everjewel Amateur 37 posts since
    Sep 19, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Dec 11, 2011 2:37 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Re: Clothes in winter

    Yesterday, it was about 27 degrees at racetime with a fair breeze. I wore long pants, a long-sleeved synthetic moisture-wicking base layer, and a light-weight fleece top layer, light gloves, and earmuff thingies. The gloves came off at mile 1. Fleece unzippered at mile 2. Finished the race plenty warm but not too hot, and stayed warm for the post-race milling around. I don't like to have to take off layers while running, so I will start off chilly knowing that I'll warm up quickly. For me, a barrier against wind and rain seems to be more important than another layer for warmth. I bought a lightweight waterproof windbreaker that was very useful this fall. It was great for days in the low 50s- upper 40s when I didn't necessarily want to move to a warmer shirt, but needed protection from stiff winds and/or rain. I'm definately going to use it thru the winter as a top layer when running in wind or snow.

  • Joyful123 Rookie 1 posts since
    Dec 11, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Dec 11, 2011 2:54 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Clothes in winter

    Would like to share a small recipe my Mom taught me to fight against cold during winter time:)

    boil a few sliced ginger + brown sugar, not too much ginger may I caution you or it'll upset your stomach. Drink it 10 ~ 20 minutes before you start running.

    Will keep your body warm. Ginger has many nutritional benefits, and fighting cold is one of them. You can google it to see for yourself.


    Hope this helps!!

  • Ron Franklin Rookie 3 posts since
    Jul 14, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Dec 26, 2011 3:07 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Clothes in winter

    I usually warm up quite quickly when I start running.  I just bought long running pants the other day for winter (northern California) running.  I agree with other posters that pointed out that staying warm after the race is more difficult for me.   I believe as others have stated here, I will get a light weight water proof light jacket to wear before the race, then tie it around my waist during the race so I will have it after to prevent chilling.  They also come in bright colors which adds an element of safety when running. 



  • Monkey In The Middle Amateur 22 posts since
    Sep 5, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Dec 29, 2011 3:15 PM (in response to GinnyinPA)
    Re: Clothes in winter

    Ginny, I'm going to assume you're female.  I recently bought a pair of Fila's Fluid reflective running tights.  I've always worn leggings as it got colder but after 7 years of running I decided it was time to invest some $ into actual running tights.  I loved them so much that I went back and got a 2nd pair.  They're very durable and not too thick but they do keep your legs warm.  I live in Los Angeles so it doesn't get as cold here as other parts of the country but I don't run as well when I'm even just a little cold and these really help me to warm up faster and run better as a result.



    Also, I recently found these work-out compression jackets on clearance at Old Navy that have extra long sleeves with thumbholes so it's almost like having built in fingerless gloves.  They're made out of the same material as the running tights and ironically match really well.  I also bought 2 of these because I really liked them (and if you have access to an Old Navy store and they have anymore in stock they're about half the price as what's listed on the link below). 


    Looking forward to this:

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