Hello! I am a newbie runner who is starting the Couch to 5k program in the winter...in upstate NY! I live at the base of the Adirondacks and it is already quite cold and blustery. What recommendations do other newbie cold weather runners have for element protecting running gear that does not have a lot of bulk? I am on a tight budget and would like to continue to keep up with the winter outdoor running routine. Any advice anyone can offer would be great!
Vests are great because they allow greater arm movement while also keeping the core body area warm. Check out some of your local thrift stores and Ebay because you can find some great bargains (some of the items may be marketed to skiers or hikers, but also work wonderfully for runners). The main thing is to simply dress in layers and make sure that the dri-fit, wicking shirt is on first. Basically, look for those climate control fabrics that are durable and insulated...they do not have to be the most expensive brands to work well, so look around and you will find lots of combinations that will do wonderfully.
Wishing you all the best.
I've found that mittens work better than gloves for running when it's really cold. Mine are from Walmart for 10 bucks and work great. You lose a lot of body heat through the top your head, so a knit cap or toque (pronounced tuke) is important also.
I always advise people to buy a windbreaker with a full length zipper, you can use the zipper to control body heat if you start to over-heat.
Jasko has some great ideas, thrift stores are a good source for inexpensive cold gear and layering is definitely the way to go.
Enjoy life, this ain't a rehearsal...
A balaclava is a must. If you can't wear one one, then a silk bandanna over your face like a cowboy keeps your nose and lips from freezing. Cotton is better than nothing, but it absorbs moisture from your breath and freezes.
I ran a whole season wearing wicking thermal long johns under sweat pants 'cause that's all I had, but I was warm. And I wear goggles with clear lenses when I don't wear sunglasses, to keep the cold out of my eyes.
Keep your skin moist and lips chap sticked. And on real cold days, put Vaseline on your exposed skin for a layer of insulation. Don't forget to hydrate - cold, dry air sucks the water out of you with every breath. Oh, and if you are running at dawn/dusk or in the dark, you MUST have a good light or two, to be seen by traffic.
I LOVE running in winter. I admit, it's a bit milder here, but sub 30 F will be my norm for the next few months as I run primarily before sunrise.
I am fairly new to running in general and am wrapping up my C25K training tonight. I live in Wisconsin so I know a thing or two about cold weather I ran outside Monday night because I have a race Saturday and I thought I better get used to running in the cold, it was probably 20-25 degrees that night. This is what I learned. Rich in NH is absolutely right, mittens are the way to go, I wore gloves and my hands were freezing, the whole time I thought I should have worn mittens! I don't like hats so I wore my earpops which are earmuffs that go round the back of the head instead of over the top. I got them for $4.99 at Burlington Coat Factory. On top I layered and even that wasn't enough. I had an Under Armour tank on, then a long sleeve top and then a heavy hooded sweatshirt, I should have added a lighter jacket and that would have been perfect. On the bottom I had on a new pair of running tights but I should have doubled up because my thighs were freezing! A heavy duty chapstick is a necessity as Old Coyote said and to protect my face I left my makeup on which acted as a nice barrier from the dry, cold air. On my feet I had a pretty basic pair of Adidas running socks and my Inov8s. I really should have worn my Saucony trail shoes since they have a more grip, the Inov8s were weird in the begining and I thought I might slip on the pavement.
If you are running at night don't forget reflective stuff, I didn't want to spend a ton on fancy clothes with the reflective details so this is what I did. I looked in the cycling section at the sporting goods store because they sell reflective straps with velcro that cyclists use on their ankles for about $6 or $7, I put one on my ankle and one on my arm. They also sell little lights to clip to your clothes for $5 or $6, I think they are really meant to clip to a bike but it works fine for me.
A scarf around the neck helps with breathing, I was thinking of getting a fancy face mask but I heard about trying a scarf from a fellow runner and it works, I didn't feel uncomfortable breathing at all, just make sure it is the mositure wicking kind.
I didn't want to spend a lot of money on gear so I shopped TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, Marshall's those types of stores. I found running tights for $24.99 and $14.99 and tops from $9.99. I did splurge on my shoes because I had an injury that I don't want coming back and the Under Armour tank because I couldn't find any at the other stores I mentioned. I am running my first 5k this weekend and am really looking forward to it but all my cold weather preparation is for nothing since it will be in the 50s here this weekend
Good Luck and Stay Warm!
I just started cold weather running this year (sub-50 to 30 degrees)... I just started layering my tech shirts and a long sleeve in the middle, the tech stuff doesn't bulk up on you. Long spandex under running tights. I found Hind has a nice fleece tight which is very nice. Hands and head are critical otherwise you're miserable.
I also like cold weather running, but I don't really have a choice living in Wisconsin. Remember, you will have these items for a long time. I have a Nike Softshell jacket I bought at Kohls about 5 years ago for $50 (one of their many sales) and still good as new. My underlayers are all shirts from runs that I have done. I prefer to run in shorts unless it is under 10 degrees, so I have one pair of lined windpants that were given to me 7-8 years ago that are still good as new. I use a plain stocking hat, nothing fancy and bought a nice pair of running gloves for $12, even though mittens may be better. Target has some good running gear at affordable prices too, their C9 collection. You will have these items for a long time so even though you are looking at up front costs, make sure they are what you want. Like Rebecca, I splurge on shoes because I had very bad shin splints with cheaper shoes. I have a road pair and a trail pair of the Brooks Adrenalines, which has some waterproofing on them and has better traction when it is snowing.
Hope this helps...
Running in cold weather is actually pretty awesome. Once I figured out how to dress for it, I have no problem running in it.
- Dressing is all about layers, preferably thin layers. Everyone's comfort level is different, so the number of layers that you might select may vary. Heavy or thick garmets are bad. Besides, thin layers are lighter and easier to peel off and tie around your waist as you warm up. If it is windy, or a bit sleety, try a light windbreaker.
- Cover your head, neck, and ears.
- Make sure that your hands are well covered. If it's really cold, try actual snow mittens.
- If it is really nasty get something to cover your mouth and nose (helps control how much icy air you suck in...)
- Long pants of some kind are necessary if it's really cold, but your legs tend to warm up more than your torso. Don't overdo it with super-toasty pants - it could spoil your run. It's ok for your legs to feel a little cold when you step out; they will warm up quickly.
- Get GREAT shoes, a little heavier than your summer shoes, and preferable gore tex to prevent the snow/ice slush from getting to your feet.
- Wear GREAT socks. Don't skimp here. This is probably the most important part of your gear.
Good luck and have fun with it. It is a great experience and you will feel great. It is better than being couped up in a stuffy gym on a treadmill.
For the record, I'm not a die hard - if it gets into single digits, I go find something else to do.
I love running in the snow, but avoid icy days or days when the road/trail surfaces are icy - no need to tempt fate to slip and fall and hurt something. That would really suck.
6/17/2012 AnnArbor HM 2:09:01
6/3/2012 DexAA HM 2:00:31
3/11/2012 St Pat's 5K 0:25:42
11/10/2011 AnnArborTT 10K 0:52:27
10/9/2011 Chicago Marathon 4:49:55 (cramps @23m, but finished running!)
9/3/2011 Milford 30K DNF (cramped out at 14m)
6/25/2011 Solstice 10M 1:27:15
6/5/2011 DexAA HM 1:58:53
5/1/2011 BurnsPark10K 0:51:58
10/17/2010 Detroit HM 2:06:19
6/6/2010 Dex-AA HM 2:09:30
I have found that Good wool socks are a must for my cold weather runs. I am well insulated and hate to run in anything but shorts but I also do have pair of long bicycle pants I will wear for really really cold days (all three or four we get here in NoVA.)
otherwise I much prefer running in temps between 30 and 50. I have had my best runs in colder weather.
races in 2013 - Always trying to keep moving
31 Dec 2012: Fairfax 4 miler: 49:34
10 Feb 2013 Run your heart 2013 35:30
Please check out this site: http://www.exceptionalcomfort.blogspot.com/
runian73 - Great video. They guy wears wear more layers than I do, but then again - 1 below at 0% humidity (where I live) is WAY different from the humidity you get on the coasts.
I want to add that much of my gear I bought at the thrift stores. I'll get a piece that is "almost" just what I'm looking for for a few bucks, then I can wait for the perfect item to go on sale. I splurged on some Balega wool socks for sub zero days.
I have several pair of cheap, Walmart women's stretch knit gloves for mild cold weather. They're a buck a pair, so if they get lost, no biggie. I also have running gloves, and I haven't needed mittens so far. Again, low humidity .
The oft repeated statement about losing most of your heat through your head is misleading. This came from a study where soldiers were dressed in winter BDUs, with no head covering, and then heat loss analyzed. Well, of COURSE the heat escaped through their heads! The rest of their bodies were covered; what do you expect! Just saying that when I run in cool weather (25-35 degrees) I wear shorts and a hat, and most of my heat loss is through my legs. Runners with long hair can sometimes get by with ear warmers.
Lastly, for traction use screw shoes. http://www.competitiverunner.com/screwshoes.html
Silly name, stupid low cost, serious gear!
I've been a MI winter runner my entire life. I love running when no one else is willing to go out!
I agree with all others - layers are a must. My goto clothes (unless it is really cold and then I layer more) are running shorts with heavier tights over top. I normally have on a long sleeve moisture wicking shirt with a moisture wicking T-shirt over top. I wear a 10 yr old nike shell full zip windbreaker. I have several hats, but my favorite one is a simple fleece hat from old navy. I normally wear gloves from kohls that I can just throw in the wash when done. (I have about 4 pairs of gloves I alternate between depending on how cold it is outside.)
The two things I do differently are to wear heavier socks such as those for skiing or hiking in my running shoes. They are a little bulky, but otherwise with the running shoe venting, my feet freeze! If running in the snow check out "YAKTRAKS" I prefer the PRO for $30. You will still slide on ice, but it makes your footing predictable. They will wear down if you run on concrete too much, but I had a sister who was a collegate runner who slipped and broke her ankle, so they are a must for me!
If it is darker out, I wear what I can best describe as a crossing guard reflective vest that I bought at a local running store for $25ish? I used to do shift work, so I would do the majority of runs before work when it was dark outside, so this was a must for me as well.
The amount of heat lost through the head is due to the large quantity of blood flowing through it to supply your brain with oxygen. The head is also relatively thin compared to the muscle, fat and thicker skin at other parts of the body.
C25k completed 7/27/2012
1st 5k: Alert Road Race 6/15/2013 - 34 minutes