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5138 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Dec 12, 2009 3:59 PM by whythehellnot
jenyren Pro 105 posts since
Jun 4, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 13, 2009 9:20 AM

Running in Cold Weather

Hello again.  I completed C25K in August and posted a question yesterday about training for a half marathon in May.  My next question is about gear I guess.  I live in Wisconsin and am already running in 40 degree weather.  This has not been uncomfortable for me but it snowed yesterday and soon it will be REALLY cold.  I don't want to resort to the treadmill a minute sooner than I absolutely have to since I know running outside is a better way to train for a race.  How should I dress in really cold weather?  Right now I'm wearing a tank top, short sleeve tee and a fleece jacket which I usually take off and tie around my waist close to the end of my run.  I also wear a headband over my ears and wore gloves once which I also removed.  I was very comfortable in this but I know it won't cut it much longer.  Obviously I won't try to run when it's -50 like we got last year or when the roads are icy but at what point do you not recommend running outside any longer because of temperatures and what kind of gear should I look for so I can remain outside longer?

La Crosse WI Turkey Trot 5K 11/21/09 - 29:28

La Crosse Rotary Lights 5K 12/13/09 - 28:03

Race With Grace 5K, 9/18/10 - 26:03

Reindeer Run 5K, Lakewood OH 12/4/10 - 25:12

Happy Trails 5K, Medina OH 05/29/10 - 24:54

Park 2 Park Half Marathon, Sheffield, OH - 2:10

  • RB67 Legend 233 posts since
    Sep 17, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Oct 13, 2009 9:47 AM (in response to jenyren)
    Re: Running in Cold Weather

    Jennifer - Good job with your running.  The key to the cold weather is layering.  You sound like you have already started doing this, so by adding layers and starting with a wicking material you should be able to stay outside most of the winter.  I always stay away from the ice and those sub-zero temps would also keep me in.  You should have plenty of decent weather for the heaviest part of your training in April and May, so that shouldn't be a problem.  Good Luck.



    You rarely regret the runs you do; you almost always regret the runs you skip


    • 03/27/2010 Feed the Need 5k 25:58
    • 04/11/2010 Cohasset 10k 54:46
    • 04/18/2010 BAA 5k 25:48
    • 05/30/2010 Run to Remember 1/2 2:03:24
    • 06/13/2010 Devanna 5k challenge 24:26


    • 11/08/2009 - Luv2Run 5k 23:52
    • 10/25/2009 - Canton Fall Clasic 10k 52:30
    • 10/11/2009 BAA 1/2 Marathon 1:53:46
    • 09/17/2009 Thomsons Island 4k trail run 20:24
  • cyndi t Legend 1,061 posts since
    Aug 11, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Oct 13, 2009 10:04 AM (in response to jenyren)
    Re: Running in Cold Weather

    Like Rick said, layering is key.  In Norther NJ where I am it gets pretty cold, especially last year, and I was able to run outside for about 95% of the winter (I only came inside to the TM when it was extremely icy which was like 5 or 6 days).  On the coldest days, what worked for me was (and i'm talking about teens and single digits) a tank, a long sleeve scoop neck wicking shirt, a 1/4 zip wicking shirt, a polor fleece 1/4 zip.  On the bottom, running pants under a pair of sweat pants and a headband and running gloves (not knit gloves but wicking gloves...make a difference as your hands do sweat too).  As the temperature rises, I lose layers startign with the polor fleece so.  For example, right now with temps in the 40's I'm still wearing compession shorts under my sweat pants, a tank, a 1/4 zip and gloves....usully lose the 1/4 zip and the gloves along the way.  You'll be able to monitor yourself once you get the layers careful not to overheat.  It might be cold out but you will warm up, trust me.  Ice on the other hand is dangerous as I also run in the dark. I run with a light and usually right down the mddle of the street (early am).  if the ice is fresh, I'll stay inside but if the salters were out the day and the road isn't wet, I'll run outside.  Snow is usually no problem...I seem to have ok traction on fresh snow (there is nothing more beautiful than to run on fresh snow when the snow is still falling...its peaceful, quiet and gorgeous).  Be smart and safe and you'll be fine. 



  • SMARIETTA Legend 302 posts since
    Oct 3, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Oct 13, 2009 2:57 PM (in response to cyndi t)
    Re: Running in Cold Weather

    do you wear anything extra on your shoes to aid traction-- like "YAK TRAKS" or any of the other bungee---wire shoe grippers?


  • kmac821 Pro 122 posts since
    Oct 13, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Oct 14, 2009 6:02 AM (in response to cyndi t)
    Re: Running in Cold Weather
    Hey everyone, I am also training for a half (no race in particular, just making sure I can run in the cold so I can train for Boston 2011). I live in Boston so it gets pretty chilly here. Since I am new to running outside during the winter months I want to make sure I am stocked. Does anyone have suggestions for headlamps/lights? I'm sure I'll look ridiculous and I also don't know how Daylight Savings Time ending will affect my 5:45 am runs, but I want to be prepared at least. I'm thinking about getting that Brooks bright yellow jacket and/or a reflective vest, but not all street lights are on at that time so I am looking for suggestions! Thanks everyone!

    Personal Records:

    4/18/10: BAA 5K, Boston, 28/219 division, 858/4329 overall, 24:23, 7:51 pace

    9/5/10: Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon, 2380/14767, Div: 90/908, Gender: 636/8380, 1:53:14, 8:39 pace
    10/17/10: BayState Marathon, 4:09:57, 9:33 pace

  • AFatManRunning Legend 326 posts since
    Sep 14, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Oct 14, 2009 10:04 AM (in response to jenyren)
    Re: Running in Cold Weather

    Jennifer Anderson,


    Actually, running tights don't need to be expensive.  My wife found a set of "warm wear" leggings at Target for around $8.  I found a pair of 80/20 polyester/spandex leggings (under the Starter label) at Wal-mart for $10.  I ran in the during our first major snowfall on Monday, and the leggings made a huge differnce in staying warm.  It was about 24ºF that morning, and I was running with baskeball shorts and the tights on the bottom, a similar tights-type long-sleeve shirt on top, and then another long-sleeve athletic shirt.  For warmth, I added a fleece vest, hat, and gloves.  Once it gets down near zero, I'll likely add some nylong windbreaker type pants that I can snap open on the side if they get too warm, and a windbreaker shell (I already used one on the cool days that were rainy).

    It was my wife's idea--really! Okay, it helps that I need to lose the weight, too. (FatManRunning - Couch to 5k)

    Completed Couch-to-5k - 10/30/09

    Chaska Turkey Trot 5k - 11/14/09 (42:13)

    Howard Lake Turkey Tagalong 5k - 11/26/09 (42:23)

    Sat around like a bum while I finished grad school - 11/27/09 to 6/25/10

    Restarted running 6/26/10

    City of Festivals 5k - 08/07/10 (40:45) - ran with Mrs. F and four of the kids!

  • NH_Runner Amateur 17 posts since
    Dec 6, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Dec 11, 2009 2:02 PM (in response to jenyren)
    Re: Running in Cold Weather

    SMARIETTA -- I prefer Icespike ( ) for running in the winter in NH -- lighter, don't fall off, better traction, last longer.


    kmac821 -- headlights work great (especially LED models such as Petzl Tikka2 Plus) -- I modify mine with a small piece of tape underneath to keep the glare off of the inside of my galsses.  I strongly agree with the visibility issue -- motor vehicles always win encounters with runners...


    Hope this helps!!

  • whythehellnot Rookie 4 posts since
    Dec 12, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Dec 12, 2009 3:59 PM (in response to jenyren)
    Re: Running in Cold Weather

    You should get yourself some moisture-wicking next-to skin layers first. Don't wear cotton next to your skin because you will get sweaty and once it is wet and gets cold, you're done for. As long as you have one layer of the moisture-wicking you can wear cotton over that but definitely not too much. You should feel pretty cold when you first get outside but once you get going you will be warm enough in that, a llong sleeved T, and running jacket.


    Cotton - bad.

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