As the weather starts to cool down, many runners start stressing about what they’re going to do when the ice and snow hit. Even the colder fall days, when all you want to do is stay inside and keep warm, can prove to be quite a challenge.
Over the years, I’ve found that the better I prepare, the more I don’t mind cold-weather running. It might sound inconsequential, but having the right gear can sometimes be enough motivation to get out of the house and jogging down the road.
Out of all of the gear that I’ve collected in my journey, here are the things that make a tremendous difference in both performance and motivation when it comes to the cold weather.
The first thing you need to think about when it comes to cold weather running is your base layer. You want it to be warm enough that it’ll keep you toasty miles into your run, but you also want the material to be chosen specifically to wick away moisture. Your base layer should be more tight than loose, so that the clothing can do it’s job.
A lot of runners make the mistake of wearing a full blown, winter coat for their run. The problem with winter coats is that they’re designed to keep heat in, not regulate the temperature inside the clothing. Wearing a running jacket made of blended material to let excess heat and moisture escape is your best bet to staying comfortable as the temperatures droop.
Because a lot of running jackets don’t have as many pockets as you might want, we always recommend using a running belt. With a running belt, you can keep your keys, money and mobile phone safe and secure. Plus, by keeping this stuff around your waist, you won’t have big, bulky things in the pockets of your pants and jacket throwing off your motion.
Underneath your wind resistant pants, you’re going to need to wear a pair of running tights. Like your base layer, you want this to be made of a material that wicks away sweat and moisture. Your pants are going to keep you warm!
Wind Resistent Pants
Finding good, wind-resistant pants can be tricky. You want wind and cold to stay out, but you also want the pants to breathe! Modern day fabrics made by Under Armor and Nike feature technology that’s designed to do exactly that.
Between the collar of your jacket and your hat, there’s a lot of exposed skin that needs to be covered up, especially in extreme cold. Neck gaiters either cover just your neck, your neck and face, or your entire neck and head depending on which style you choose.
In extreme cold, you might want to use a face mask to shield your skin from wind and cold. Aside from looking a little bit frightening, it’s a great choice if you’re running for more than 15 minutes in below-freezing temperatures.
Wearing a hat is pretty obvious, but it’s worth a mention. Our bodies heat our core first, and our extremities last. You want to make sure to cover up your head. You can use a moisture wicking skull cap, as well as a wool hat in extreme temperatures.
With your feet and hands being the furthest away from your heart, it’s incredibly important to make sure you protect yourself. Frostbite doesn’t take long to set in, which means that you positively must wear gloves. They don’t need to be huge, thermal monstrosities, but you do need protection.
And lastly, you might find that wearing goggles in extremely cold temperatures is a good thing. They’ll keep your eyes from watering so that your eyelids don’t freeze shut (it can happen!). Plus, I’ve found that it’s just more comfortable on the long stretches…
Now, it’s your turn…
For those of you cold-weather runners, is there a particular trick or tip that you’d like to share? Comment below!