Joyce runs in winter

What to wear for running in winter

If you’ve set your sights on tackling some big races in the spring, you might be wondering how you can possibly run and train in this winter weather.  Last year, I ran through my first winter and turns out it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.  In fact, I loved winter running so much that I now prefer winter running over summer running!

Other than being slightly cold for the first couple of minutes of the run, the rest of the run is comfortable as long as you are wearing the right clothing.  As my coach likes to say: There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices.

So here’s what I’ve learned about winter running and how to dress for success:

  • If you run throughout the fall and into winter, your body (and mind) adjusts to the gradual drop in temperature. If you are just starting to run now, don’t worry, your body will still adjust unless you live in a bubble and never go outside.
  • Contrary to popular belief, your lungs won’t freeze when you breath in the cold winter air. ?
  • In general, your upper body needs more layers than your lower body. I guess it’s cuz your legs don’t lose that much body heat.
  • You need to have three upper body layers: base layer, mid-layer, and a windbreaker layer. The number and type of layers also depend on the conditions.
  • Depending on the temperature, you need something to cover your hands, ears, neck, and nose. This means you will need gloves, headbands/toques/ear muffs/ buffs/balaclavas.
  • If it’s slushy or rainy, you need waterproof shoes. Running in cold wet feet is the worst!
  • For snowy or icy conditions, trail running shoes have better grip but they also wear out faster if the majority of your running is going to be on road.

Everyone heats up differently so you will have to figure out what works best for you.  Here is how I dress depending on the weather:

  • 10C+: T-shirt and shorts
  • 5 to 10C: T-shirt and pants
  • 0 to 5C: long-sleeve shirt, pants, and gloves
  • -5 to 0C: short or long-sleeve base layer, long sleeve mid-layer, pants, gloves, and something to cover your ears like a headband, buff, or earmuffs
  • -15 to -5C: all of the above + a jacket or windbreaker layer on top + toque
  • -25 to -15C: all of the above + another pair of pants with thicker gloves + balaclava
  • Below -25C: all of the above but with thicker layers
  • Below -35C: T-shirt and shorts to run indoors! ?

I have been wearing the RLM Rainbow Runner headband to cover my ears.  I love it because it’s super soft and it doesn’t squish my (big) head like some other headbands or buffs do.  ? Not to mention it’s super cute!!

I’ve also been wearing the RLM Hoodie as a long sleeve mid-layer.  I love that the hoodie part gives me a bit more protection from the wind and the little reflective monkey at the back is such a great detail for night time running.

Hope that helps!  Happy Winter Running!

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