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Running clothes for cold weather?

asked almost 5 years ago | Report

So this may sound stupid, but I've never run in cold weather before and, being from Georgia, I don't expect to have to do it a lot. However, it is now getting down in to the 50's and will get to the teens for sure by the end of winter. Also, I'm going to be in Michigan over the holidays and expect it will be MUCH colder!

Any tips on what to get/how much is necessary for a good long run in the cold? Thanks so much!

10 answers

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  • Long runs in the cold can be a challenge. Too many clothes and you will get bogged down and also feel too sweaty. Not enough clothes and you will feel cold late in the run.

    My rule of thumb is when under 50, go with long shirt. Under 45 go with long pants. Under 40, add gloves and ear coverings. Under 35, add a 2nd shirt. Under 30, go with heavier shirt on top. Colder than that, then add more layers.

    Good luck!

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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  • Scott's answer is pretty much the way I plan to dress. Exact temps may be different depending on whether it's sunny or windy, etc.

    One of my tricks is to overdress at the start of my run, then run back by my house (or car) after a couple of miles and drop a layer.

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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  • I've always used the 20 degree rule.... whatever the temperature is, add 20 degrees to it and dress how you would to hang out at that temperature. That tends to work pretty well for me.

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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  • Not a stupid question at all. I've got the same issue. Travelling for 2 weeks to cold country over the holidays and I can't stop my training plan, which includes a few long 16 and 18 mile runs. I think I understand the concept down to 30F, but what the heck do you do if it's 0F?

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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  • I agree with Marcus G. Dress for 20 degrees warmer. But for me it also depends a lot on the wind and on how long I am going to be outside running. The longer the run the more I want to be able to shed clothing. I like especially hoodies that I can tie around my waist.

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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  • This tool has been helpful to me: http://www.runnersworld.com/cda/whattowear/0,7152,s6-240-325-330-0,00.html -- and my one piece of advice is always always bring your gloves, even if you think you won't need them. I always regret leaving them at home!

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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  • @Morey - When it gets around zero, be conscious of keeping exposed skin to a minimum - especially hangy-out bits which may catch more wind yet not get as much circulation - thinking specifically about ears but fingertips as well. Beyond that, it's jsut a matter of adding more layers - wicking on the inside, perhaps wind-breaking on the outside.

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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  • Always do layers, I like to layer my sweat-wicking clothing. So today, it was probably 52 degrees (I am used to 70's!) so I wore long tights, my nike tank top and a long sleeve running (wicking) shirt over that, a hat (this warms you quite a bit) and my reflective vest. I was fine. If I was running in 30 or even 40 degrees, I would add a jacket (breathable) and some gloves...

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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  • Lots of good information here. I especially like Scott C and Marcus G's answers. Hard for me to run with too much clothing or with anything tied around me, but layers are the best way to go. Hands and head get cold first. One idea is to wear socks on your hands. They are easier to wash than gloves. Good Luck. Chris Kelley - Framingham

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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  • I agree with a lot of the posts on here: wear wicking clothing, dress for twenty degrees warmer than it really is, and keep exposed skin to a minimum. Your own personal thermometer will vary from person to person (what beth a. wears in the 50s is what I'll wear in the 20s), but dressing for the cold really helps. A lot of heavy layers won't help nearly as much as a pair of gloves and something that covers your ears, like as a fleece headband or a hat.

    And as defeatist as this might sound, I think its always worth researching where you can pay a daily rate to use a treadmill. Michigan winters can be a crap shoot -- twenties calm and sunny is way different than zeros with bitter winds and/or deep snow.

    answered almost 5 years ago |Report

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