What to Wear on a Cold Run

Brrrrrrrrrrr. Hello, Winter! Most of my runs these days begin in mid 30 degree weather. A bit of a change from sweating it out during the summer months! I know the seasons are changing during marathon training when I need to completely adjust what I wear. There's nothing worse than being so cold on a run your body can barely move. It took some time to figure out what would be the best without overheating and without freezing, but I think I have my winter run wardrobe down.

What to Wear on a Cold Run

Temperature Planing

The key is not to overdress, but not to underdress. Here's my temperature gauge:

30-40 Degrees:

What to Wear on a Cold Run

Long Sleeve, Long Pants, Gloves, Hat or Headband

From top down, my picks are a moisture wicking beanie with a pony tail holder. Like TrailHeads Ponytail Hat. If hats get too warm for you I also LOVE Buff's UV Headband, I wear it on almost all of my cold weather runs. Next, I like a thinner long sleeve. Pretty much any performance long sleeve will work, but I've invested in several of Athleta's Long Sleeve Pacfica. Next I wear just a regular pair of knit gloves, ones you can pick up in almost any store for about $2.00. They wash and dry easily and really help to take the bite out of those early cold mornings. Lastly, I like to wear running tights when its super cold. My favorite is 2XU's Compression Tights - not only do I stay warm, but I get all the benefits of compression! (2XU also makes a thermal version of the tights - I haven't needed anything warmer, but I think if I was running in sub 30 degree temperatures I would get a pair!)


40-50 Degrees:

What to Wear on a Cold Run

Long Sleeve or Short Sleeve (or both, layered), Long Pants or Capris, Gloves, Headband

This weather can be a little tricky. I usually shed some of the layers and I'll only wear gloves for part of the run, but it helps keep the cold out for the first two or so miles. Then I'll either tuck them into a strap in my sports bra, in my waist band of my pants or capris or into a pocket if I have one. Sometimes I'll wear a long sleeve, sometimes I'll just wear a short sleeve, especially if the temperature is closer to 50 degrees, and I'll usually keep my Buff over my ears for my entire run.


50-60 Degrees:

I don't consider 50-60 degrees cold weather, but it can make for a few chilly starts. However, I tend to warm up within the first mile on these runs so as long as I can make it through the first few minutes I'm usually ok in just a t-shirt and capris.


60+ Degrees:

Look out! Its a heatwave! I tend to wear tank tops from 60+ degrees, I figure if I'm feeling a little cold I just need to run faster! Its good motivation.

Its best to do a little trial and error and figure out what you're comfortable in. It took me a few years to get my running wear down to exactly what I like so I know when I wake up in the morning and check the weather I can quickly get ready without being too hot or too cold on my runs!