Cold weather running

I’m a year-round outside runner. Today, air temp was 5 with a windchill of -13 in Naperville. This is when people look at my like I’m deranged and ask, “How can you run in this weather?” Both Runner’s World and Competitor magazines offer great advice. For me, the answer comes down to 2 things: gear and prep/motivation.

1: Gear-

2013-12-10 08.32.02From top (clockwise):

Koppen coat, two-pieces (inner/outer shell): Bought this at Dick’s Sporting Goods on sale- $180 jacket for $65. I’ve worn this just twice while running, last year in Sioux Falls South Dakota when the air temp was below zero and windchill in the negative teens. It is ridiculously warm.

Columbia Ascender II Omni-Heat Gloves– I put these on when the air temp is below 20 or there are strong winds. Pro-tip- pull your fingers out of the fingers and make a fist in them- there is plenty of room.

Nike Thermal Tech Run Gloves– These are my standard gloves, from about 40 degrees on down. Nike makes gloves for colder weather, but these work fine.

Nike Dri-Fit Sweatpants- I rarely run in these on top of my running tights. I did this morning.

Nike Pro Compression Tights- The highest temperature I wear these is mid-40’s, and then only if it is windy. Wearing a standard pair of Nike running shorts (next) over them (you’re welcome) is plenty warm.

Next two items: SmartWool socks- I am thankful for the inventor of wool socks. I usually wear the ankle-highs, but wear the calf-length if I’m out in shorts for that sketchy upper- 30’s to mid-40’s temperature.

ASICS GT-2000- ASICS are my standard shoes. I keep ALL of my old pairs. when conditions are snowy, icy, or traction is an issue. I pull out an old pair and put 10-12 sheet metal screws into the bottoms of them and run off.

Nike Compression Insulated Top- This is NOT the hyper-warm gear. Cost is around $50. For temps 10-25, I’ll wear this under a standard Nike compression short-sleeved top.

Nike Compression Top- Standard compression long-sleeved top. Perfect for temps 20-35 under a short-sleeved shirt or alone under the next item.

Nike Quarter-Zip NikeFit- This is one of the first things I purchased when I began running in 2008. Over the years, it’s been in and out of the rotation. This morning, I wore it over the Nike Insulated top and it was absolutely PERFECT for the temperature and conditions.

Under-Armour hood- Covers the entire heat and the mask covers the mouth. Just pull it down when you get too hot.

Nike NikeFit hat- This is what they now call “Dri-Fit”. Insulated.

Under-Armour sunglasses- Year-round, great for snow glare and wind in the eyes.

I do a lot of mixing and matching of the above items. A good rule of thumb is to dress as though it’s 20 degrees warmer because as you run, your body temp increases. Layering is important because you can remove things as you heat up, and put them back on as conditions change. I’ve made some terrible mis-judgments, been too hot and too cold. If I’m going to err, I’d honestly rather be a little cold than too hot.

One more thing on clothes…get them on sale! Shop at the end of the season and look for deals. Buy last year’s model (I’m at least one cycle behind in my ASICS). When I began running, I signed up for a Dick’s Sporting Goods Rewards card. We used that Mastercard for everything, earning a ton of cash in gift cards at Dick’s- so many of the above items (especially the Nike stuff) was free. Also, take care of your gear. Wash it regularly, hang to dry the compression stuff. Untie your shoes when you take them off.

2: Prep/Motivation- I highly prefer cold/cooler weather running. In Summer, I’m out early morning and I despise humidity. I love being out in the snow, especially when it is falling. Out on the prairie path it’s quiet, peaceful and I love seeing only my footprints on the return; there’s just something about being the only one (or one of a few) out in it that gives me a good feeling. When I first started running in the cold, I’d set my clothes out the night before in another room, forcing me up and out of bed, turning the light on, forcing myself to get ready. No more. I just love Winter running.

How do you get ready for Winter? What are your gear choices? Secrets? Tricks of the trade?



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