How to Dress to Run in Cold Weather
Our Top Tips
When the temperature plummets and conditions deteriorate staying comfortable and warm when running is key. Former Commonwealth Games runner, Michelle Dillon, has provided us with her top tips when it comes to dressing for running in cold weather...
If you are anything like myself and your hands, face and feet freeze up in the cold then you have to make sure you are wearing the appropriate clothing and take the correct measures to ensure you feel comfortable and stay as warm as possible when you are out training.
Is it ok to run outside in the cold weather?
As long as you dress for the cold weather there is no reason why you shouldn’t go out running. It's actually quite refreshing, just be careful running when it has been snowing as there can be black ice on the ground which isn’t easily visible and could result in you slipping. You are better to run off-road like trails or on the grass in these conditions rather than the road or footpaths to ensure better grip.
How do you protect your skin in the cold weather when running?
Keeping your extremities warm when running in cold weather is incredibly important. Firstly let’s get some thermals on, and that means looking at warm gloves to keep your hands nice and toasty. Headwear would be next on my list, ensuring your ears and head are covered. Studies show that 7-10% of heat is lost through your head, so my personal preference would be to choose a headband with a warm material that covers my ears.
When it comes to my feet, if I know they are cold I feel like I’m running on tree stumps, there is nothing worse. I would therefore try thicker running sock for the winter. Choose a sock that is still very breathable but adds a bit more warmth to your toes. If you have all these bases covered you can be certain to have better blood flow and a much more enjoyable run.
How do you layer when running in cold weather?
I always say if you have the right clothing you can go out in any conditions, so layering up your clothes then becomes incredibly important. The weather in the northern hemisphere is so changeable so it’s good to have a selection of clothes you can layer up and take off if need be for different weather conditions or for the type of running you are doing. What I mean by layering is starting from your core and wearing a base layer garment that fits close to the body, keeping you warm while wicking moisture from the skin.
Further to this adding extra layers on top that are easily discardable if you choose to take them off. Try running in a gilet which acts as a windbreaker on your chest with the added benefits of a pocket for your mobile phone, keys, & money. I like to wear either a gilet that is close to my body to get me that extra snug fit for added warmth or a long sleeve windbreaker which is nice and warm, light and breathable.
What if it's raining? There is nothing worse than getting soaked and cold, so choose a lightweight rain jacket that keeps you dry and repels the rain and wind and gives you maximum protection.
How cold is too cold to run in shorts?
Running in shorts really does vary from person to person. A lot depends on how many winters you have endured and if you are used to the cold or not. It could be snowing outside and yet there are still some runners out in shorts, after all, it's your legs doing most of the work. Wearing shorts may be a better option for the runner doing a threshold session, as you can feel restricted or too hot when doing a faster run. I’d recommend trying shorts with compression tights underneath for that extra layer of muscle support and warmth.
Whether you are wearing shorts or not, it is best to warm up in warm clothes and if you like braving the cold then strip down and go for it. Making sure you get the thermals back on for the cool down as this will help your muscles recover quicker.
The colder weather shouldn't mean shuffling over to the sofa and hunkering down until spring and summer come around, get your run clothing choices right and enjoy those crisp mornings and sun-drenched winter days.
Follow the link below to shop our range of run clothing and ensure you stay on top of your game whatever the temperature.