Cold weather running: a tutorial

by Lesley on October 17, 2012 · 1 comment

in running

Cold weather running is upon us again. The mornings are no longer sunny and warm. Instead we’re back to dark 6:00am wakeup calls. The flannel sheets make it SO HARD to get out the door.

Staying motivated in the cold months can be really difficult. Trust me when I say the last two winter seasons have been especially challenging being that I was pregnant for one of them, and breastfeeding during the next one. The absolute worst thing ever is getting up extra early to pump before being able to leave on a run.

But, running during the cold months can be done and it can be enjoyable too. I find that I’m often cooped up inside during the winter months, so getting in a morning run feels good for my skin and lungs. I love the fresh air, even if it’s 30 degree fresh air. Plus, who doesn’t appreciate seeing the sunrise every morning?

One of the hardest parts about cold weather running is knowing what to wear. In Sacramento it can often drop to the low 30s during our 6:00am run. Here’s an idea of what I have in my bottom dresser drawer to keep me warm:

A running headband is a MUST for your ears. I have one like this, but I choose a beanie on the coldest days.

Running gloves are another item that are really important. I used cheap Target mittens until last winter, and they worked wonderfully too. In fact, my pair of Nike dri fit gloves can often not feel warm enough on the coldest of days. (Although they wash nicely!)

Headlamps are a must for avoiding obstacles and being seen by cars. My trusty headlamp (below) has recently pooped out, resulting in my nasty fall. It’s about time to invest in something new. This article on best headlamps might be a good place to start.

As for clothing, I love:

Target’s Champion C9 seamless cami bras. (Buy enough for you to have a clean one every day of the week you run.)

Champion moisture wicking black running pants. My two pairs have lasted me for years now even though I’ve washed them a ton. Depending on how cold it is where you live, you’ll probably want to invest in the thickest material you can find. I wear my pants twice before washing them. I know, kinda gross.

This summer I bought Zella live-in leggings from Nordstrom, which I plan to wear for running and lounging. (I haven’t yet tried them out but Katie says they’re great!) They will replace one of my Champion pants which are too stretched out to last another season.

Nike dri-fit long sleeve shirts. These guys are expensive but can be found at the outlets for much less. If you’re running several times a week, they are a great investment. I love how they fit nicely under a jacket. Which brings me to my next point.

You’re going to need a warm jacket. For the first year I only owned one warm running jacket and I washed it lots. Now I have a lighter wind breaker, and a second warm option. There are lots of options out there but Nike and Lululemon both carry choices for varying temperatures. Make sure to find something that has lots of zippers so that when you do warm up, you can start unzipping to find the right temperature.

Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just getting started, I hope my cold winter running checklist will help you gear up for the winter months ahead. What tips do you have for cold weather running?

Also: How to Train in the Cold Months

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So, you may be disgusted my how little I wash my running clothes. I just hang them up after I work out, and they are fine the next time I grab them. Lulu may be expensive, but I do have to hand it to them.. whatever anti-stink stuff they put in their fabric works! ps. I have a Petzl head lamp and it works well. I just bought the best rated one off Road Runner Sports at the time.