How to Dress for Winter Running
Every time I get ready to head out for a winter run, I dread the extra 15 minutes it takes to suit up like I’m going on a polar expedition. That being said, it’s a fun challenge to figure out how to outsmart winter. What combination of winter running gear will ward off old man winter and his frosty chill? What will allow me to get in 8 miles without frostbite?
When properly dressed, winter running can be an awesome experience. With the right mix of layers, you can comfortably run in all but the worst conditions. Like skiers going out in fresh powder, winter running exposes you to the scenery you might not otherwise see in the frigid Minnesota winters.
Once you have your feet firmly connected to the ground, you can focus on the rest of your body. Layering is key. Multiple layers can regulate your body temperature, and give you an ability to shed unwanted bulk. For winter running, you’ll need three basic layers.
This is perhaps the most important layer. This layer will be touching your skin and should be synthetic so as to wick moisture away from your body. Any DryFit or Polyester should do the trick. I prefer Under Armour Coldgear. They have a variety of tops, bottoms and more you can choose. Also, the men’s/women’s New Balance Wind Brief is critical. It will provide extra protection from the elements where it counts.
Depending on how cold it is (and personal tolerance), this layer may not be necessary. Once your base is on, look to find a second layer of insulation. This should continue to wick moisture, yet retain heat, so you don’t freeze. Fleece is usually a good option. Sometimes just adding a long sleeve shirt will be enough. Figure out your own cold threshold. Find some good options at Amazon.com for mid-layer insulation.
Look for these types of fabrics:
- polyester fleece
This is your last line of defense (or first depending on how you look at it). This layer is going to protect you from rain, wind, snow and sleet. If you can find a winter jacket that has pit zips, that will allow for the most versatility. Make sure you find something that is wind and water resistant, has a full zip, hood, and ideally a little longer (to cover your butt). Pockets are also nice. Although spend, the Nike Element Shield Max is one of the best out there.
Look for these brands/types of fabrics:
Stay in When it’s too Cold
When you follow this formula, yet still freezing cold, it might be time to stay inside. All of those layers and expensive technical fabrics do have a point of diminishing return. Your winter running gear only works to a point. Find a treadmill, or try one of these great indoor running locations.