Tips for running in winter

This post was imported from the Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone podcast blog.

Listener Tessa from the Netherlands had a question for our running guru Julia Jones:

Could Julia give some tips about what to wear in autumn/winter? I live in the Netherlands and, like Scotland, it's possible to experience all 4 seasons in one day… At the moment it's mostly (cold) rain, a little sunshine and freezing gusts of wind.

I've tried running a long time ago (also in winter) and I usually ended up then freezing because my 'warm' clothes got dripping wet. I have some 'quick dry' fitness clothing but those really are not warm enough when I start my workout. I could start out wearing a vest but where do keep it when I start to get warm?

Money is an issue for me so I would rather not buy expensive 'professional' runners clothing. At least not until I know if I want/am able to keep running. Could she give some cheap but brilliant tips?

Here's Julia's answers:

Hi Tessa,

You need to dress in layers that you can take off as needed during your run, here's my suggestions:

  • Running tights. In winter I always use capris unless it's below 0°C/32°F, then I'll go for full length.
  • Top, to about 4°C/39°F:  The first layer (closest to your skin) should be a short sleeve Dri-Fit shirt. The second layer should be a long sleeved Dri-Fit shirt. 
  • Top, below 4°C/39°F: Make the first layer a long sleeve Dri-Fit shirt and the second layer a long sleeve Polartec type sweatshirt. 
  • This is the only thing you might have to buy: an all weather jacket with removable sleeves. This is something I LOVE and totally recommend to everybody who runs outdoors in the winter. I actually don't use the jacket as a jacket that much, but rather use it as a vest. If it's raining the vest keeps my body dry and warm but doesn't overheat me since the sleeves are off. Then again, you could start out with the sleeves on and then take them off if you get too hot. Make sure you get a jacket with pockets so you can stick the sleeves in. 
  • Polartec gloves. I start out most of my winter runs with gloves on. Once I'm warmed up I stick them in my jacket pocket or down my sports bra.
  • Hat or head wrap. – If it's really cold out I  wear a Polartec hat, otherwise I love wearing cotton wraps around my head. You can actually make them yourself out of cotton-like elastic fabric. Just sew a tube about 8 inches long. While running outside you'll want to cover your ears. If you get hot with it on, just roll it down and it can cover your neck for the rest of the run.  If it's really raining and I'm determined to run anyway I use a cap with a visor so the rain stays out of my eyes.

With all of these layering elements you can just play around with them and see what is most comfortable for whatever temperature Mother Nature hands out for the day. Mix and match and see what works best for you!

Happy Winter running!


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