With Winter making its way through the Northern hemisphere, it’s time to consider some tips and tactics for running in potentially cold, wet and dark conditions. I recorded a video that breaks down most of the methods that I use to run comfortably during the winter, which you can view by clicking on it below. The full transcript appears after the video, and is also available as a downloadable eBook that is formatted for printing. (Click here to download the transcript [0.1MB / 8 pages])
Alternatively, you can listen listen to the video without rather than watching it by pressing play here:
(click here download the mp3 [12.5MB / 13:42])
Winter Running Apparel Transcript
(click here to download a printable version of this transcript [0.1MB / 8 pages])
Hello. This is Blaine Moore from RunToWin.com and I’m going to show you a few things about winter running apparel so that you can go out and be prepared for the colder weather as it comes in.
The first thing that I’m going to get into is what to wear on your head. Your head is a great place for you to lose a lot of heat. So in warmer conditions you don’t want to wear too much. And in cooler conditions it’s really important to keep your head warm. The easiest thing to wear is to just have a ski cap, and something that wicks is optimum. If you start to get too warm, you can always flip the edges up and then that will let off little bit of heat by your ears and cool you off pretty well.
If it isn’t all that cold out there, you go either bare headed or with just a normal running hat. That will keep the sun out of your eyes. Another option is to wear a head band which will keep your ears warm while still letting a little bit of heat escape through the top of your head.
And for those really cold days you can wear a balaclava, which will cover not just your head but also your neck and, depending on how big it is, your shoulders. The nice thing about having a balaclava is that you can wear it over the back of your jacket and if it’s snowing it will keep the snow from getting down your shirt. And you can also cover over your face and keep your face warm that way. (At least until you warm up.)
And just as if you are walking you can always carry a scarf around which is useful for keeping your neck warm or you can also wrap that around your head as well.
If you have some, it’s good to wear sunglasses as well. Not only will they protect you from the sun, but if it’s windy out it will keep your eyes from drying out or freezing shut. So I like to wear in the Winter time some big sun glasses that cover lot of my face.
When you get to your hands, they also are going to get really cold. A lot of times, one pair of gloves is usually going to be enough, but if it’s really cold you might want to wear a second pair of gloves. These gloves here you’ll notice are half mittens, they keep the fingers near each other so that they are a little warmer. And on the cold days, what I’ll do is I’ll actually wear these on the outside and then I have a pair of smaller gloves on the inside. Then I can just either carry these gloves once I’m warmed up or I can put it into a pocket or throw it on the side of the road to pick up later.
For your torso, it’s all about layering up. On the outside you want to have some kind of a windbreaker, whether it’s a full zip or some kind of a half zip that only goes down to your chest. The nice thing about the half zip’s and the full zip shirts are that you can regulate heat really well. On the colder days when you first get out running and you haven’t warmed up yet, you can zip up all the way to protect your neck, not so much for this jacket, but you get it over your face or sometimes your nose as you are running and once you warm up you can let some of the heat out just by unzipping it.
Underneath of that you are going to want to wear at least one if not two shirts. I like to have a long sleeve and then a short sleeve underneath. This is good for as you warm up, you can strip off a layer, you can take your jacket off or you can take one of these layers off from underneath or push your sleeves up.
I recommend against wearing cotton, and wearing more technical fabrics instead. And the reason for that is when you are running and you sweat, (even when it’s cold you are still going to sweat,) if you are wearing a cotton shirt and it gets wet, then the water is just going to pool up on that spot, and it’s going to get heavy and it’s going to get cold and it’s going to freeze. Whereas if you are wearing a technical shirt and you get water on it, the water is just going to wick from your skin out and then once it gets on to the shirt it’s going to spread out along the fabric. So it’s not all concentrated on one spot so you wont get as cold. And if you have a good shirt, like this one, it will bead up and it will just run right off of the shirt and it will barely get wet as you can see. Most of it has wound up on the ground.
Another option for the torso is, for just keeping your torso warm, you can wear some kind of a vest as a base layer or as an outer layer. That’s good for protecting you from the wind and those kind of situations
For your legs, depending upon how cold it is you can go with just shorts. The next step up from shorts is you might want to put some running pants on. So these are some good pants for running in, made by Sport Hill, they are very comfortable, they don’t rub up against each other too much when you’re running. One thing you might want to avoid is wearing cotton sweat pants because they’ll get heavy and they’ll get wet.
And some Ski pants or warm up pants are good for if you are at a track meet, and you want to go out and get a quick warm up there, you want to stay warm between your events, something like these that are lined are really good. But when you are going out for a long run, they just really get heavy and they rub up against each other and they can cause chafing. (And it makes a really annoying noise when you run.)
For the really cold days you can wear tights, which will give you more of a compression effect. And they’ll also keep your legs a little bit warmer. Underneath of the tights you can either wear briefs or running shorts, or if it’s not super windy out then you could just go with just the tights.
If it is really cold out, you can wear regular shorts over the tights just to give you another layer of protection. Or you can wear something like the tights underneath the pants. Or even put some tights on that will only go to your knee or down to your calf as that base layer and those work out pretty well for keeping the wind away from the sensitive areas.
Once you get down to your feet, you have couple of options. You don’t want to wear cotton socks for the same reason you don’t want to wear cotton anywhere else. I really like Thorlos socks. They are nice and thick. They’ll keep your feet very warm. If you have shoes that are really tight then they are not very good for those kind of shoes because they are pretty thick. You might also want to wear some socks that ride a little bit higher up on your legs and then you can wrap them underneath your pants or under your tights. And Wright Socks makes really good pairs of those.
If you are running in icy conditions you are going to want to have a good grip on the road. So one thing to consider is putting something like Stabilicers or Yak Trax on your feet. Basically what the Stabilicers are it’s a crampon for your shoes that you wear and it’s just got some screws down at the bottom that give you a good grip. The problem with these is that can collect snow underneath of them. And they are heavy and they can fall off of your feet. I don’t run in these anymore. I liked them a lot when I did use them, but they’re just a little bit too heavy for me now. So I only wear them on my boots when I’m shoveling the driveway.
What I like to do is put screws directly into my shoes. It’s much lighter, it’s much cheaper and it’s a lot more effective. So I have a video on runtowin.com already on how to put screws in your shoes. It’s really straightforward. Just buy some sheet metal screws, screw them right into the bottom with the head of the screw facing down. It will give you some great grip.
Yak Trax are another option. I’ve never used them. I prefer just using screws so I go with that method.
One other thing you might want to consider is to make sure that you have sunscreen on. Even though it’s the winter time, the sun can still be very bright and especially if you are running on snow or if you are doing any kind of lake running, then the sun can be coming down at you from above and reflecting off of the ice or the snow into any exposed areas of your skin. Which can warm you up quite a bit as well as give you a good sunburn.
One problem with running in the colder weather is, it tends to be darker earlier and get lighter later in the morning. So you are going to want to make sure that you are visible. Like right here, these are not good clothes to be wearing if you are going to be running in the evening or in the early morning. This is only good if you are running in a lot of light.
There are a lot of good options for wearing things that are reflective. Like this jacket here from Nike has a lot of reflective strips on it. It’s very visible, a very obnoxious color. So even in the middle of the day, it’s a good one to wear, especially if it’s foggy out or snowing. People are more likely to see you.
As much as you can wear that is reflective, the better. A lot of tights and pants that you get these days have reflective designs and that’s not quite as important because realistically if a car’s coming at you, they’re probably not going to see your lower body no matter how reflective it is. So really concentrate on getting your head and your torso especially to be as reflective as possible.
Another option is to wear lights. So this is a cheap bike lamp that I got. It’s just a tail light for a bike. There’s a couple of options for that. I can wear on my arm as I’m running. It also comes off the strap and you can just clip it right on to the back of your pants. And that’s very good for grabbing attention.
You’re definitely going to want to get a headlamp. Not just so that you can see but also so that you can be seen. You can wear one headlamp on your head and in conditions especially when it’s foggy or if it’s raining and you have the light reflecting off of the water droplets right in front of your face you might want to wear another headlamp on your waist. If you have a tri-belt they’re really easy to attach to the tri-belts and they are easy to put on and off. Otherwise as long as your strap is big enough you can just step right into it and put it right around your waist.
A lot of times what I’ll do is I’ll take my light, and even if I don’t need it to see, I’ll adjust it so that it’s got an obnoxious blinking. And that’s very visible to traffic so that they can see me coming like quarter mile away. They may not know what you are but they know that you are there. That’s the important thing.
If you don’t have one then it’s certainly worth picking up a reflective vest. You can throw this over anything you’re wearing, no matter what time of the year. And these are always very visible, very reflective, that’s the whole point of wearing them. So I highly recommend getting something like that.
So I think that’s everything I’ve got to show you, and hopefully this was helpful.
Sample Product Links
Please note that the product links within the transcript are representative products of the type discussed in the video, and are not necessarily the exact items that I use or own. Any local specialty running shop should carry most if not all of the items mentioned and will let you try them on to see what fits.