Sports FAQ
Home / Running / Walking

Gear suggestions for running thru winter?

Urlea2010-05-01 13:31:53 +0000 #1
This month has not been off to a good start for me training-wise. Continuous rain and a heavy work load have discouraged me from getting out and running. Today I finally kicked myself out the door for a short 3miler.

Last year I just ran on the treadmill once the snow fell, but this year I've decided to try acclimating to the colder temps so that I can continue running. The 20degree weather today was bearable, but I know I will be needing warmer running tights and a thicker jacket or fleece.

Any suggestions on either of those things? (I have short legs & a long torso if that helps. No I'm not a monkey or Michael Phelps.)

I live in ND which means winter temps of 20 to -20 and snow just to give you an idea of the conditions I'll be running it.

Thanks for the help!!
Kimmyt2010-05-01 13:46:00 +0000 #2
This is what I use, though much of it is multipurpose gear from climbing or skiing and not really running-specific. Also, much of it was purchased on clearance so I don't really think brand is important as long as you look at quality and material.


Tights, thick UnderArmour for very cold days. I now have a pair of fleece-inner tights from Nike but the sizing is off and it is too large for me so probably will stick with my UA. LOVE my UA tights! Note though, mine had really tight elastic on the ankle cuff and I had to cut the elastic. Love them now though.

Light- to mid-weight Smartwool Hiker socks for my feet. These are sufficient without adding too much bulk to make my running shoes fit weird. My feet honestly don't get too cold, unless they get wet.

Wind protection for my legs (for only the coldest of days, like -20F) was a cheap pair of running wind/rain running pants that have nifty reflectors on them. I think I got them on and they are probably my only single-purpose item. Actually I have no idea where they are... I should look around for those!


TNF Flight series long sleeve. This has a nice weight, fits snug and is a fairly thick material (not overly thick though). Very breathable, I got it on sale so don't know about cost. Like this, but an older version:

Underneath I'll wear a regular sports bra if it's around freezing, maybe a synthetic tank under if it's colder.

For really cold days I have a cheapo thin REI brand softshell that I like for wind blocking. I tried to wear my Arc'Teryx softshell but the material is much too thick and I was really overheating.


Ski cap if it's 0 or below, nothing special here. I think the one I have is wool with a fleece forehead band. Honestly I only use this on the very coldest runs.

Fleece TNF Head/ear warmer band if it's around freezing down to 0. My head likes to be open to help the heat I generate while running dissipate.

Cheapo cotton stretchy gloves for my hands (i bought like 3 pairs at target for like $5 and they work much better than any other more expensive type. I haven't found my hands get very cold while running)

Sunglasses or my clear cycling glasses are essential for cold windy runs.

For days around freezing, I'll just wear the tights with longsleeve shirt and headband/gloves. As it gets colder I add more. The coldest I've run was at -20F at 5 in the morning and I wore alot of layers but most of them were thin and I think I removed a few as I ran. THe important part was wind protection at that temp.
OakLeaf2010-05-01 13:41:44 +0000 #3
Wool. No cotton (once you start to sweat, cotton retains the moisture and makes you even colder).

Keep your hands and ears covered even if they don't feel cold. It's been in the distant past since I've run outdoors when it was below freezing, but I've come back with frostbite more than once and it's pretty painful.
michelem2010-05-01 13:43:38 +0000 #4
I love my CW-X tights:

Besides being wind resistant, water repellent, and insulated, they are UPF 50+ rated (sun protection is most important to me).

I have the Insulator Stabilyx tights and the Insulator Pro tights and love them both. They are pricey, but oh so worth it. I hand wash and hang dry. Unfortunately, TE does not carry these. I had to order them elsewhere. I am 5'2" and the xs size fits me perfectly.



Other posts in this category