Cold-weather running tips

Now that Outdoor Emergency Care classes are done, Steve and I are back to our Pacers Silver Spring Fun Runs at 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. For our first run back last night, we were treated to temperatures in the 20s, with gusting winds leading to a windchill of something like 16 degrees. I dragged us out the door, anyway, but not without heeding my best cold-weather running tips.

Bundle up. Last night, I wore: My ancient Brooks running tights; a technical T-shirt and long-sleeved shirt; my new mid-weight long-underwear T-shirt from Columbia; a fleece hat from the George Washington 10K Classic; my Mizuno Breath Thermo gloves, made from some fancy material that actually heats up when you sweat; a pair of fleece gloves (yep, I even layer my gloves); and finally, a University of Colorado pull-over fleece. Pull my reflective vest on top of the whole mess, and we’re ready to go!

I wore all of these clothes on my run last night. Really. All at the same time.

Cover up. David Nieman, Ph.D., who heads the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, told Runner’s World he suggests wearing a neck gaiter, and covering your nose and mouth with it. Your breath will humidify the air, making it easier to breathe. I did so with my Columbia turtleneck last night, and it worked wonders. For other great Runner’s World stories about coping with the cold, click here.

Imagine this abominable snowwoman with her face covered by a turtleneck.

Warm up. Last year, I wrote a post about bribing myself to hit the pool on cold days with the promise of tea and chili after. Hot chocolate made with skim milk, Hershey’s cocoa and your sweetener of choice hit the spot last night, as did some leftover turkey chili.

Suck it up. It’s D.C., not Minnesota. And if you are in Minnesota … well, I’m sorry. I think you’re screwed until the springtime, which I’m told comes around sometime in May. For the rest of us, check out this guest blog post from my Minnesotan running friend about coping with the cold.

How do you deal with cold-weather running? What piece of cold-weather gear can you not live without? Share your tips by posting a comment.


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5 responses to “Cold-weather running tips

  1. I dig out the cotton turtle neck pullovers I have. Wear them under my vest. I know most people reject cotton – but I love it for warmth!
    (Fortunately for me it’s currently 54f out right now : )

  2. I bow down to you for getting out there in that windy cold that whisked in so suddenly. Thanks for the tips and the reminder that since we are not in Alaska, there is really no weather here that you can’t dress properly for and get your run in!

  3. I really need to get a reflective vest!! I have been such a wimp about the cold this week – we are having a bit of a cold snap this week down in SC and it is no fun.

  4. I’m a total wuss and shun cold-weather outdoor running, but your tips are definitely helpful. Although oddly enough, being active outdoors when it’s FREEEEEZING gives you a feeling of accomplishment when it’s all over 😉

  5. Thanks for these great tips! It’s freezing here in Maine, and all of the above are definitely necessities. Once it starts to get really icy, some traction is a really great thing to have too. I’m excited to try my new IceSpikes when it does…

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