No lamb, no garden, no immaculate conception but there IS something about me.


Anatomy of winter running wear

To start off, it's amazing I can move my fingers enough to type this because my Zumba instructor tried to kill me.  I might have to sleep on my couch because my bed is really high and I'm not sure my 5'2" self can make it in.

Moving on, I've been wanting to write about what to wear for winter running for a while. To be fair we haven't even had a winter here in Syracuse. For being the snow capitol of the country we've had maybe 35 inches when we should have had at least 200 by now. Today it was almost 50 degrees. 50 degrees! In February! If I had run today I would have been in shorts, no doubt. If it's anything warmer than 40 I prefer shorts, just a weird quirk I guess.

The number one rule to running clothes is that cotton is your enemy especially in the winter. It soaks up sweat but doesn't release it which just makes you damp and then cold which can lead to hypothermia. Rule number 2 is that you should always go into a run a little bit cold. If you can stand outside comfortably before you've even started running then you have too many clothes on. As soon as you start running you will warm up and then overheat so you should be a little uncomfortable at first. Rule number 3 is...really, that's it. Just know that these recommendations are what work for me but can be changed for what work for you.

Also, these next pictures were taken about 2 years ago on my way out to run in below zero weather. In the spring/fall I usually just wear lighter pants, a short sleeved tech shirt and a long sleeved tech shirt.

On to the winter wear!

As far as my base, base layer I like to start out with a good (non-cotton) sports bra made for high impact sports and wool socks usually of the Smartwool nature. I don't like them too thick but they do need to wick moisture away if my feet get too wet.

My next layer, the real base layer, is my Under Armor Cold Gear pants and a short sleeved wickable shirt. I am in hardcore love with my pants. When I bought them it caused my physical pain to fork over $60 for them but they're amazing. they feel like sweatpants on the inside but I am never, ever sweaty in them and they have kept me warm in every temperature down to negative 5 (the coldest I've run in and I probably never will again, 10 is my cut off). My shirt is a Marmot skiing shirt, I think. I usually get my shirts at TJMaxx, I don't care that much about them other than being wickable.

The next layer, my mid layer, is a long sleeved shirt over that. This one is by Cloudveil and I miss it as I don't have it anymore. It had thumb holes and little mitten type things that folded over my hands when it was really cold *sigh*

Next up is my outer layer, usually a thicker coat-type covering (but not really a coat?). This is by Nike, I think.

My facial expressions are getting better and better, aren't there?

The final layer is a lightweight windbreaker if I plan on being anywhere windy. This one is also by Cloudveil and I still have it (thank goodness).

Last, to get myself to the car I usually wear a vest of my winter jacket because although it seems like I'm wearing a lot they are all pretty thin layers. I don't wear this running.

To top it all off you can add a hat or ear covering headband but I can't stand anything on my head. I do wear my running gloves when it's cold though or my mitten liners and covers if it's really cold (all gotten at Fleet Feet, mittens keep your hands warmer because they don't separate your fingers and allow the heat to all hang out together).

Again, this is if it's extremely cold or you're running somewhere windy like near a lake like I do. You can remove layers as needed. Because of the mild winter I have been wearing thinner pants (because I don't fit in my Under Armor ones right now or I would wear them, they never make me too hot), a short sleeved tech shirt, a long sleeved tech shirt and a jacket over that.

And there you have it. Good gear isn't cheap but if you scour the racks at TJMaxx and Marshalls or go to Target to begin with and then slowly add in higher quality pieces you'll be good to go. Or you could be one of those people who wears sweatpants and a sweatshirt and are perfectly happy. If that works for you, rock on. Either way get out there and enjoy some fresh air!

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