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How to run in the cold

winter

As a beginner in the field of running and living in Sweden, with my first 5K run for just some month ago, I was a bit troubled about if I should manage any runs at all through the wintertime, and how to run in the cold.

Here the temperature is usually between 0°C (32°F) and -20°C (-4°F) or so in wintertime.

 

Most usual tips

So I did a little bit of reading earlier this winter.

The most usual tips seem to be to dress in layers, but not to put too many clothes on because it gets warmer than you believe. And not to forget that you still can be dehydrated also in cold weather.

 

How to use layers

Recommendations showed up saying that a good way to dress in layers is:

  1. to have something with a synthetic or functional fabric closest to the body, that keeps you dry when you get warm.
  2. As the last layer have a wind/rain stopping fabric.
  3. And in between those two layers, you can have another fabric as isolation.

 

How I been dressing for my winter runsWinter run

I have since then been running in temperatures down to about -13°C (8-9°F) without any bigger problem. Usually, I have been wearing:

  • Upper body – layers (older clothes I had in the closet before I start to run)
    – Tank top in functional fabric
    – Longsleeved underwear in fleece fabric
    – Thin jacket in wind stopping fabric
  • Legs
    – My SOC M GAIT WARM PT trousers (I got in Christmas gift)
  • Feet
    – Running socks
    – my ASICS running shoes
    – and depending on road condition most often my ice grippers
  • Other (bought in local store)
    – Head: Toque in functional fabric
    – Neck: BUFF in fleece
    – Hands: Gloves in functional fabric

 

Keep warm after the run

I usually run with start and stop at home. Or in other cases with my car parked, and ready for just 5 min drive back home when finished. So I haven’t felt that I had any problem with getting too cold after my runs. But if you not that close to getting inside right away after your run, you probably also should think of extra clothes to put on when the run is over.

 

Have you been running in minus degrees too? Do you dress in layers too then? Would love to learn how you handle the winter temperatures, so please drop a comment below to share your experiences.

Marika

6 Comments

  1. Hi Marika,
    I love running. In my country the temperature is not so low in the Winter, however, as I live by the sea, the weather is very humid and very windy, which makes running very difficult.
    Normally, I use a layer of synthetic long sleeve shirt, then a fleece sweater and on top a waterproof and wind stop jacket, with a waterprof hat, because it rains a lot in the Winter.
    I always wear a fleece fabric hat and a buff.
    The rain makes the race very unpleasant and even with good waterproof running shoes I always get wet feet.
    Thank you for sharing your tips!
    Alex

    • Hey Alex. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Sounds like we use quite similar choices in clothing, for the freezing cold and the rainy winter weather 🙂
      /Marika

  2. Thanks for the tips on what is best to wear i the cold. I find running in the cold very difficult (and I don’t run in anywhere near -20!) as I find it so hard on my lungs.

    I have worn gloves and a headband to cover my ears before but have never thought to wear something round my neck as well – I imagine that could really help.

    An interesting read. Thanks!
    Louise

    • I do have some problems with stiffness in neck and shoulders. So are quite sensitive for draught or cold around the neck. So that helps allot for me that way. But believe it can be good also for others that not have those problems.
      More then welcome to tell me how it worked out for you if you try some day 🙂

      /Marika

  3. Awesome tips – running in cols weather conditions is definitely something that most people overlook.

    Protecting your neck from the cold is vital, although being able to expose it is great for when you get too warm

    What do you think about those heating patches though? I’ve heard you can apply them to any part of the body.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Simon, and your tip. I have never thought about using heating patches when running. Maybe should try that sometime. Do you know anyone that have used anything like that?

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