What to Wear Running in Cold Weather - My Personal Recommendations

So, it's getting cold, you're trying to figure out what the hell am I gonna wear when I go out and run?

So, it's getting cold, you're trying to figure out what the hell am I gonna wear when I go out and run? As you can see I'm here in Colorado Springs, this is a special edition of Runner’s High. I'm Jesse Funk and I'm going to share with you my recommendations for various temperatures of what you should wear when you're going out to run.

So, as I sit here out in the cold it’s 30 degrees, obviously I've got a lot of layers on my coat, my hoodie, under armour, pants, all kinds of things on, gloves. But I'm just standing here or sitting here, in this case, talking to you. So, what would I actually wear when I'm running? Well, I'm here in Colorado Springs, I made a special trip today.

I got up at 3:40 this morning to get on a flight, excuse me, to come behind me, I think my head's in the way to run the incline. So, if you didn't watch my video on how I did on the incline, subscribe to the channel. Go check that out, see basically the incline kick my ass, but I talked a little bit more about it in that video.

So, what I wear on the incline, it’s 30 degrees, it's a hard effort. Well, I wore tights, I wore an under armour top, some kind of thermal top, a T shirt over that tech T and then a kind of half zip quarter zip over that as well as a hat. And I actually dressed a little warmer or for a little warmer temperature than I normally do.

Because I knew the effort would be so hard, we have sun on me as I'm going up. And just here in Colorado, at least whenever I come out here, it always feels warmer to me for running than it does in the Midwest in Kansas City where I'm from, where it seems like humidity probably plays a factor and feeling kind of down to the bone chilled.

So, I'm gonna get my run through of different temperatures going from what I call no shirt weather all the way down to the 20s and kind of below, it all mixes together at that point, and my recommendations on what you should wear when you're going out to run in the cold. So, what I called no shirt weather is basically 60 degrees and up.

And we are working in Fahrenheit. So if you work in Celsius, I'm sorry, you'll have to do the conversions yourself. I'm terrible at them off the top of my head. So, 60 and up is basically I'm wearing shorts, I've got my shoes on, and then I often will not have a shirt on, unless I'm racing then ?? 2:33>, that's just the nature of the beast.

But when we get below 60, that's when we start to put on extra layers. So, definitely put a shirt on if it's below 60. Once you get into the 55-50 range, that's when I start putting thinking about putting like a long tech T on and then still wearing my short shorts, my running shorts. Those stay until we get much cooler.

So, the first layers I start with our own always going to be top layers, keep my upper body warm, because my legs are doing all the work when we're running, right, that makes sense. So, keep with me as I’m adding top layers. As you go down 55, if it's raining out, then I'm probably gonna have a jacket on.

50 degrees is where I start to do the long sleeve tech T, and then a quarter zip on top of that, you can also sub in under armor, or like a thermal piece like that, in lieu of that, over the top quarter zip. It just depends on what you have, use what you have, don't go buy more stuff if you don't have to. One of the nice things about running is that it is so low tech in terms of how much stuff you need, especially compared to my triathlon career where you need all kinds of gear.

When we start going below 50 is when things start getting interesting, and this has a lot to do with you and kind of your specifications. Personally, I like to run a little warm. I would rather feel more warm out in the cold then feeling middling cool or cold. So, kind of take these with a grain of salt, and that is my band I want to run a little warm, especially if I've been dealing with any kind of soft tissue injury, then it's especially important for me to keep myself warm and try to prevent any further injuries.

Now, I'm not saying that actually does prevent injuries or further injuries, but I feel better about it, so it's just my methodology. So again, take that with a grain of salt. But we get below 50, we start thinking about 45 degrees, if we get around 45, I'm absolutely going to have three layers on top and that's going to be my under armour thermal layer, some kind of tech T shirt, could be long sleeve, could be short sleeve, and then my quarter zip on top of that on my head. I always have a hat.

If it is 45 and getting cooler, I'm probably going to do a skull cap or stocking cap of some sort. If it's 45 and getting warmer, I’m probably just gonna use one of my racing caps, not ideal and that's where gloves come in. Kind of rule of thumb and this came in high school college running, keep your hands keep your head warm. If you got those things warm, the rest of you is going to say much, much warmer, at least mentally, core temperature is very important too so keep your core warm.

Once we get below 45 we start to hit 40. This is the turning point for me personally, where if it's 40 and getting warmer, and I'm kind of going out for a long run, I'll probably wear my running shorts. Tops stay the same as before, like I mentioned with 45, but 40 is the line of demarcation for me when I start putting tights on in lieu of using my running shorts.

It all has to do with what I'm doing. If it's 40-41 I'm going out to do speed work, I'm probably putting the tights on again because I want to be warmer rather than cooler. Under 40, 39 or 38, we’re getting really cold, I'm almost you know without fail gonna have tights on for the bottom. And that's going to stay the same again because that's what's doing the work when we’re running until we get much, much colder.

The big difference here is you're going to figure out these small gradations from here. And then also wind affects you. If it's windy, you're probably going to shift to a cooler kind of regulation, a cooler set of clothes than if it is warmer. So, the big demarcation after this point for me is around 30, 25 to 30, then I've got four, maybe five layers on top, that thermal, the tech T that quarter zip, and then I usually have this kind of old school billowy jacket that breaks the wind, it's a windbreaker.

It's like from the 80s, legitly from the 80s track team at my college. And then skullcap is a necessary step. On the bottom, still tights until we get to about 25 and then I will think about putting some kind of pants on over those tights.

It doesn't change a whole lot from there, there are variations you can wear, earmuffs instead of a cap, you can double cap, you can use a kind of face mask, one of those like ninja looking masks, once it gets below 25. The big thing is you want to protect your lungs because if you allow your lungs to take in too much cold air, you can end up damaging them.

Again, check with position on that, but I'm pretty sure that's true. And obviously, you need your lungs run. So, those are my recommendations. What do you use, where do you live in terms of what's your recommendations for all your cold weather gear for when you're running? Leave them in the comments below. I’d love to hear your side of the story. As always, I'll see you next time on the next episode of Runner’s High.

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