Runners in warmer climates must think we are crazy here in the colder states. When the temperature drops well below freezing, many of us still go out and run. I’m no exception. In fact, I took up running in the middle of winter a couple of years ago.

I didn’t even really have the “right” gear. when I started. My first day out it was about 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) and had snowed a couple of days before. I threw on some cheap track pants I had gotten on clearance at Target a few years prior (that previously I had worn as around-the-house pants), a long sleeve t-shirt, a REI fleece jacket, and a knit beanie. I had just gotten some Newton Momentum running shoes on the recommendation of a friend and was eager to try them out. I think I ran for about a mile. I was drenched from head to toe in sweat and had slipped several times on patches of ice and slick snow. I was a mess, yet in no way deterred.

Eventually, I got wise and got better winter gear slowly along the way. In fact, I’m still learning a bit about the right clothing and layers based on temperature, speed, and distance. That said, having the right stuff really does make all the difference in the world when it comes to staying warm and feeling dry.

I’m pretty picky about my features and brands when it comes to this stuff as I now have had the experience to know what works for me. Also, a good portion of what I have is hand-me-downs from a friend who grew too skinny for them. He is equally picky, if not more.

If the temperature is below 25 degrees but above 5 degrees when I go out, as it is most days during the average winter here, I generally wear some long running tights, a long-sleeve base layer, a long-sleeve top layer, wool socks, and a beanie. Here is a rundown of the specifics in an easy to copy shopping list:

So, That takes care of things to a certain temp, but what when it is really cold and the temp drops below 5 degrees? Well, add more layers of course!

I switch up the tights and go with some pants instead. The right running pants will help keep a buffer of body-generated heat between you and the elements. Also, I throw on a jacket layer over the base and top, mainly to keep the wind from getting through. Also, a balaclava will help fully protect your head, face, and neck from the cold. So added to the above list is:

So, that covers the clothing but what about other gear? Well, there is one more thing I want to mention. I just got them and have only been out a couple of times using them so far but the seem like a winner. If you run where there are patches of rough ice and packed snow, you need these:

So, there you have it. Don’t let cold weather be an excuse for not getting in a good regular run. With the right gear not only is a doable but it can be just as fun.

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