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Dress to Enjoy Cold Weather Running

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

by April Corey

One thing that you can be assured of as the year progresses, the temperatures will start to drop. Although, living in the South, like I do, this may come later rather than sooner. Thankfully, there are many options available for cool/cold weather gear as you continue to run thru the fall and winter months. Transitioning from one season to the next is easier than you think.

When the weather starts to cool down, you need to start thinking of layers to wear while you run. The three types of layers I use are: Base Layer, Insulating Layer and Protective Layer.

For me, anything below 50 degrees, I put away the shorts, tank-tops and t-shits and pull out the long sleeve tech shirts and capri-length leggings (base layer items). The closer it gets to 40 degrees, I will swap the capri-length leggings for full length leggings/tights and grab a light sweatshirt (insulating layer).

40-50 degrees

Once the temperature gets into the 30-40 degree range, I may swap out the base layer looser fitting long sleeve tech shirt with a snug fitting long sleeve shirt and change the sweatshirt for something a little thicker, like fleece. I will wear my full length leggings and I will also add something to cover my ears, such as a headband and a light pair of gloves to cover my hands.

30-40 degrees

When the temperature gets to between 20-30 degrees (it actually does get this cold in the South, although only for a week or two), layering becomes really important. For the top half, my base layer will be a snug fitting long sleeve tech shirt, my insulating layer is a fleece top and then my protective layer is a light weight jacket. For the bottom half, my base layer is fleece lined tights and I wear heavier, moisture wicking socks (make sure there isn’t a gap between the bottom of your pants to the top of your socks, so your ankles are protected). I top it all off with a stocking cap that covers my head and ears and put on heavier gloves.

20-30 degrees

For the crazy people that like to run in weather below 20 degrees, stay warm! For the top half, my base layer will be a long sleeve tech shirt with a hood attached, my insulating layer is a fleece top and then my protective layer is a light weight jacket. For the bottom half, my base layer is a pair of running tights (lined or unlined…your choice) and fleece lined pants. Stick with the heavier socks. To top the outfit off, I put the hood on of my base layer shirt, wear a stocking cap over top of the hood, pull up the hood of my sweatshirt, add in a pair of thick gloves and use a neck gaiter to put over my mouth if it hurts to breathe in the cold air.

below 20 degrees!

Remember to use common sense when out in the cold. These guidelines serve as a baseline for what you will need in the cooler weather for running. Don’t forget to make sure you have reflective clothing and gear, particularly for runs in the early morning or late evening.

Bonus Tip: if you like to run with your cell phone, the cold weather will zap the battery life very quickly if you have it in an outside pocket. To preserve the battery life when out in the cold, make sure you keep the phone no more than one layer from your body and then also have a thicker layer over the phone.

Stay safe and happy running!



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