Cold weather running essentials

cold weather running essentials

Last Sunday instead of doing the 11 miles I’d planned, I ended my long run at 8 miles mainly because I couldn’t take running in the cold anymore! Although the weather had been getting cooler for weeks, it seemed to have suddenly gotten really cold. This meant that I went out without checking the weather forecast (rookie mistake!) and left for my run only wearing a t-shirt and 3 quarter length running leggings. I was hoping to warm up during the run – I didn’t – which led to me giving up at the 8 mile mark.

But if you’re new to running or thinking of taking it up, don’t let the cold weather stop you. The reason why I did so badly on Sunday was because I was unprepared, but there are lots of ways to make sure you stay comfortably warm during your runs on cold autumn and winter days. As someone who hates feeling cold I’ve managed to run for years on bitterly cold days and often really like my autumn and winter runs, I just have to make sure I have the right gear.

Over the years I’ve found that these running essentials really help when it’s cold outside:

Long length running leggings

Ideally when the temperature drops long length running leggings in a thick material should become your go-to running tights. A good pair will help to keep you warm even on runs during the coldest winter days, but will also ensure you don’t overheat and will help you to feel dry if you do start to sweat. From high street retailers to specialist running brands, nearly everywhere will stock long length running leggings at this time of year and with so many versions available you will be able to find the right ones for your budget.

Layers on top

On Sunday I went out just wearing a t-shirt, but if I had known how cold it was beforehand I would have made sure I was wearing a lot more layers. Often if I’m going for a long run when it’s cold I will still just wear a t-shirt but I’ll also make sure I wear a vest top as a base layer underneath to help keep me warmer. For shorter runs, especially if I know I’m going to go at a gentle pace, I’ll often wear a vest top with a long length top over it. The only time I would normally consider just wearing a t-shirt during cold days is if it was a half marathon race as I know I will be pushing myself that little bit harder the whole way round.  

Gloves and hats

Running gloves are perfect for keeping your hands warm during runs at this time of year. I’m on the hunt to buy a pair at the moment as my hands get cold easily and as I suffer with Raynaud’s Syndrome it’s important that I try to keep my hands as warm as possible. Hats are another easy way of keeping warm during cold weather running. Personally I only tend to wear a hat if it is freezing or below, but whenever you decide to wear one they are great at keeping you warm and can be easily removed and carried if you get too warm. Again, there are loads of running gloves and hats around at this time of year so you should be easily able to buy them even on the high street.

Drink lots of water

It won’t keep you warm but it is still important to make sure that you drink plenty of water if you’re running, no matter how cold it gets. This is especially true if you’re pushing your pace or increasing your miles, as you will probably start sweating under all that warm running gear, so it is vital that you make sure your body is hydrated enough to get you through your runs.

Prepare for post-run

On really cold days no matter how many layers you wear you’ve just got to accept that you’re going to get really cold. Although I won’t run if there is ice or snow on the ground (mainly because it’s too slippery) I will run outside in minus temperatures. I know in these temperatures I’m going to get really cold, as in numb-feeling cold, but I just make sure that as soon as I get home I have everything I need to warm up again quickly. For me a hot shower, a warm drink and a warming breakfast all help me to recover faster from a cold run.

These are my cold weather running essentials but I’d love to know if you have any more tips…

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