Although we know when Autumn and Winter are due – somehow they never fail to surprise me! Since I restarted couch to 5k just over a month ago, I’m expecting to finish around Christmas day so I’ll definitely be running in cold weather – in fact, I’m already being welcomed by temperatures close to 0°C.
Last year I came across a post on the This Girl Can Facebook page asking for suggestions of good running clothing to wear this Autumn. It reminded me of this post, originally written back in 2014, an promoted me to update the product recommendations.
Because, if and when you figure out what to wear when running in the cold, you’ll be much more likely to stick to your training plan and get the miles logged.
What To Wear When Running in the Cold
There was point in time when I ran on treadmills, and treadmills only. When the weather got warmer I would venture outside under the assumption that as soon as it got cold, wet and chilly I would have to head back indoors.
I soon came to realise that there is no such thing as bad weather… In the right gear, you can still get out and run…and enjoy yourself!
Here are my top tips for what to wear when running in the cold, and what features you should look out for:
1. Wear A Long Sleeved Top
What To Look For:
- with thumbholes
- slim fit (close to skin)
- optional: brushed lining
Personally, this is my most crucial piece of kit. It’s my mid layer in winter and outer layer in the autumn / spring. Thumbholes are a must as they keep your sleeves in place and keep the cold breeze out. A sweat wicking, fast drying fabric is important to keep you comfortable, warm and dry.
I’m currently wearing:
I’m currently rotating through some tops from Adidas, Under Armour and a merino base layer I picked up in Aldi.
The Adidas tops are super light weight with thumbholes and can be easily layered with something underneath and / or something on top. The Under Armour top has a brushed lining with thumbholes.
The lululemon swiftly long sleeved came highly recommended from the original post (Thanks Beki). I own a few of these from my days working at lululemon london, but I wear them mostly in the Summer.
Should You Wear A Baselayer?
Last year I got to try out the Primo Warm Seamless Tee base layer from Salomon which I used for Red Bull Timelaps and also tested out while running. The UnderArmour Women’s ColdGear Armour Long Sleeve came recommended by Alexa for when it’s really cold. Now looking at this one, it could be the one I actually have!
Merino wool always comes highly recommended as a good base layer material, however, if you sweat a lot, the merino wool will hold onto your sweat and result in making you feel colder rather than warmer.
Shop Tops for running in the cold:
2. Layer With a Running Jacket
What To Look For:
- ventilation zippers
- showerproof / waterproof
In the first few weeks or months of Autumn, it might be a bit too warm for a jacket but for those who are planning to be out there no matter the weather, a jacket is a must.
The mistake I always make though is to overdress for a run; it’s sometimes hard to remember that even though you may be cold as you step out the door or line up at the start line for a race, once you get moving you’ll warm up pretty quickly.
I’m currently wearing:
This year, I treated myself to the MYSHELTER Rain Jacket after trying it out at run club last year. When it comes to wind and rain, you won’t find anything better. It also went down a storm on my Instagram – I got so many comments and messages about it (oh, and pun intended! haha).
I have also recently gotten the UA Armour Down Hooded Jacket which says that it’s crazy-warm, light, and still lets you move like an athlete. So I image should it be cold enough, I could run in it.
When you check the weather, don’t just look at the temperature. You should check for the wind chill factor as that can make it feel quite a but colder than the actual temperature. A wind resistant jacket will keep you protected from the wind and help keep you warmer.
3. Your Pants Should Keep You Warm
What To Look For:
- full length / cropped
- brushed fabric (internally)
- drawstring waist
- pockets (thigh pockets are great for phones)
As with the rest of your kit, you want your pants / leggings / tights / joggers to keep you warm but be breathable at the same time. Sweat wicking fabric will remove the sweat from your body quickly and disperse it.
This will help to stop you from getting cold if you slow down. Also look for extra details like reflective panels or trims to keep you visible in low light.
4. Accessories For Cold Weather
Accessories For Cold Weather Running:
- Neck warmer
The game-changer on cold runs is how to keep my ears warm so ear-warmers are a must!
In my days of run commuting I always liked to have as many reflective items as possible with my bag being the number one. But if you’re not commuting, you won’t need a running bag.
You can also purchase rucksack covers which keep your bag dry if it rains and usually come with reflective panelling. They are pretty versatile if you have different bags.
Keep Your Ears Warm WHEN RUNNINg:
MoveVisible LED Band Review
Contributed by Melissa
Visibility when out running is important on darker evenings but I won’t lie I’m not a girl that loves the colour of high-vis jackets or tops which makes the MoveVisible LED Band the perfect middle ground for me.
The MoveVisible LED Band is a running band which fits on your arm and is about making you be seen by cars, cyclists, or other runners, and less about help you see where you are going. The band is lightweight, easy to fit and comfortable to move in especially if you are layering up for the cold winter morning or evening runs.
The band has two settings: constant blue light or flashing blue light, so you can pick between the two depending on the level of visibility you need. I found that the light gave me enough visibility running along lit roads or paths.
If you are running in real darkness like on unlit paths or trails or within a park, I would recommend getting one for each arm to make yourself extra visible, not to mention a head torch to help you see where you are going.
How To Get Warm After Your Run
This is another question I’ve seen asked a lot and it does partly come down to what you wear for your run and your preparation before you went out.
Firstly, wearing a hat might be a good start but the whole “you lose the majority of heat through your head” thing is more a myth than a reality. In fact, it’s just that our heads (face and chest, too) are more sensitive to changes in temperature than the rest of the body making it feel as if covering them up does more to prevent heat loss (The Guardian*).
Next up, ask, did you eat well before, during and after your run? During might not be necessary if it was a short run but before and after are key. Eating itself creates heat (known as thermogenesis), in addition to providing stored energy for future use (ref.).
As tempting as it is to just jump into a hot shower when you get back from your run, it’s better to warm up slowly with layers and a hot drink first.
If all else fails, I’ve been told…
What are your must have pieces of kit for running in colder weather?!
Photos by Anna Rach Photography.