I love running in the cold weather. I’m so much faster when my body isn’t also working to keep cool. Also, I carry less water with me. All of these things are awesome.
Things that aren’t awesome? The first moment when you step outside into the cold air. Brr! Those are the moments when I wonder what in the world I’m doing.
One key thing to remember with winter running is that you should be cold when you first step outside. You’re going to warm up as soon as you start running, and you don’t want to be over dressed. What should you wear? Well, that varies person to person, so you may have to experiment.
For this past Sunday’s race, I wore running pants, and then THREE shirts. It was in the mid 40′s, but the wind coming off the Bay was chilly! I had on a tank top, a lined long-sleeved shirt (with thumb holes – my favorite) and another long sleeved running top over that. I had planned to ditch one of the over shirts when I got to my second running location, but when I got out of my car, I just couldn’t do it. I figured that if I got too warm, I could tie a shirt around my waist and be done with it. I ended up being fine wearing the shirt the whole race.
In contrast, my friend Jon ran the race in his “short shorts” (his words, not mine) and a long-sleeved top. Jon is much faster than I am though, so he probably warms up much more than I do. Of course, Jon’s warm-up pants were in Jen’s car, and for some reason, I had Jen’s keys, so poor Jon froze while he waited for us to finish.
I don’t mind running with something tied around my waist, so I am a fan of layering. I would rather wear two thinner shirts than one thicker shirt because I can always take off a layer that way.
For the mid-temperature days, I have arm sleeves that I love. Think legwarmers, but for your arms. Very easy to slide down to your wrists if you get hot.
Gloves are also key. When I find cheap knit gloves on sale, I buy a bunch and take them to races. They often get tossed mid-race when I finally warm up, but they are so worth it.
On that note, another important piece of winter racing gear is the throwaway shirt. Going to a race where you will be waiting around for a while in the morning? Take an old sweatshirt and toss it to the side at the end of the race. Frequently, those shirts get picked up and donated to Goodwill, so it’s not like you’re actually throwing the shirt away. Don’t have anything like this in your closet? Hit up Goodwill and buy one! Cheap blankets are another good option. Failing all of that, trash bags do a good job of holding in warmth. Just remember to cut a hole for your head.
Of course, if you’re reading from Florida or another warm climate, I suppose this doesn’t apply to you. Enjoy your year-round warm weather running!