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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter Running - What to Wear

I did a post about what to wear while cycling in the winter, now it's time to cover running.

Running in the winter is amazing... there is something just surreal about running on freshly fallen snow in the quiet of winter. The scenery can be equally amazing, a new snowfall clinging to the trees, an icy creek... you get the idea!

But what about the cold? Pffft, I say! Staying warm is pretty easy, you can layer the heck out of yourself. The real challenge is finding the sweet spot where you aren't too warm or too cold, so you can stay dry and happy.

So without further ado...


Lycra cap. I have one with a felt lining, one without.

If it gets really cold (worse than -10C) I'll wear a toque instead... but I try to avoid this, as it gets hot and sweaty.


This is below -12C or very windy day accessory. Keeps the face warm, but makes it a bit weird to breathe. Still beats the treadmill, though!


Layers, layers, layers!

I have a few configurations but ultimately they boil down to the same thing.

1) A base layer
2) A technical shirt
3) A light windproof jacket. Most important feature here is zippers, need to be able to get air in if you are overheating to avoid getting soaked. Wet + cold = bad.


Gloves. I use my mountain bike gloves, but really anything without lining will do to about -10C. Below that you might need ski gloves or equivalent, but keep the lining light and breathable.


Down to -5C or so (depending on wind) I wear wind briefs (left) and normal running tights (right).

Add tight long underwear (middle) when it's colder.

Search for "wind briefs" at MEC. I used to go without - never again! They're brilliant.


Normal shoes and socks.

In actuality these are "Cold Running" socks from WrightSock, but I use my normal WrightSock dual-layers interchangeably. The only ones I avoid are the CoolMesh ones - pretty much any other dual layer sock gets the job done.

I've found this fine down to very cold temps - even -20C or worse. You would think you'd need thicker socks, but I've never had an issue. Your mileage may vary!

Are you sure!?

All I know is that this works for me... I'm warm and cozy when I need to be and not overly sweaty.

The wind briefs are essential. I can't speak highly enough of them... before I bought them I was using normal shorts, and had *ahem* issues.... if you catch my meaning!

One other thing - BodyGlide on the nipples. I know, I know, ewww. Crazy internet and people over-sharing things, bad enough I'm talking about my briefs! But if I help just one person avoid bloody nipples (ewww) then it was worth it. Winter makes it worse. I've said too much.



Boris T said...

Great pointers! I do many similar things that you do when I got out as I did today. Also windproof briefs are a must!

Jennifer P said...

It is interesting to read your list. I've recently moved back to Kawartha Lakes from Winnipeg, and what you wear for a -12 day is what I would wear for a -20 day! It's all perspective! In fact, when I was out a few weeks ago I just had a tech t-shirt, arm warmers and a vest.
Have a great 1/2 in Peterborough - I wish I was 1/2 ready - I'm gearing up for Ennismore!

Jon P said...

Jennifer - it's partially perpsective I'm sure! But it's also things like humidity and wind... seems like not all -12C days are created equal. I know when I was running in Edmonton/Calgary, the temperature was routinely that low and it didn't feel as cold due to lower humidity and less wind.
Good luck in your race!