If you’re training for a race or running just for kicks during the chilly months of the winter season, chances are you’ve had to tough out some uncomfortably cold runs. We’ve all heard the standard advice – wear layers, dress for temperatures slightly warmer than the real feel since you will warm up, etc. But, there are a few additional simple steps you can utilize as you gear up to brave running in the cold. From your head to your toes, these easy steps will make a big difference in how warm and comfortable you feel once you’re out there. I use these tricks every single time I run in the cold and I can personally attest that they make a big impact!
1.Use all the accessories.
Accessories are going to be your BFFs during the winter. Keeping your hands, face, neck and head covered will make a huge difference in how warm you feel on the run. It’s well worth it to get at least one pair of warm running gloves or mittens, a hat or ear warmer and a buff.
I like to have a pair of versatile running gloves that I can wear on most chilly days and then a super warm pair of running mittens for runs in the freezing cold. I don’t usually wear a hat when I run but I am a huge fan of ear warmers. I recommend figuring out what works best for you. In my experience, if you have a ponytail, an ear warmer is more comfortable to wear, but everyone is a little different.
And finally, let’s talk about Buffs. I am such a fan! It’s definitely going to be your most versatile winter accessory. A buff is basically a long, circle piece of fabric that you can wear about a dozen different ways. I tend to wear mine around my neck to keep that area of exposed skin warm and then pull it up over my face when it gets super chilly or windy. As you can see you, you can also use it as a substitute ear warmer. Added bonus, you can put your winter running accessories to good use even when you’re not running!
2. Tuck in your Base Layer.
I’ll preface this tip by emphasizing that we’re not going for fashion here, folks. We’re all about comfort and staying warm on the run! I tuck in my base layer to my leggings on every single winter run. This makes a huge difference in ensuring that cold air doesn’t seep in and that your base layer doesn’t slide up your body. And once you put on another layer, no one will even notice your total nerd status. I also find that this helps my leggings from falling down which definitely helps keep me warmer and more comfortable as well! This is probably the simplest tip to start implementing immediately and trust me, you’ll notice a big difference right away.
3. Invest in a Vest.
The key to winter running is dressing warm enough to keep your muscles from getting tight and make sure you are comfortable while not overdressing to the point that you overheat. This balance is a little bit different for everyone as some get warmer as they run than others but keep in mind that you will warm up on the run. I usually account for feeling as if it is about 15 degrees warmer than the actual temperature while I am running since I heat up pretty quickly.
The vest is my solution to the struggle of balancing my winter running attire. If I have too many layers on my arms, I find myself pushing them up and feeling super sweaty. With a vest, I keep my core warm while avoiding overheating. Plus, pockets are an added bonus for carrying a key, gels or winter accessories that I take off as I run.
4. Put your watch on top of your sleeve.
You definitely don’t want to pull back your sleeve to stop, start and check your watch while you’re out on a cold run. I always fasten my watch over my long sleeve base layer so that when I need to check my pace, I’m not sacrificing exposing m skin to the elements. This will mean that you lose the benefits of wrist-based heart rate monitoring but I personally think that is well worth it to stay warm on the run. You can always opt for a chest heart rate monitor if you prefer.
5. Wear long socks under your tights.
Don’t neglect the small areas of skin that are usually exposed to the chilly winter elements. One of those spots is your ankles. As a tall person, I always have a gap between my leggings and shoes, but no matter your height, wearing long socks helps prevents cold air from finding it’s way under your leggings or into your shoes. This is also a great excuse to utilize compression socks and help stimulate circulation – another trick for keeping your muscles warm on the run. My favorite are Stance (great crew length with super fun designs) and Lily Trotters (up-to-the-knee compression socks that are awesome to wear on the run or all day).
Local to Maryland? All of these products – winter accessories, socks, Garmin, apparel and shoes can be found at your closest Charm City Run shop!
And there you have it! Five simple tricks that you can start utilizing now to keep you a lot warmer on your next winter run. What are your suggestions for staying comfortable on chilly runs? Share your own tips in the comments below!