Poignant Irrelevance

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Winter Running Gear Help

I need some help on what to wear for winter running.  Today it is 45 degrees (which during the winter would be considered a blistering heat wave).  I would like to run outside today but I don’t have any winter/fall running gear.  I don’t even know what winter running gear is.  In the early fall and early spring I venture outside in the 50’s with shorts and a sweatshirt but when it dips from 40’s down to negative-below-the-temp-of-ice, I use the treadmill.  But the most I’ve ever run (all at once) on a treadmill was 7 miles and I’m pretty sure it was pure torture.

Well what happens if I want to run more outside this winter?  Is there special running clothing I’m supposed to be wearing?  Do I just wear lined wind-pants?  Is there a spiffy “running jacket” that will keep me warm and looking hot for the chicks? (ha ha).  do I wear a warm hat?  Should I wear a big puffy snow suit? (ha ha).  Seriously, I just have no idea what people wear outside in the winter while running.

Can you help a guy out?  Thanks!  

ps if anyone was following along with the earlier post:  1) complete disaster, 2) postponted (whew), 3) good      


  • I live in Mpls and ran outdoors last winter. And I'm a complete wuss when it comes to cold.

    Yesterday morning I ran around the 3 lakes, with the temp at 37. I wore a long sleeve technical shirt, which wicks the sweat away. I wore a jacket, like a wind-breaker, over that and some light "wind gloves." I also wore running tights and some wool running socks. I wore my regular cap on my head, but in the winter I wear a fleece headband to keep my ears warm along with a neck gaiter which I pull up over my face when the wind's blowing in it.

    You could probably get away with a long sleeve t-shirt over your technical shirt for right now. Or a fleece vest, if you have one. The key thing to remember is to not over-dress. It will feel at least 10 degrees warmer when you start running.

    There's a store in Calhoun Square (next to Vision World) that sells Pac-Trail wind pants and wind jackets. They're like Gore-Tex only half the price. I run in those(as a top layer)in the winter. REI Co-op has a good selection of running clothes; you don't have to be a member to shop there. My favorite running store is Monica's Start-Line over near Ridgedale (next to Creative Kidstuff). They have a good selection of running gear and a staff that happen to be marathoners. I have picked their brains several times. And there's always the Running Room in Uptown.

    I would be remiss if I didn't say to add a reflective vest when running in the dark.

    By Anonymous dorine, at 2:53 PM  

  • Ha, I love your ps. Thanks for the update! Mark once sent me a great summary for winter gear. I'll have to look back at my archives and send you a link.

    By Blogger susie, at 2:57 PM  

  • Underarmour has a nice mock turtle neck longsleeve shirt and tights that are a good base to start with. A windbreaker over that works. Nike has great wind-breaker gloves. I, like Dorine, wear a headband to cover my ears. When it gets into the 30s and below, I tend to put a cap that covers my ears. I believe the rule of thumb is that you should be slightly uncomfortable when starting out. If you are nice and warm when starting out, you have too much clothing on. Hope this helps!

    By Blogger D, at 3:34 PM  

  • You've gotten good advice so far, but I wanted to second the advice to not wear too much gear. You get hot quickly! I always wear my nasty old Eagles hat, though.

    Finished the 'thon, today! Haven't written about it all yet, but will soon.

    By Blogger Nic, at 5:16 PM  

  • Excellent question ... I was just going to post the same one about the gear. Now I'll just reap the benefits of you asking it .... and, I'll go buy a hat tomorrow.

    Yay about Number Three ... but I really wanna hear more about Number One! (Sounds like a Dr. Seuss spoof to me ...)

    By Anonymous beverly, at 8:57 PM  

  • Dude, I get HOT when I run, so compared to Dorine, I wear very little. Today it was 45º, so I wore a technical T, regular tights, and a baseball cap. If it were windy, I would wear a fleece headband instead of the cap.

    When it's 35 or below, I will add a windbreaker, and wear cheapo stretchy gloves that I bought at Target for $1.99. I'll also switch to a winter hat, a light wool or fleece one. When it's REALLY cold, I break out the fleece lined tights, and a fleece vest, but we're talking 15 or below.

    Hope this helps.

    By Anonymous Annalisa, at 9:42 PM  

  • In TN it doesn't get THAT cold, but I am a very cold natured person so I probably dress like it's MN weather! I just bought some Nike running gloves and an ear wrap thing I LOVE! I hate for my ears and hands to be chilled. I've also got several different running jackets of various thickness. They're all technical jackets, so as you sweat you don't get all cold, clammy, and chaff-y. That's SO important. They're a little pricey but really worth the expense. Once I warm up I can take them off if I need to and wrap around my waste. I also found some non-tight running tights for Brent at Target. There was NO way he was going to wear tights and I'd kill him running long runs if he had swishy pants on!! (Very understandable on all accounts!)

    By Blogger Rae, at 10:04 PM  

  • The key to running outside during colder weather is "LAYERS". For example I will wear a long sleeve shirt, a tshirt (tech on bottom) and a fleece vest. I also have what I call "pull-off" sleeves. These are like leg-warmers for your arms. They go on when ya need em and come off easy when ya don't.

    Now if you are going to be running on icy roads or paths, yaktraks are a good idea as well. They are these wire wrapped rubber things that fit over your runner.

    Head gear - If you keep your head warm, the rest of you will follow. I use a band around my hat that I can pull down over my ears when I need it.

    I also have various gloves and mits for cooler to damn cold weather.

    Check my archives of pictures from Nov to March to see what us Canadians where in the cold...lol.

    By Blogger Dawn - Pink Chick, at 10:24 PM  

  • I'm a big fan of the headband. My biggest problem areas for winter running are my ears and my hands. My hands especially. There are some days when my hands are so cold I feel like I'm dying b/c the pain is so bad. The only thing that seems to work for me are skiing gloves. I think I might have a slight form of Raynaud's disease.

    I bought a balaklava (black, silk ski mask) for those windy, cold days but then I started to feel like a bank robber and now it's at the back of my closet somewhere. It was really effective though.

    As long as my face and hands are protected, I don't worry to much about the rest b/c I get hot pretty quickly like everyone else. A technical shirt, wind-breaker, and some lycra pants do it for me.

    By Blogger Rebecca, at 9:04 AM  

  • Not that I get much chance to do cold waether running here in Houston (it was 48 degrees this morning though!) but when I do I wear a long sleeve dri fit shirt and a Columbia coolmax winter vest that is made for running/hiking. It keeps my chest (core) warm, but is also still good to have my arms only covered in the dri fit long sleeve when I get warmed up. I always wear shorts (this might change this year as I am investing in some running tights). I can not stand to wear hats of any kinds, but I have a headband thingy that covers my ears. Not too manly though! LOL! I hate to wear gloves too so I usually to tough it out and let me hands get used to it! It's weird b/c I am always cold and I hate cold weather, but I just can't stand hats and gloves. I ran the half marathon (38 degree start)in shorts and a long sleeve dri fit shirt and that's it!!

    1- complete disaster! LOL! how so?? and bad brent for triple booking! LOL!

    By Blogger Cassie (TIGGS), at 1:12 PM  

  • I love running in the winter despite living in Cleveland. My suggestion is flexibility. If you can modify the outfit during the run, you won't have much trouble. I get really hot during my runs, so I don't generally need more than one layer, but if it gets really cold or is wet, something heavier and waterproof is the way to go. Your nearest/favorite running store should have a selection of jackets. Choose one that you would wear for more than just runs (I wear mine almost all of the time). If it has detachable sleeves, zippers under the arms or removable layers, it can work in a variety of temperatures. It will also provide you with something often missing on a run: pockets. You can get a few different pairs of cheap gloves, each of a different thickness. Switch between them as they get wet or they aren't working in that particular weather. Also, I wear a headband year round, and just opt for a fleece one in the winter. Keeping your head warm is a good way to warm the rest of the body, or vice versa, you can dump off a lot of heat if you simply remove your hat for a few minutes.

    Good luck and watch out for snowplows!

    By Anonymous ninjamarathonman, at 3:40 PM  

  • Brent, glad to hear you're considering running outside. I really think you'd be missing out on some great weather if you hit the mill every time it's below 40.

    Like the others have said, you want to be a little chilled when you start. If you're hot at the start, it's only going to get worse. As Dawn said, layers are the key. Once you get out there at 40 degrees you'll get a feel for what to wear. If it drops 10 degrees, add another layer on top.

    Unfortunately, it's going to cost you some money to get a decent amount of winter running attire and stuff won't be on sale right now. The good news is it will last a long time. I think the most important thing is a few long sleeve wicking shirts. Once you have that as the base layer, you can wear just about anything over the top. 1-2 nice running pants and a nice jacket should be enough to get you through the winter. I like to have a few wicking hats too. I have poor circulation in my hands and I run outside down to -20, so I have a wide variety of gloves/mittens.

    Locally check out Run n Fun in St Paul (Randolf) or Eden Prairie (Shady Oak), Runner's Edge in St Paul (Grand), Marathon Sports (50th and Penn), Gear in St Louis Park. Online, check out roadrunnersports.com, runtheextramile.com (which is part of eastbay.com), sporthill.com (they make some of the best jackets I've ever found).

    Finally, if you shop locally you can almost always find a coupon in the local running magazines that they hand out for free at the stores like MDRA, Twin Cities Sports, Midwest Events, etc.

    By Blogger Chad Austin, at 8:27 AM  

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