As you race down the icy sidewalk, people in heated cars drive by wondering to themselves, “Why would any person in her right mind run outside in this weather?” They don’t get it—the calling that echoes in a runner’s mind that’s not satisfied until she’s laced up and hit the road for that daily run. However, below freezing temperature and less-than-perfect conditions make running in the winter a dangerous endeavor. Be sure to dress appropriately so you stay warm and uninjured.
Mom always said you lose most of your body heat through your head, so even though you’re keeping warm by running, you’ll need as much of that as you can get when it’s below 32° Fahrenheit. Your best bet will be a hat made of wool or fleece. For women, this Mizuno Breath Thermo Head Pip ($9.88) keeps your head and ears warm while helping to regulate your overall body temperature. This waterproof cap from Asics ($35) for men is a great option to keep your head protected during your winter runs.
Wearing either a neck gaiter or balaclava will cover your neck and face while you run in cold, inclement conditions. A simple fleece one, like the Rotcho Polar Fleece Neck Warmer ($10), is an inexpensive but highly effective option. For additional color options, check out the Turtle Fur Turtle Neck ($11.30).
For your upper and lower body, you’ll want a solid layer of wicking material. The Duofold by Champion brand offers excellent moisture wicking clothing at an extremely reasonable price. Duofold has long-sleeved shirts and pants for both women and men to wear under the rest of the running clothes layers.
Insure that the sweat wicking off of you does not freeze by including an insulating layer over your base. Your best bet for this part of your running ensemble would be a long-sleeved fleece top of some kind. A simple fleece lined sweatshirt like this Tek Gear one from Kohl’s ($12) will be sure to keep you warm.
To protect against the elements (wind, snow, sleet, frigid temperature and so on), you’ll need a weather-proof layer for your upper and lower body. The ultimate goal of this layer is to keep the cold wind and precipitation off of you while allowing you to regulate your body temperature. The Moving Comfort brand has the perfect track pants ($88) and hoodie ($58) to keep your warm on your runs.
If your winter run includes puddles, snow mounds or any kind of direct contact with moisture, you’ll want to invest in trail running shoes to keep your feet dry and warm. Merrell Women’s Mix Master Glide ($50 – $299) or Merrell Men’s Allout Fuse Trail Running Shoe ($110) paired with Drymax Cold Weather Run Crew Socks ($10) will guarantee your feet are in excellent condition for your winter run.
You can also lose quite a bit of heat through your extremities, especially your hands. Pearl Izumi Thermal Lite Gloves (for women and men for) are highly rated by a variety of runners and very reasonably priced at around $15.
It might be tempting to just stay inside rather take your daily run on cold days, but as Australian athletics trainer Percy Cerutty once said, “You only ever grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone.” So get out there and hit the streets for your winter run.