As the winter chill sets in, it’s time to lace up those running shoes and hit the pavement. With the first potential winter storm on the horizon here in Maryland, let’s dive into essential considerations for your outdoor cold weather runs.
1. Temperature Thresholds:
When the mercury dips, your running gear should adapt.
40+F | I go in what I described above.
The three ranges below are the guidelines I personally use and a base recommendation. I do adjust these based on the other parameters.
35-40F | I will cover my ears, wear a Nina’s Flying Needle neck warmer and White Paws Run Mitts
25-35F | I will switch to a hat instead of a headband and my fleece-lined running pants.
25F | Honestly, I would likely choose the tread but if I were to go outside, I would add my leg warmers and a second layer over my arms. Very little skin showing here.
2. Wind Warrior Tactics:
Don’t let the wind chill ruin your run vibes!
0-10mph | no change
10+mph | I will likely add a layer from the base above.
20+mph | I’m probably opting for a treadmill but as a word of caution, when the wind is over 20mph and below freezing, having as much skin covered as possible is highly recommended.
3. Precipitation Precautions:
Rain or snow, what gear should go?
Another usual “opt for tread today” scenario. But when it’s wet out it can feel colder.
When it is raining/snowing, having a layer that will keep you dry is key here. It is tricky as you don’t want to overheat either.
Also combining the precipitation with the temp, beware of potential icy conditions.
4. Layering for the Distance:
Choosing the right layers for every mile.
This one is highly variable, but the longer I am planning to be running, I am more likely to have fewer layers at the beginning, as I know I will heat up over time.
On the flip side, if I’m going out for 20 minutes or less, I am often less likely to add layers.
One other consideration will be if you will be outdoors before or after your run (like at a race). My personal preference is to start a little bit cooler so I’m not carrying extra layers at the end of a run.
5. Daylight Dynamics:
Sunrise to sunset, know when to layer up or down.
Lastly, sunlight really makes a difference. And while we are in the dark ages, some of your outdoor morning runs are going to start and end in the dark. And your evening runs.
For those runs that will transition, keep in mind that as the sun comes up, you’ll warm up quicker and as the sun goes down, you’ll cool down quickly.
A side note: when running on either side of darkness, make sure you can see and be seen. I like the Noxgear light harness to ensure you are seen. We don’t all have a lot of light-colored, reflective outer layers but staying warm AND seen are both top priorities!
As you brave the winter miles, remember, the key is finding your personal balance between warmth and comfort. Are you #teamtoomanylayers or #teamshortsinwinter? Whatever your choice, stay warm, stay seen, and keep conquering those cold-weather runs!