Winter Running Necessities

Last year was the first winter where I can say that I truly ran through the entire winter season. In years past, I start out with the goal of running on the roads, but typically end up doing most of the sub-freezing runs on the treadmill. I strongly dislike cold weather – give me an 85 degree day over 0 any day of the week. But after a few spring marathons where I finished not feeling as good as I wanted or running the times I thought I was capable of, I made a promise to myself to try to learn to love (or at least accept) the colder weather. I wanted Boston to be a strong race and I knew that in order for that to happen, I needed to focus on more running on the roads, regardless of wind, cold, rain or snow.

And so, in the Boston trainup, I did just that. With the exception of one tempo long run, every long run was outside.

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And virtually all of my easy or recovery days were outside as well. The speed days were a tossup – I chose the treadmill when I was worried about footing or visibility outside (hard to concentrate on not slipping when you are trying to run as fast as you can). With Boston on my race calendar again, I plan to mirror a lot of what I did last year. The 2015 Boston Marathon was my strongest marathon ever. It was one of those perfect racing days where you run strong the whole way through. The weather was less than ideal, but it was a great day of racing for me.

With winter slowly creeping in for many of us (some of you already have welcomed the colder temps!), I wanted to share some of the key running accessories I used last year to help keep me warm and dry during all those winter runs. Running gear, especially good winter gear, is not cheap. And I’m always cautious to spend the money when I don’t know if it will really work in the cold weather. So I wanted to give my thought son what worked in case you’ve been on the fence!

As you will see, they are almost all Saucony. I have been an ambassador with the brand for years and I truly love the clothes, the brand and the people who work there. So understandably, my wardrobe is almost exclusively Saucony these days. (From now until Dec 31, if you use the code “26STRONG” you will get 20% off your entire order of full-priced items, excluding the EVERUN and Life On The Run products)

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Fitted Base Layers: When the temps drop, I always first grab a fitted base layer – something that will stay snug to my body and wick away the sweat so it doesn’t become ice cold and make me freeze. Depending on the temperature, it will be either a tank top or long sleeves. These are a few of my favorites:

Thicker Long Sleeve: Lately, most mornings are in the upper 30s to low 40s. This is the range where I opt for a thicker long sleeve shirt, rather than a jacket. My favorite is the Swift Long Sleeve. Hands down, it’s the softest, most comfortable long-sleeve running shirt I own. And it’s reversible – each side has a fun pattern (polka dots on one, stripes on the other).

Full tights: I wore capris for years because I felt that there wasn’t much difference between capris and full tights. I was so wrong. The tights are thicker – and help keep the heat completely inside – which will keep you warmer on the longer runs! During the extra cold mornings, I would wear a pair of fitted shorts underneath to keep my thighs and butt warm =)

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Outerwear: I mentioned last year that one of the biggest changes I made in how I dressed in the colder temperatures was adding a light jacket. I used to do 2-3 (or more) layers of thin shirts, but I never stayed warm or had protection from the wind, rain or snow. I was always hesitant to buy one because good running jackets are not cheap. But, I promise it is definitely worth the $. Here are my favorites:

  • Sonic Reflex Jacket: Wind and water resistant and 360 degrees of reflective protection (last year I had a black jacket – this year they released a white one – perfect for early mornings!)
  • Razor Jacket: Super light waterproof jacket; interior seams are sealed to keep the wet weather out. This got me through many of my sub-0 degree long runs last year!

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Headgear/Accessories: One of the best tips I ever received was from my friend Jess. I started wearing a waterproof visor or cap with a hat over it. This helped keep my head warmer, while adding protection from rain or wind, while keeping my ears warm. And, it’s great during the dark mornings when you have a headlamp on – it keeps the lamp from shifting down onto your head!

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Gloves/Mittens: I’ve learned that I need extra protection on my hands. During the coldest runs, I would wear a thinner pair of gloves under a pair of ski/hiking mittens (the mittens are no longer sold) – that was the only way that I could keep my hands warm. My recommendation is to overdress your hands – better to have toasty fingers than frozen ones!

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If you are looking for more information on dressing for the colder months, I’ve written several posts over the last few years about my experience/what works for me:

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For More NYC Running Mama training updates, pictures and ramblings, check out:

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    22 thoughts on “Winter Running Necessities

    1. All those pics of running in the snow make me nervous for my London Marathon training this winter! Great recommendations. I think some of those will make it onto my Christmas list this year! :)

    2. This post was exactly what I was looking for. I don’t want my running to suffer like it did last winter so I am trying really hard to keep a regular schedule. I am totally going to try the shorts under my tights. I was complaining about my butt/thighs being cold during this morning’s 32 degree run. I may also get a jacket instead of layering shirts. Thanks for the helpful info!

    3. Really good post and lots of great tips. One can never have enough! (or at least I can’t :) ) I love your reflective jacket, it looks brilliant and it’s safety first. You have some great photos of your winter running – luckily we rarely get as much as snow as that but you’re great not to be intimidated by it and to still go out running in it. I was just wondering do you wear trail runners when there is very heavy snow or just your normal shoes?
      Fiona recently posted..To Short or Too Short? Winter Running GearMy Profile

    4. I personally am a Brooks girl all the way. I love all of their stuff and also appreciate that they don’t fleece you like Lululemon or some other brands. I too have tried to get more winter running in over the past few years. I feel like the hardest part is getting out the door. I actually do really love running in the crisp air. I feel like it is always so quiet and peaceful in the winter also.

    5. Great suggestions! Wondering how you deal with snow/ice and traction. We’ve had some icy winters and would love to keep running (safely) when I can outside.

    6. I live in SC so I don’t own tights or running jackets. I have some long sleeved shirts and gloves and capris, but it rarely gets below freezing here (maybe a handful of times a year). I wanted to comment and say that I do LOVE saucony running apparel, especially the tank tops and the bullet shorts, so if I needed cold-weather clothes, I’d definitely take your recommendations. Way to go for getting so much outdoor running in during the winter months and in the snow- that’s super hardcore.
      Amy Lauren recently posted..Weekly Rundown: November 16-22My Profile

    7. Thank you so much for this post! Love all of the gear, perfect for winter running. I will be training for Phoenix marathon all winter, so will need to stock up on some warm running clothes! This will be the first time that I will be training for a marathon all winter, so I appreciate your thoughts on that. Good luck training for Boston, and thanks for always being such an inspiration!

    8. I have a love/hate relationship with winter running. I lived in PA for 4 years and fell one too many times for my liking while running in the snow/ice. My husband even fell once running and fracture a bone! Do you wear anything on your shoes to help with traction? I spent way too much time on the treadmill during those years.
      Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted..Weekly Running Recap: 11/16/15-11/22/15My Profile