Cold Weather Running: Suiting Up!

Ready to hit the streets and committed to progress in your speed and endurance?

Then winter running is for you.

Unfortunately, Winter through early Spring scares most new runners off. Maintaining a good practice of running is a matter of understanding temperature, and having the appropriate gear to keep you comfortable as the miles tick on.

After 15 years of cold weather running, I'd love to share some easy tips to make setting out less of a pain.

Don't Overdress

Before you hit the road, check the temperature.

Then add 10-20 degrees.

Our bodies heat up efficiently and quite quickly once the legs and arms start pumping. Keep that in mind when selecting your gear.

If you're planning on a long run, also check the temp for the time you plan on ending your workout. Though it might seem impossible to leave the house without that extra layer, you'll be much happier and more comfortable 5 miles down the road, if you don't have to bother with it once you've warmed-up.

If that sounds too extreme, and you are set on starting with that extra layer, opt for thin layers that you can easily strip off and tie around your waist.

Warm Your Core

Miles are miserable and sometimes downright impossible if your abdomen is cold.

Loose fitting clothing lets air in and allows body heat to escape. Your job is to keep your abdomen toasty. So while 'skin-tight' might be a phrase that makes you think of slinky Summer attire it's actually the very thing you need in the Winter. Dress in a good fitting sports bra (for women) and a form fitting base layer to ensure your mid-section warm.

Don't forget your extremities

While the legs pump out the miles, extremities bear the brunt of extreme temperatures.

Heat escapes from your head, and it takes time to pump blood through the body to toes and fingers. Find a synthetic blend, fitted hat that covers the ears. If the thought of wearing something on your head feels constricting, wear an ear warmer, a band that wraps around your head and covers your ears.

Despite the hours you spent picking out shoes for your feet, when it comes to Winterizing your run, good gloves and the right socks are of equal important. Numb fingers make running miserable; so you won't regret a good pair of gloves. Again, opt for a synthetic pair that has the ability (on thumb or forefinger) to allow you to dial your phone. Grab a pair of socks that are wool blend and quick dry. The feet still sweat during cold weather runs, and athlete's foot is a hassle after a ten miler.

Ban the word "cotton" from your vocabulary.

This rule is for all seasons but is still important in freezing temps.

Once cotton becomes wet, it tends to stiffen or freeze as it tries to dry, dragging across the the skin and creating friction.

Yes, you read that right. You want sweat-wicking material so that your sweat doesn't re-freeze and bother your skin.

So while cotton might be great for sheets and pillow cases, it's the wrong choice for your run. Quick dry materials pull water away from the skin keeping you comfortable and chaff-free while you log your miles.

Invest in the good stuff.

A runner will never regret owning quality gear. In fact, I have a pair of tights I wear between 5-25 degrees Fahrenheit that I pull out of my drawer every time.

It's better to own two well-made outfits that you wash twice a week than 5 bargain buys with scratchy tags, questionable seaming, and cheap material. There's nothing worse than buyer's remorse at mile 20! Not only will you be more comfortable you will actually SAVE money by investing in high-quality gear that lasts for a long time.

Now that you're kitted out, it's time to hit the pavement and cruise in comfort!

Here are a few examples of my Winter outfits:

  • Layer 1: Athleta compression tights, Lululemon Energy Bra High Neck, Smart Wool Socks, Garmin Forerunner 235 Watch

  • Layer 2: Lululemon Restless Pullover, ear warmer, Lululemon Run For It All Gloves, Saucony Ride Running Shoes

  • Layer 3: neck gaiter, Lululemon Define Jacket



Evelyn Mizell is an ERYT200, RYT500 working under the tutelage of Tiffany Cruikshank and Yoga Medicine. In addition to teaching yoga internationally, she is a Military Spouse supporting her family's many changes of station around the globe, and also an accomplished running enthusiast and brand ambassador for Lululemon. Despite her travels and multifaceted Yoga & Fitness career, Evelyn is never too far away to connect deeply with those she teaches and finds join in offering private and semi-private instruction to help people find more strength, understanding, and comfort in their body.

Check out Evelyn's On Demand Classes here.

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