Keeping warm when running in the cold

I wear a lot of hats.  If you read my bio (on the right side of this blog next to my pic) you'll notice I have a family, small business and I mentioned that I volunteer.  In addition to Girl Scouts I'm also active with our local School Supporters and that includes helping organize our largest fundraiser of the year, a 5 mile road race.
This is the hat my mom made me.

My favorite hat is the one I wear this time of year when it's really cold.  Its a real hat, not a figurative one, its the one my mom made for me.  I think if your mom makes you a hat your should wear it.  But while I really like my hat, it's not actually what this post is about. 

I'm writing about my running hat,... sort of.  I'll state up front I'm not a runner. I help organize a race, but I don't run.  Someday .... yeah right.  I'm shooting for competitive walker.  Anyway when the temps get really cold outside and I wake up to single digits on the outdoor thermometer I start thinking about cold weather tips.  This morning I saw some friends posting about running in single digit temps (in the dark!) and it got me thinking, and researching a bit, what runners should wear when running in cold weather.  So compliments of I'm posting some tips for cold weather running. 

Don't overdress.  This would be the mistake I would make.  If you pile on too many layers of clothing you'll get really hot, and then try to strip down, and then get cold.  Hat & gloves are great, breathable layers are best on your torso, warm clothes on your legs.  Running in a heavy coat is probably not advisable.

You still need a hat and gloves.  Your hands and the top of your head still need to be kept warm.  A head band or something to cover your ears can also be worn.  Warm socks are also good, but not the kind that make your feet sweat.   A scarf or gaiter that you can loosen around your neck can also be nice.

You still need to drink water or an electrolyte enriched drink.  You can still get dehydrated running in the cold, that does not change with temperature.  Active suggests snow but I'm not sure how comfortable I am grabbing a fistful of snow from the side of the road to quench my thirst.

Be visible.  The sun rises later and sets earlier. If you're running when it's dark where reflective clothing and/or carry a light so cars can see you.

Wear or carry ID.  You should have ID on you in case of an emergency.  I'm a fan of my Road ID since I can just put it on my wrist and forget about it.

If the weather is really inclement or the wind chills are really bitter, take a moment to decide if it is really worth going out for the run.  If you have someplace indoors you can run switch up your routine and try the treadmill or indoor track.

Keep warm!


  1. Great tips Gail.

    As someone who runs whatever the weather I really know the power of layers (and gloves!). I get cold when I stop so i usually make sure and take something warm in the car :)


  2. I can barely run when it's warm out, so I have the utmost respect for anyone that can do it in the cold. LOL. It's so hard to breathe in the cold weather (at least for me).


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