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How to keep warm during cold weather running

Gear Gloves Hats

Although the fall season extends to mid-December, temperatures across the country are dipping.

But colder conditions don’t mean it’s time to stay indoors and ride the treadmill until spring. Cold weather running can be just as enjoyable and perhaps even more comfortable when you have the right equipment and gear. Dressing appropriately is important and it’s essential to stock your running closet with the right assortment of apparel.

A majority of body head will be lost through your head so it’s important to keep that covered up when temperatures drop. Lots of runners also complain of cold hands, so it’s wise to keep a pair of light-weight gloves nearby. Running shoes with Gortex or a similar waterproof membrane is useful for wet weather.

As always, the hardest part will be taking that first step out the door since the sudden introduction to cold conditions will seem like a shock, but just a few minutes later your body temperature will rise and you’ll be running along comfortably.


As a rule of thumb, plan to dress as if it were at least five degrees warmer that it is. Sure, you may feel cold at first, but after a few minutes, you’ll quickly warm up and wish you hadn’t added all those extra layers.

Here is a simple guide on what to wear depending on the temperature. Be sure to consider the conditions, including wind chill as well as any precipitation which will make it seem worse than the temperature suggests and demand extra layers and protection.

Above 10 C

For most people, this is safely within the “shorts and a t-shirt” range. A light long-sleeve might be preferred if it’s windy and add a light jacket if it’s raining.

5-10 C

It’s still fine for shorts, but you may prefer capris for extra warmth. It’s probably a good idea to go with a long-sleeved top or light jacket. Opt for light-weight gloves if your hands tend to get cold.

0-5 C

A lot of runners wear shorts until the temperature dips below zero but you’ll likely be more comfortable with capris or light tights, especially if you’re just running easy. Definitely opt for a long-sleeve and perhaps even a second layer.

-5 to 0 C

It’s now time for light tights as well as two top layers including a warm base layer and a light jacket. Gloves are a must and you’ll likely want to wear something on your head also.

Below -5 C

Time to consider a heavier set of tights and, for some, thermal underwear. You’ll want to ensure you have warm top layers also. Definitely time to wear the toque and running hat. Gloves are your new best friend.

For even colder temperatures, check out this blog post.