Time to Bundle Up

The cold weather has finally blown in and that means careful preparations are necessary for the outside runs if we are to avoid the “dreadmill”.  As a rule of thumb, runners should dress for 10 degrees warmer than the thermometer reads. Rule #21 in Runner’s World magazine’s 25 Golden Rules of Running states that you should dress for how you’re going to feel mid-run, not early run when the muscles are still warming up.  Right beneath this rule they also have a “Dress for Success” chart that suggests what kind of apparel to wear based on the temperature.

Once you’ve chosen your top and bottoms, you’re not done there. My other necessary go to cold weather accessories are:

1. Buff (neck gaiter – whatever you’d like to call it): A tubular bandana type piece of fabric (Survivors wear it so that makes it cool) is perfect for wearing as a neck gaiter and then using it to cover the nose and mouth if the cold air is too uncomfortable when breathing.  On cooler, but not cold days, I use it as a wide headband that can not only keeps the hair off of my face but also covers my ears. I hate cold ears and I despise the feeling of the wind in my ears – I have a strong aversion to that sensation.

2.  Beanie hat with ponytail hole: While these hats are so beyond unflattering on my egg head much like a swim cap *shudder*, I love how tidy and together it keeps my hair. Lots of other runners prefer the ear covering headbands, but I prefer the beanie.  Road Runner Sports has a lot of options to choose from.

3. Gloves: There are all different kinds of gloves out there, from fancy moisture wicking gloves, to Dollar Tree gloves, to just wearing socks over the hands like mittens.  Any which way you choose to do it, protect your hands!

4. Lip balm: Protect your lips!  Found a nice little Christmas present idea on There She Goes.  Ladies, print out the picture of this organic lip balm bundle and get it up on the refrigerator for all to see. I’m doing it right now myself. Love this!

5. Aquaphor or Vaseline or Body Glide:  Protect your cheeks – all of them!  Even if it’s just a bit windy (or forget the wind – it can just be downright cold), I think it’s a smart move to put a nice little layer of either one of these on your face (or your hands or anywhere else – like legs and bum) to protect your skin.  Nothing says ouch like wind burn… especially when you get it through your pants. Something I just learned this morning on our 5 mile run was that I need to put a layer on the backs of my knees. Between the sweat and the cold and the friction from the knee bending, it caused some chapped skin on the backs and sides of my knees.  Not horrible, but not a place I would’ve thought I’d get it…I guess the message is: slather your entire body with a layer of protective slime.

And even though it’s cold, continue to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and be smart about your layers.  Cold weather can zap you of your precious energy and leave you feeling wasted after your run.  Also take the time to really warm up your muscles. A good 5-10 minute walk or jog is a must to get the blood circulating.  Take the time to prepare, you won’t pay for it later.

Am I missing anything? Do you have favorite cold weather running gear? Share it in the comments section below!

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9 Comments

  1. I love Belgium Budder for a natural not greasie feel on my face. I normally use
    it for cycling or triathlons but found it works great for winter outdoor workouts. I do not have to scour the oily or grease residue from my face. It is awesome for all your cheek, anti-chafing needs. Yes, ALL your cheeks!😃

  2. This is an amazing post – very helpful!! I didn’t think about my cheeks and windburn! I will be doing Vaseline/body glide for sure. I think you’ve covered the keys. I’m still looking for the right socks for my cold toes though. I’ve tried a couple (running room and Burton snowboarding/merino wool ones).
    I just bought a buff for running this season and it is my FAVOURITE thing in the entire world. I have two different weights, a light one for my neck and a heavier fleecey one for my ears on the colder days and keeps my entire head warm leaving room for my pony tail – it’s amazing!

    • You forgot about your cheeks and I forgot about my toes! They do get overwhelmingly frozen when I run and I can’t believe I forgot about them (probably because I don’t feel them after the first 10 minutes). I am going to do some research on socks and I’ll post again later. My husband just got me started and said he really likes Thorlos socks, he’s got one pair and really likes them. Their tagline is “engineered foot protection” so I’m guessing they are a well thought out product. Thanks for the idea to look into better winter time foot wear! 🙂

    • Opportunity Knox

      I have done a couple of things to fight the cold feet. 1. Run faster, haha, increased blood flow to the feet = warmer feet 2. Trail running shoes for winter they provide more protection and sometimes even Gore-Tex making them waterproof. 3. Some companies offer moisture wicking Merino wool socks now…I hope some of this helps you stay warm and happy on your winter runs.

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