A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Running when it gets chilly

on November 5, 2013

We’ve got the gorgeous fall weather and the really cool temperatures to go with it in Nebraska these days. It seems like we skipped right from hot to below freezing in the blink of an eye, so I’m definitely learning a lot about how to handle these temperatures. Today is our first day with snow in the forecast, so I thought it was a good time to talk about what I’m learning about running in the cold. The key is definitely layering!

For my long run Saturday morning, it was going to be in the 30s. I started out with compression pants (full length), with several layers on top (a lightweight tech tank, a long sleeved New Balance half-zip top that has an extra internal layer of fleece along your trunk and a fleece jacket from Old Navy). I also had a ear warmer/headband and gloves. I was still pretty chilly when I started out but by two miles, I pulled off the fleece jacket and when I passed back by the car at mile 3-ish, I stopped to peel off the tank layer and the headband. At this point I must confess that the tank was primarily there because I wanted the lightest possible layers for my weigh in at Weight Watchers that morning. I also ditched the fleece jacket and finished my run with just the long sleeved half zip. That was great while I was running, but when I slowed to walk the combo of sweat and 35 degree weather and falling body temp because of less exertion = a popsicle Jessica that took hours to warm back up.  Being able to adjust layers up and down as you warm up and cool off is key.

Some layers I find useful right now:

Full length pants: All of mine are from Old Navy, but there are lots of varieties. The ones at Old Navy work for me and are pretty cheap, so I stick with them. I have flare legs to wear alone and some that are narrow/compression all the way down that I could wear under a skirt or sweat pants if I want to be extra cute or have an extra layer of warmth.

Compression tights under my running dress, with the Urban Running Girl Shrug on top - great layers for a 30s-40s temp run

Compression tights under my running dress, with the Urban Running Girl Shrug on top – great layers for a 30s-40s temp run

Long sleeved tech shirts: I really like the kind with the half-zip top because I can have it all the way to protect my neck a bit or unzip it when I get hot. Again, I got some at Old Navy, one from Target (their C9/Champion line) and one I got from New Balance that has fleece along the trunk and is very warm (called Thermal Impact 1/2 Zip I think). Regardless, your base layer on your trunk should be something that is wicking to keep you from trapping sweat and getting too cold along your core.

Arm sleeves / shrugs: If you’re somewhere not quite as Nebraska chilly yet, these can help warm up your arms and allow you to wear your short sleeved tops for more of the year. I have sleeves, that I found really helpful for 10K because I needed them while waiting around but once we got going and warmed up, I could push them down and they weren’t too bulky or intrusive.


Arm sleeves are pushed down here – looks like very 80s wristbands, right?

I also have a cute shrug (check out Jodi’s review of these here) that is nice because it offers sleeves, but isn’t as bulky as a jacket when I take it off to tie around my waist. I’ve also seen people use cool patterned socks with toes cut out to have something warm & themed for a race costume.

Gloves: Mine aren’t running specific – I think they’re actually Isotoner – but they’re lightweight enough that my hands don’t sweat and have the touch-sensitive finger so I can still adjust things on my phone. I do dedicate them just to running though, because I find myself using them to wipe my nose or my sweaty forehead when I run (TMI, sorry) and I don’t want to be using them socially after that, do I?

Socks: I just got some wool socks specifically for my cold feet and I love them so far! Definitely warmer but still wicking and not too heavy. Mine are from Feetures, but I am sure there are others. They weren’t cheap, so I only have two pairs and will rotate them, but it is worth it to keep my feet a smidge warmer.


Ear muff/ Headband / Hat: Something to cover your ears and / or head will help a lot as that’s where we lose a lot of heat and my ears are definitely one of the first and most uncomfortable places I feel the cold! I have a really large head for a girl, so most women’s hats don’t fit me so I stick to the ear warmer/headbands. I also have a neck gaiter that I can pull up over my neck and face when it gets really cold.

Outer layer: When it gets really chilly, an outer layer is also good. I have fleece jackets from Old Navy and a puffy vest (also Old Navy) that help when I need an extra layer. You can fully zip or unzip to adjust how warm you need to be. On windy days, something with some wind-stopping capacity would be helpful or something waterproof for the rain/snow mix days like today.

Be very careful of your footing!

As temperatures start to fall, it’s easy to run across unexpected patches of ice like on this lovely little bridge Saturday morning:


I skidded quite gracelessly across this thing right at the start of my run. In the photo, I can clearly see the ice, but coming across it, it wasn’t as noticeable. Be watchful of your local temperatures and especially careful anywhere high risk, like bridges, or where you can’t see the actual surface of the road due to leaves or other debris. No injuries to delay anyone from the Princess Half Marathon, right? I have some shoe covers with spikes for when the snow/ice becomes more of an issue. I’ll update you when I try those!

Be aware that slick road surfaces can make it harder for cars to stop in time if they come across you, so be extra careful on roads with vehicles and have lots of reflective gear so you’re easy to see. Allow them extra time to stop if you’re going to be crossing anywhere nearby.

Wish me luck driving home tonight! Despite snow being a relatively common occurrence in Nebraska, people still lose their minds driving the first time it snows. Here’s hoping it hits after drive time tonight and is gone before morning (if it comes at all!).

Articles  for Extra Reading

Hungry Runner Girl posted about winter running tips today, so I’m not the only one thinking about this now!

The Runners World What to Wear calculator is always handy as well.

Over at AnotherMotherRunner.com they have both an article and podcast with winter running tips as well.


I received the Urban Running Girl shrug from a giveaway via Jodi at 2princessesontherun.wordpress.com and the New Balance tops after winning part of their Runnovation contest this fall (will let you know when that gets posted). I wasn’t asked to review them or compensated for anything I had to say about them. Any of the other brands mentioned are what I’ve personally purchased and used and in no way sponsored posts.


6 responses to “Running when it gets chilly

  1. Hope you had a safe drive home! I am NOT ready for snow yet! I’m adjusting to the cooler temps and once I get moving I’m fine, but after my runs I’m always freezing for a couple hours. I am dreading some of my longer training runs that are scheduled for January and February, I’m either going to have to spend a couple hours outside freezing or on the dreadmill, which I don’t want to do too often as I think it’s easier than running outside and don’t think I’ll be properly trained if all my runs are on it. Good tips!

  2. Lauren says:

    Great tips! I hope your drive was safe!

  3. […] snow our way later today from the feel of things. It did give me a nice to chance to test out my winter layering, which worked well for the most part. My hands and feet were cold, but even they warmed up by the […]

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