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Cold Weather and Winter Running Clothing Tips (Coaches Corner)

Deciding on cold weather winter running clothing is no joke! Find out what I wear when the temps plummet to keep myself safe and warm out on the roads and sidewalks. Join us for Running Coaches Corner!

As already discussed on my own and countless other blogs over the past week, Winter has entered the building and left the freaking door open (or left the fridge open, if you remember Tropic Thunder). But runners know no seasons, and if you are running a spring marathon or other race, you are going to need these tips to help you run and train safely through the winter season!

Cold Weather and Winter Running Clothing Tips

Layer like a crepe-cake doused in frosting fit for a 5 year old My Little Pony fanatic

Winter Running Clothing Picks, from the Top Down

Cold Weather Winter Running Clothing Tips and the Perfect Winter Running Outfit! @suzlyfe

Lined beanie (preferably bright or reflective) I have a few: one is bright green, the other is navy but with reflective stripes and a ponytail hole. I’m a big fan of having knit over top. I also run in my sherpa hat from time to time.

Gaiter or scarf A gaiter seals off your neck and torso for extra warm and you can pull it up over my face if need be.

Short Sleeve Tech Shirt A nice and lighter base layer, but you will feel warmer with your shoulders covered

Temperature Controlling Midlayer I have a few different ones, from a North Face Windstopper to a Mizuno Breath Thermo (all 1/4 zips for temperature regulation) 

Fitted, Lined Windproof Jacket with the option of ventilation I tried out and LOVED my Spyder Ardour jacket last week. Full review to come, but I loved the combination of cabling and quilting for both wind-blocking as well as breathability–it kept me warm, not overheated, and prevented sweating. Also, the close-to-the-body fit keeps you from getting cold air up inside the jacket. Also, make sure that it has reflective patches!

Insulated Vest Vests help you maintain core warmth (and thus overall warmth) and provide extra pockets! Also, if your jacket doesn’t fit tight to you, a well-fitted vest can provide that slim fit.

Lined running tights I pick ones with with zips on the side, some sort of lining (brushed fleece or body temperature reactive material) that are wind proof but breathable (like these).

Moisture Wicking Socks I like a little bit of ventilation, so I wear low rise socks mostly and taller socks when it gets colder. Thicker, but still moisture wicking–you don’t want your feet to sweat, or they will get cold. I have historically opted for my merino Feetures

Lined Gloves or Mittens I prefer gloves with what is called a “finger garage” or mitten-like flap to go over your fingers, but I’ve recently ordered gloves without them. I also like that the new gloves that are coming out are touchscreen capable! After talking with a few coaches, I have also had recommendations of using plastic gloves as liners and also cross country skiing gloves.

Additional Winter Running Accessories:

  • Hand Warmer packets (self explanatory)
  • Tissues (cold air makes you cry and your nose run!)
  • Reflective vest or flashing beacon (longer periods of darkness)
  • Yaktrax (Keep you safe and stable on treacherous surfaces and in snow)
  • Sunglasses (Snow is VERY reflective!)
  • See this post for more of my winter running essentials that I carry around with me!

Why Layers?

Layers let you control your temperature by regulating it with ventilation. You want a warm torso because it will help you keep your extremities warm while you are running, and the blood moves from your fingers, etc. I like the option for my wrists and ankles to be exposed for temperature regulation, but as it gets colder, I will cover them. And wear bright colors–you want to be seen. Visibility is likely to be less during the winter, so even just a single piece, like a bright hat or scarf might very well save your life.

Brrrrr! Use these winter #running clothing tips from Coach Suz to stay warm! #runchat #coachescorner Click To Tweet

What are your winter running clothing must haves? How cold does it get where you are?

Have your eyes ever iced shut?

This post is a complete update on information from this post from November 2014! Some links are Amazon affiliate links, but the choices/opinions are my own.

I am linking up with myself, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPatty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, Nicole, Annmarie, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday, and Ilka and Angela for Food and Fitness Sunday. 

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  • Reply Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious

    I am loving getting outdoors FINALLY after two winters being trapped inside due to injury. Definitely gonna need some of these. It’s supposed to get colder her tomorrow like mornings in the 30’s.
    Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious recently posted…One Pan Chicken Broccoli Brown Rice Casserole {GF, Low Cal}My Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 5:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Layer up and enjoy being outside!!

      December 17, 2016 at 8:52 am
  • Reply Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete

    That picture of you is everything. I haven’t tried hand warmers yet, but I usually rip my gloves off at some point (I’m too hot for them…bwahahaha).

    Side note: I have somehow missed this link-up! I’m in next week.:) . LOVE YOU!
    Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete recently posted…They love me, part II, and random eatsMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 5:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      YAY! WHere have you been the past wednesdays??

      December 17, 2016 at 8:51 am
  • Reply Lisa @ Mile by Mile

    I need some more winter running clothes! I only have a couple of jackets and they could definitely be replaced. Layering is so important!
    Lisa @ Mile by Mile recently posted…Home Gym Tour Plus Workouts You Can Do At HomeMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 5:48 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      When you get to the point that you are wearing 5 jackets just because your jackets don’t work… time to replace them.

      December 17, 2016 at 8:51 am
  • Reply Heather @Lunging Through Life

    There’s something about the calmness and peaceful nature of running outside in the winter. Bonus if it’s a light snow fall!
    Heather @Lunging Through Life recently posted…Pregnancy #2 QuestionnaireMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 5:54 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I will concede that a run in light snow is pretty magical. As long as you have traction!

      December 17, 2016 at 8:50 am
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner

    icy eyelashes? OUch! I do like running in the winter time but yes having the right gear is key. Having said that it’s pretty darn cold out this week 🙂 thanks for the linkup
    Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…Looking Back On My Year in Running 2016My Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 6:29 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And it is only going to get colder! Stay warm!

      December 17, 2016 at 8:49 am
  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    You know I”m the queen of cold weather running! I recently purchased a pair of Athleta thermal tights (scored at Marshalls) and the wind doesn’t penetrate those babies. Heck, I’d pay full price for them. They are amazing!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…The Decorated Runner: 2016 The Year in BlingMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 7:03 am
  • Reply Laura @ This Runner's Recipes

    Winter running is my favorite – minus the snow and ice (or cold AF rain here), but with the right gear it’s enjoyable!
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…How I Improved My Marathon NutritionMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 7:11 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I could never do the cold rain that you all deal with. That is my #1 nightmare.

      December 17, 2016 at 8:48 am
  • Reply Debbie @ Coach Debbie Runs

    I am so happy that I never will freeze my eyelashes shut! We do occasionally get into freezing temperatures here in the early morning, so I do have a tough time figuring out what to wear. I want to be cozy and warm, but I know that once I warm up I’ll probably be too hot.
    Debbie @ Coach Debbie Runs recently posted…Stocking Stuffers Runners will LoveMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 7:29 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I bet there is a pretty decent temperature shift for you as well–so you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

      December 17, 2016 at 8:48 am
  • Reply Gretchen

    Everyone at work thinks I’m crazy for running outside (especially since I go before work starts) but I swear, if you layer properly you don’t feel cold! More excuse to buy cute clothes 😉
    Gretchen recently posted…WIAW : Marathon TrainingMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 7:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Which is always appreciated, lol

      December 17, 2016 at 8:47 am
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    I used hand warmers sometimes when I’d have to stand outside all day doing live shots in the snow. You’d get even colder than running, because you were just standing there.
    I have to admit, I’m a wuss in the cold and opt for my treadmill if it’s that bad. BUT usually the thought of running in the cold is worse than it actually is. It’s often pretty nice!
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…5 Minute Holiday Cheese PlatterMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 7:56 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It really is a mental game. UGH I would be the biggest wuss about the outdoor live shots. I get cold just looking at you all doing that

      December 17, 2016 at 8:47 am
  • Reply Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    Lined tights make all the difference!

    December 14, 2016 at 8:43 am
  • Reply Emily

    I think the coldest I’ve ran in so far this year has been about 10 degrees? I usually wear tights, a winter coat, a long sleeve wicking shirt, thick socks, and a beanie (or a face mask if it’s really windy and cold.)
    Emily recently posted…WIAW: Living Requires Eating… Without ExerciseMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 8:50 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Sounds like you’ve got it down to a science!

      December 17, 2016 at 8:45 am
  • Reply Suzy

    I just ordered a running jacket online yesterday! It was on sale for one day, so I went for it. We usually don’t get extreme weather here but once in a while we get some yucky stuff. It snowed here on the weekend and then now it’s well below freezing, so the sidewalks are a huge mess; it’s impossible to walk on them let alone run! So I’ve been inside on the treadmill a lot lately. Hopefully the temps come back up a bit soon!
    Suzy recently posted…Suzy’s Gift GuideMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 9:04 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I see you just bulldozing down the center of the road. You need to get some headlights and you’ll be good 😀

      December 17, 2016 at 8:45 am
  • Reply Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table

    Layers are KEY! And warmers. When I ran the Thanksgiving Half in ATL I had body warmers. After the first 2 miles they were so hot I almost puked, but it was necessary standing around in the cold waiting for the race to start!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Where to Eat on Beach Road in Tulum, MexicoMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 11:56 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      hahahaha yeah, maybe in that case you needed to take them out lol

      December 17, 2016 at 8:44 am
  • Reply Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    Every December I panic that there’s no way I’ll survive winter running… and then somehow my body adjusts, I find the right number of layers, and it works out okay. But I definitely have to suck it up and bear it- not my favorite time of year!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…A few of my favorite (sweet) thingsMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 12:52 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You just have to acclimate. But yeah, it can be scary the first few times that you go out!

      December 17, 2016 at 8:43 am
  • Reply Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat

    This will be my first winter without a gym membership and I am actually loving the cold so far in the past I have totally hit the treadmill by now. I am always cold in real life but HATE being overheated running. I ran in shorts and a long sleeve yesterday morning with real feel 29 lol. I recently discovered athleta and am obsessed with some of their options.
    Right gear makes all the difference and I think vests will be my winter go to. I can’t imagine running in a full on jacket and still having range of motion.
    But when ice and snow happen…idk I might change my winter tune 😉
    Gianna @ Run, Lift, Repeat recently posted…Dumb Ass Trail Mix Up 30/50KMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 1:07 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You just have to find the right jacket! And don’t get frost bite, please.

      December 17, 2016 at 8:42 am
  • Reply Ange // Cowgirl Runs

    Yes to alllllll of these!!
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Dashing Through the Glow Race RecapMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 3:37 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And a bubble suit with incorporated heater.

      December 17, 2016 at 8:41 am
  • Reply Kimberly Hatting

    My must-have favorite cold weather item is a puffer vest (no special brand). They give all the warmth of a jacket without the (underarm) bulk (I also layer arm warmers under my sleeves). Yes to sunglasses, not just for the reflection from the snow on a sunny day, but also as a wind-breaker for my sensitive eyes.
    Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Spoiler Alert – winter is here!My Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 5:26 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Such a good point. I have considered getting either transitional or clear lens glasses for days when I just need the wind break.

      December 17, 2016 at 8:41 am
  • Reply Nicole @ Fitful Focus

    Not gunna lie – I’m pretty happy I don’t have to deal with this anymore, but come talk to me in the summer when it’s 110 degrees. We’ll see if I’ll still be saying that haha.
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…The Best Fitness Gifts In Every BudgetMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 6:17 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Basically, it will be like running in downtown Manhattan during summer. Easy, right?

      December 17, 2016 at 8:40 am
  • Reply Hannah

    I swear my body has defective temperature regulation…I can start sweating while my hands are still numb! Sooo my favorite layer is actually arm warmers over a long sleeve shirt. Super fashionable.
    Hannah recently posted…Trail running with your dogMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 8:38 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oooo, that actually sounds pretty lovely. Not the sweaty numb hand bit though. That sounds horrible.

      December 17, 2016 at 8:39 am
  • Reply Sarah

    I utilized the gaiter on my run the other day. It was a godsend. The run was awful and I cried as I trudged through the snow (what was I thinking in 22 inches of snow?!). But that gaiter was so nice to have wrapped around me!
    Sarah recently posted…Snow And Learning To Be LazyMy Profile

    December 14, 2016 at 8:39 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Honestly, what WERE you thinking?? lol

      December 17, 2016 at 8:39 am
  • Reply Ilka

    I wished I could make use of all this awesome cold running gear. I’m still pretty much sweating it out here in South Florida. After we had a bit of cooler weather last week, the warmer temps are back…
    I used to love running in cold weather when we lived in NYC, especially after it has snowed, the air is so cool, clean and crisp.
    Have a great week Susie!
    Thanks for the link-up!!
    Ilka recently posted…Running Week December 5th – back in Marathon TrainingMy Profile

    December 15, 2016 at 5:50 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Running in NYC in the snow is pretty magical. Especially in Central Park–you feel protected!

      December 17, 2016 at 8:35 am
  • Reply Annmarie

    Believe it or not, I don’t have a gaiter. Obvi, I need one.
    Annmarie recently posted…Running Gifts That Commemorate A Special RaceMy Profile

    December 15, 2016 at 8:29 am
  • Reply Rachel


    I finally got myself a fleece gaiter and it’s life changing. Before that I suffered with NOTHING, and then last winter I used a buff. But the buff isn’t good for single or negative digit runs. Gaiter FTW.
    Rachel recently posted…2016 Ultimate Holiday Gift Giving Guide for AthletesMy Profile

    December 15, 2016 at 8:36 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      This winter it is going to be so necessary.

      December 17, 2016 at 8:33 am
  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law

    This makes me cold just thinking about it! My cold weather running tip is stay inside so your are much more helpful than mine 😛
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recent Things: Movies, Cruising and Puppy LovingMy Profile

    December 16, 2016 at 2:01 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m honestly thinking it might not be a bad idea.

      December 17, 2016 at 8:33 am
  • Reply San

    Thanks for all the great suggestions. I am utterly ill-prepared for cold weather running.
    San recently posted…Five holiday gifts for athletes My Profile

    December 19, 2016 at 12:50 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I hope they help!

      December 19, 2016 at 1:20 pm
  • Reply Choose one goal |

    […] am linking up with Suz, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on […]

    January 3, 2017 at 3:04 am
  • Reply Christy Gerdes

    My eyes have nearly iced shut, I ran backwards for nearly two miles once to avoid them freezing shut.. it was -40 with the wind chill. I was fine running with the wind but the way back was another matter and not a laughing one. Now I wear ski goggles and that fixes that problem!

    January 17, 2017 at 9:29 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ski goggles are so badass. I can’t imagine dealing with frozen shut eyes!! And you are even more badass for running backwards.

      January 17, 2017 at 1:44 pm
  • Reply Lacey@fairytalesandfitness

    I love my gaitor. I like how it dos cover up your neck and you can pull it up your face as well if needed.
    Lacey@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Cold weather gear, check out these MizunosMy Profile

    January 17, 2017 at 11:40 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      As long as it doesn’t fog up your glasses…

      January 17, 2017 at 1:45 pm
  • Reply Lesley

    I love sleeves with thumb holes because I can cover my wrists when they’re cold, or unhook the thumbs and roll up the sleeves.

    January 18, 2017 at 9:03 am
  • Reply Use low-monotony weeks to improve your fitness |

    […] am linking up with Suz, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on […]

    January 24, 2017 at 3:40 am
  • Reply How much fuel is too much on a long run? |

    […] am linking up with Suz, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on […]

    January 31, 2017 at 3:08 am
  • Reply Runner’s Reset… round 4! |

    […] am linking up with Suz, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on […]

    February 7, 2017 at 10:03 am
  • Reply 3 Things Injuries Have Taught Me |

    […] am linking up with Suz, Rachel, Lora, and Debbie for Running Coaches Corner, Patty, Erika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on […]

    February 14, 2017 at 4:08 am
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