How To Keep Yourself Warm When Running During The Colder Months

You may have noticed that people who enjoy a certain sport are noted "enthusiasts." You can be a biking enthusiast or a rollerblading enthusiast or even a Quidditch enthusiast. If you're a running enthusiast, you belong in a special category because, unlike other sports enthusiasts, yours is a passion you can enjoy in any climate or temperature. Running is just as possible in the sun as it is in the snow and ice, and other harsh outdoor conditions. In fact, most winter runners can appreciate how restorative and confidence-building running in the cold can be, per REI. Less resilient people probably give you more credit than you realize as they wonder how you deal with the cold, and whether running is really worth it.


Of course, running in the cold is only possible (or comfortable) if you know to dress for the elements. Following these five tips will show you the way.

Dress like it's warmer than it is

If you're looking for a rule of thumb to set the tone for your running outfit, try this tip on for size. Dress as if it's 20 degrees warmer outside than it really is, Runner's World advises. This way, you should be slightly cool when you push off and shouldn't become overheated as you run.


Additionally, layers anticipate that your body temperature will increase while you run, FitDay says. If you can dress for warmer weather and dress in layers, you'll have a much more comfortable run.

Choose your base layer carefully

The base layer may be the most important layer of all. As your so-called "second layer of skin," this is where you don't want to make a mistake, like pulling a cotton sweatshirt from your dresser. Think about cotton getting quickly drenched in sweat, which will make for an uncomfortable or shortened outing (and maybe both).


It's better to wear a base layer made of wool. Even if it gets wet, it will still insulate you, Minus 33 explains. This breathable material will make it easier for you to breathe, too. Or choose a nylon or polyester shirt or sweater so that it channels moisture away from your skin, which is known as wicking (via REI). 

Wear a water-resistant coat

If a well-meaning friend or family member hasn't already gifted you with a waterproof coat, it may be only a matter of time before they do. Some wrongly assume that a waterproof coat will trap moisture, and becoming overheated is one of the last things you want when you're running. While waterproof jackets may trap moisture, water-resistant jackets are more breathable and still protect you from the rain, per Running Warehouse.


While we're on the subject, be sure to steer clear of big, bulky jackets, too (and bulky clothing in general). Yes, they look warm and inviting. But they will also restrain you and limit your freedom of movement, possibly to your own peril.

Cover your head and hands

As a winter runner, you may think of yourself as a warrior — someone who is toughened up and can face down the elements. This may explain why we see so many runners exhaling frosty air but cruising along without a hat or gloves (or both). But a hat, earmuffs, or even a headband can spare you from a possible ear infection and even ringing in the ears, Virginia Hearing Group says. Besides, if you warm up, you can always stuff these accessories in your pockets.


It's much more comforting to set off for a run knowing that you've protected the very first regions of your body to lose circulation when temperatures plunge. In addition to ear damage, frostbite looms as another danger. It can take less than 30 minutes to strike when temperatures dip to about 5 degrees Fahrenheit in wind chill, the Mayo Clinic notes. 

Remove wet clothes ASAP

Like a well-oiled machine, your body temperature begins to drop the second you let your foot off the gas, so to speak. It may take a few minutes to fully catch your breath, but you can expect some chills to settle in as soon as you step off your running route (via Runner's World).


Of course it may be tempting to reach for a mug of hot cocoa or cinnamon tea, but it's even more important that you stay warm by removing your sweaty clothing as soon as possible. So much the better if you can keep your running clothes separated from other dirty clothes so you can wash them separately. Once you change into clean and dry clothing, take as many gulps of cocoa or tea as you like. You've earned it — right along with your fellow running enthusiasts.