How do you run in the cold?

#1
The question is in the title.... I have no idea how people go running in the Winter. Maybe I just have bad circulation, but no matter how I suit up with running tights/sweatshirts/jackets/gloves it's never enough! I feel the cold air going right through me especially with my head. My nose is constantly stuffy and I feel like I'm going to catch a cold every time. Is it something you just get used to after you do it enough? I can't help but want to stay inside and do some other kind of workout :(
 
#2
I guess, for starters, "cold" is relative for most folks. I am in New England and running outside can mean temps as bad as 0F with wind on top of that. Thankfully we have had some really mild winters recently...

I find that from 40 to 50 I am still ok in a singlet and short-sorts, so long as I slap a pair of gloves on. I don't know if its poor circulation or just my body pulling more blood to my core, but my fingers definitely get cold in this range if I am still dressed like it's summer.

Below 40 I will toss on an Under Armor cold weather compression shirt that I have literally had since 2002. I don't know how it has lasted so long but I never notice the cold when I have go that on. Still short-shorts. If it is windy in that range then I will toss on the gloves and some windbreakers.

On the flipside of the coin, I hate, hate, hate running in the heat. I usually don't wear a shirt for anything over 60. I had serious problems during the 2017 Chicago Marathon dealing with the 75 temps. I absolutely died in the final 10k and ended up running my worst time for any marathon I have ever done.

Also, for what it's worth, despite loving running in the cold I find myself on a treadmill more often during the winter because of the lack of daylight and poor road conditions.
 
#3
I guess, for starters, "cold" is relative for most folks. I am in New England and running outside can mean temps as bad as 0F with wind on top of that. Thankfully we have had some really mild winters recently...

I find that from 40 to 50 I am still ok in a singlet and short-sorts, so long as I slap a pair of gloves on. I don't know if its poor circulation or just my body pulling more blood to my core, but my fingers definitely get cold in this range if I am still dressed like it's summer.

Below 40 I will toss on an Under Armor cold weather compression shirt that I have literally had since 2002. I don't know how it has lasted so long but I never notice the cold when I have go that on. Still short-shorts. If it is windy in that range then I will toss on the gloves and some windbreakers.

On the flipside of the coin, I hate, hate, hate running in the heat. I usually don't wear a shirt for anything over 60. I had serious problems during the 2017 Chicago Marathon dealing with the 75 temps. I absolutely died in the final 10k and ended up running my worst time for any marathon I have ever done.

Also, for what it's worth, despite loving running in the cold I find myself on a treadmill more often during the winter because of the lack of daylight and poor road conditions.
I've lived in the northeast my whole life and I haven't enjoyed winters since I was a kid. I find even upper 50s-low 60s to be chilly and now that I've graduated from college I no longer have access to an indoor track (not that I would've nowadays since covid). It's only October and I felt like I was getting sick by going running in the 40s last week. I've never tried gaiters before, would it help out?
 
#4
Hah - I am baffled because I would probably catch fire in your "running tights/sweatshirts/jackets/gloves" setup.

I use a gaiter indoors (for the treadmill at the gym) and I don't think it would provide much in the way of warmth, other than providing a basic barrier to direct exposure. The warmest piece of gear I have is definitely that piece of Under Armor gear. Take a look at their Cold Gear, I don't know how much the product has changed in the 20ish years since I last bought it but I definitely swear by it.
 
#5
There's no such thing as bad weather - only the wrong clothes. Since it's 2020, mon frere, consider some of the many merino wool blend apparel pieces in layers to battle the cold. My high school coach instilled the concept that keeping the core warm was key to everything else being warm. The other edge of that sword is if you have too much on then you'll perspire more which can then leave you chilled. I'll often have the most layers on my torso, though my hands and feet can still require more for comfort. I go with merino socks (occasionally with a thin liner sock and sometimes even goretex shoes) most of the winter and some combo of a dual mitt system and liner gloves. Merino baselayer under nylon or polyester tops and pants should be light, warm, and breathable. For guys, a spare sock down the front of the shorts may be necessary, at least on the most bitterly cold and windy days. A buff/gaiter is a remarkably versatile and effective piece, easily coupled with a running hat.
 
#6
I bought several of UA's ColdGear turtleneck shirts a few years ago that I always wear when I run in the cold (I live in Tennessee, so it rarely gets super cold here, but when I go in the mornings in the winter, it can be in the teens or low 20s.)

I don't know if these are even available any longer, but they are the key to keeping myself warm because I find that if I keep my neck covered, it helps to keep my whole body warm. I wear one of these under a light sweatshirt to keep out the wind and I am usually good.

Beyond that, I just wear compression tights and a pair of shorts. I don't wear gloves because I heat up pretty quickly and then my hands get hot and I have to carry the gloves for the rest of my run, which I find annoying - I'd rather just deal with being cold for a bit when I first start out and then warm up as I settle in.
 
#7
I live in the Boston area and have completed a lot of runs and races in temperatures below 32°F. I've completed the annual 5-mile Turkey Trot the last several years and ran the Frosty 4-mile on January 1st the last few years. In fact, I’ve signed up to compete in a Virtual Half Marathon for this upcoming Thanksgiving via RaceWire.

As others have mentioned, dressing appropriately is key. The rule of thumb I use is to take the current temperature and add 20°F to calculate my running temperature. For some runners, it may be closer to 10°F. If it’s 15°F outside, I’m going to dress like it’s 35°F.

I have running jackets from Nike, The North Face, Soar, Sugoi and Tracksmith. They are light, but keep you warm without overheating. I have running tights, gloves and hats. If I use the example of 15°F outside, I will wear tights, a short-sleeve shirt as a base, a long-sleeve shirt, running jacket, gloves and a hat. If it’s windy, I may add another long-sleeve top.

Like anything, the key to running in the cold is to simply do it. I will usually be chilly in the initial 1 to 2 miles. I will ask myself, "What the hell are you doing?" However, I start to feel quite comfortable by the 3-mile point and enjoy the “air conditioning,” which is lacking during the summer months. In fact, like imnothammer, I hate running in the heat. I will usually take July and August off. However, with COVID, I decided to take the initiative to get use to running in the heat. I decided to do a lot of pre-sunrise runs or early morning runs to avoid the extreme heat. Now, with the colder weather coming, I will transition to afternoon runs.

I returned to running back in 2008. I would avoid the summer months and the winter months. When I started to brave the winter months, I had to learn how to dress appropriately and fight the burning lungs condition. But, as I increased the duration of my runs, the burning lungs effect went away. I usually will give myself a couple of weeks to reacquaint myself with the cold weather.

First and foremost, you just have to remember to be safe. Once snow and ice get into the picture, that’s when I will usually cease running outside. You need to exercise caution especially with respect to black ice. Fortunately, the last few winters have been “relatively” mild. I ran outside October through April. I think I finally stored my winter running gear in May.

I don’t know what specific running objectives you have established for yourself. But, in the last couple of years, I made it a goal to run a marathon. I need to run outside in the hot and cold weather if I want to achieve my goal. I also remind myself of the Olympic Trials this year in Atlanta when it was 40°F when they started the race. Although the fans were wearing heavy jackets, these elite runners just had shorts, singlets, a hat, and gloves. Most of them took off the hats and gloves by the mid-point. It may not have been readily evident at the start of the trials, but, that was actually ideal temperatures for these elite runners.

My recommendation is to take the initiative and give it a try. If you prefer running when it’s around 60°F, try running when it’s 50°F. After you feel comfortable doing multiple runs and dressing appropriately, then try running when it’s 40°F, etc. etc. You may surprise yourself. Good luck and be safe!

Regards,
Mark
 
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#8
I also remind myself of the Olympic Trials this year in Atlanta when it was 40°F when they started the race. Although the fans were wearing heaving jackets, these elite runners just had shorts, singlets, a hat, and gloves. Most of them took off the hats and gloves by the mid-point. If may not have been readily evident at the start of the trials, but, that was actually ideal temperatures for these elite runners.
Just to add to this point, I ran the Tokyo Marathon in 2019 when it was between 45 - 55 degrees and lightly raining. Standing around in the pre-race corral was brutal (SO glad I bought a cheap poncho from 7-11) but once I got running those conditions were absolutely perfect for me.
 
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