We talked on the podcast last week about how we layer for winter training—our top cold weather running and cold weather cycling clothes—and I wanted to do a deeper dive into a few of the pieces that I’ve been really enjoying this season. Some of them are tried-and-true and have been part of my collection for years at this point, while others are a bit newer to my collection. But they’re the things I’ve been reaching for the last 6 weeks as temps hovered between 22 and 35° F for most runs. So, let’s dig in!
Note: This isn’t my “holy $hit” run gear for running in proper snow/way-below-freezing conditions. This is my “hovering right around freezing” run clothing! I’ll do one for the deep winter gear soon.
- 32-40° F: regular cap (like this one from Janji!)
- 22-32° F: merino wool beanie, plus a buff around my neck if it’s under 25°, but if I can skip it, I do.
I generally do a long sleeve top with a vest or, if the weather is questionable, a raincoat (see below in accessories). But if it’s really chilly—in that 22-25° category—I’ve actually shifted to a jacket with a sleeveless layer underneath (weird, I know, but bear with me).
- 32-40° F: Velocio LS Merino Top
- 25-32° F: Oiselle Flow long sleeve top + Velocio RECON Vest
- 22-25° F: Janji longline sports bra + Gore Tempest Jacket—the jacket is lined with a really sweat absorbent almost towel-like fabric, so wearing a long-sleeve with it would be serious overkill in all but the chilliest conditions. I was so surprised about how comfy it was for running, despite being designed for cycling. And the pockets are great! At first, I was torn between the high-vis option and the black (for obvious reasons), but I ended up getting high-vis since right now, I do need to do some training at odd hours, and visibility is important.
Honestly, I know they’re meant for yoga, but lululemon’s Align tights are my ultimate favorites for running in anything between 22 and 50° F. Lower, and I’ll shift to fleece-lined tights, above and I’m back in shorts, but seriously, they’re simple, comfy and stay in place. And unlike some lulu running tights that I find to be entirely too compressive in the waist even when wearing the right size, these legit feel like you’re wearing nothing. And that’s how I want my tights to feel! (Note: If you’re on a tight budget, I have found that these leggings from Amazon are *almost* as good!)
I also will note that I do opt for Icebreaker merino wool briefs for run underwear, because they’re merino wool and sweat-wicking. Not a necessity, but if you only have lace/cotton underwear options and don’t like to go commando in your tights, these are a pricey-but-way-worth-it purchase.
- Nike Trail Pegasus/Terra Kiger: I’ve been using these shoes for the last three years and really love them. I won’t change them for the seasons—I just alternate between what’s dry. Pegasus are my go-to for longer runs, while Kigers are for shorter, harder efforts generally though.
- That said… if it’s super slushy out and I don’t have a hard or long workout to do, just an easy run, in which case I’ll swap them for the Hoka Speedgoats with Gore-Tex to keep my feet dry.
- Sock-wise, I actually don’t stress about socks until we’re well into sub-freezing temps. I use CEP ankle-high compression socks, which I find are thick enough to handle cold weather, but they’re nothing fancy. (I‘m adding a pair of their Merino version of my favorite socks to my shopping list, though, since I think they’ll be better for cold, wet days)
- 32-40° F: Lightweight gloves — I love just cheapo ‘marathon gloves’ from the Dollar Store (just those plain black knit ones) for these temps, to be totally honest, especially since often, I’ll take them off and shove them in a pack anyway, once I get warmed up.
- 22-32° F: WhitePaws Run Mitts: A friend got these for me a few years ago, and I thought they were goofy AF…. until I used them. These mitts are fleece and don’t have a separate thumb or fingers, they just have a paw, basically. But they have a cover that you can flip off to reveal your whole hand, making them ridiculously useful for quickly using your phone on the run, or just pulling off and just tucking under themselves as cuffs when it gets warm during intervals. They’re super simple, but incredibly useful, and I’ve been loving them for years now!
- Osprey Dynapack: Any run over 45 minutes, I’m bringing my hydration pack to a) train my gut for my 100-miler, but also b) because I know if I hold my phone while running, my hands get much colder. (I’ve done a full review of it here, FYI!) And because temps change during runs in the AM, the pack is great for stuffing gloves/hats/buffs away, plus it can hold…
- C7 Women GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY™ Jacket: Actually, this is slightly different than the 5-year-old version that I have, but it’s almost the same. This is THE MOST PACKABLE jacket. I just ran a full trail marathon in it yesterday as a windbreaker, but it’s also the most waterproof raincoat I own, and it smushes up and fits great in my pack. It goes everywhere with me, period. It’s pricey, but worth it.
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