While my family and my loved ones fully support me in my crazy running endeavors – I am often asked HOW I am able to run in the conditions I run in. I’ve always lived in the Midwest either in Michigan or Chicago – so I experience 4 seasons: bitter-death cold, less cold, kind of warm, and really hot and humid.
The two seasons that require the most preparation are: bitter death cold, and really hot and humid – aka summer and winter. Since it’s not summer I’m going to shift gears and focus only on winter running.
Running can absolutely be an expensive hobby, it doesn’t have to be, but it definitely can be. A lot of the things I mention are really clutch when you are running zero or sub zero temperatures – not just a “cold” (i.e. 20-30 degrees) day.
- A quality pair of gloves
- Mine are from Nike– I have three pairs because I love them so much, I have spent various amounts on them from $24 to $10 (at a Nike outlet). Saucony makes nice ones too.
- A wind blocking jacket
- I have collected a few over the years, and have a few different brands – and I like them all. I have one from Nike, that has water/wind resistant outer shell, and is lined with a fleece-like material. I have two others from Saucony, one is just an outer shell there is no lining for extra warming, and I have another one (my Chicago marathon jacket from 2015- that is lined similarly to my nike one, and has a few strips of “breathable” mesh built into the arms for breathability in the cold.
- A neck warmer
- My neck warmer has been huge this winter, mine from Buff these are really nice- the link above is the one I have, and you can wear it as a headband, neck warmer, and pull it up over your nose as well
- 1-2 QUALITY pairs of tights (preferably two so you can layer)
- Remember cotton is rotten – generic cotton-y work out pants might cut it ok in “kind of cold” temps – they will not cut it in below freezing temps
- I admit I am a Nike loyalist- their tights fit me well, and they work out for me, I do however like the Victorias Secret Tights, and Saucony- this is a matter of fit and preference but make sure you like how they fit, and if you’re going to layer them that you have one pair that is little looser
- 1-2 pairs of wool socks
- I personally like Features Merino wool socks
- Either a head band or cap you are comfortable in, or a cap
- I have a Brooks headband I wear a lot, and a wool hat from a race I use too. You don’t need to be pick here – you just need to make sure you’ll be comfortable and your head will be covered
- Vasoline or Coconut Oil
- for the few patches of your skin that are exposed on windy days, and/or very very cold (10 degrees or less) day. I used Coconut oil last weekend on Saturday and Sunday because I didn’t have any Vasoline- and it worked fine.
- A decent pair of polarized sunglasses
- I spent $50 on mine, and I don’t regret a cent- these pay for themselves if you wear them year round at that price point. I purchased mine at Playmakers – my local running store, and love that they are polarized, but also love that they are wider- so they keep the cold out – therefore my eyes aren’t constantly watering
- 1-2 really good base layers
- I like Under Armour Heat Gear, and Nike Pro pieces.
If you know how you’re sized you can really good deals on a lot of this stuff on amazon. For more ways to save some $$ check out factory outlets of your favorite stores, I hit up the Nike outlet on occasion to see what I can snag.
And shop off season – I buy cold weather running pieces in the summer when they are really trying to get rid of it, and vise versa.
Check with your local running store if they do any loyalty programs- when I lived in Chicago my Fleet Feet store did “points” and they were redeemable to put towards future purchases, if you buy shoes in the summer you know you’ll have some dollars to put towards a jacket or tights in the fall.
Remember a good way to spend more money is to buy gear right when it’s released – gear will always be around, and ultimately go on sale.
As I said before these are, in my opinion some of the most important pieces in my arsenal for running in VERY cold weather. Remember I did accumulate these pieces over the course of 3-4 years, so if you’re newer to running or running in the cold going out and getting half of these pieces could be a pretty pricey endeavor!
Remember to run safe in the cold!
**Quick note- remember all opinions are my own, all products discussed were purchased by yours truly!