Be Fit: Running through the Winter

Temperature Range: Below 10 °F

First of all, let’s get something clear: You’re going to be cold if you run below 10 °F. With that being said, there are a few things you can wear to ensure that you make it through your run without deciding to quit the sport altogether.

First of all, it is always better to layer more than you think you should. If you truly need to shed some layers, you will be able to tie it around your body or carry it without dramatically affecting your run. Let’s be honest, if you’re trying to break a PR when you’re running in 0 °F, you should reconsider your mindset.

We always begin with a tight, high-quality base layer. We generally run with ColdGear from Under Armour, which is more expensive but worth the price if you just buy one quality piece for top and bottom. A turtle-neck long sleeve top and base layer sweatpants work best.

Socks are often neglected when looking at the entire running outfit in cold weather. You do not want to be caught in freezing weather with thin socks. Your feet will go numb, and your stride will be affected. This can lead to injuries and possibly affect your cadence. We recommend socks that are thick enough to keep your feet warm, but not so thick that they defeat the purpose of your running shoes. You should experiment with different thickness levels, but we have found that going a bit thicker than you feel comfortable with is worth the initial awkward feeling when running in below 10 °F.

Gloves will make or break your run. Do not attempt to run a major distance in cold weather without a trial run for your gloves, or you might have a miserable experience. We recommend using gloves that allow you to clench your fists while you run, since the penetrating cold of below 10 °F weather can beat even the highest quality gloves.

The second layer of our outfit focuses on the upper body. We throw a down jacket on top of the base layer, and that usually does the trick. However, if you find that you overheat easily, it would be wise to have a third layer between your down jacket and your base layer. If you run hot in your upper body, you might even get warm enough to have just a long-sleeved shirt on top of your base layer. Again, this varies with each person. Try out different layers and you will figure out your best option!

We have found that there is no need for any bottom layering beyond base layer sweatpants. However, if your legs tend to run colder and need more layering, just another layer of sweatpants will do the trick. Additionally, some thicker briefs/underwear can make the world of a difference.

Before you just grab any beanie and throw it on, remember that you lose a majority of your body heat through your head! A nice beanie costs $20-$25 and can make your run much more bearable.

If you’re running on snow or ice, we recommend investing in a pair of traction cleats, they are easy to strap onto the bottom of any shoe and can save you from slipping and falling your entire way to the finish line. For some of us, we learned that the hard way…don’t bruise your butt figuring this out, just trust our experience and get some before you try to run on snow. Just head to your local running store and ask for their help getting fitted appropriately. They will get you set up with exactly what works best in your particular weather environment.

Note: If wind chill is a major factor in your area, invest in a balaclava. This will protect your face and neck from the bite of that wind, and help avoid a very painful burn from the wind and cold.

Needless to say, nothing can keep you completely safe when it gets down dangerously cold. Here in Butte, it can get down to -40 °F in the blink of an eye. THAT IS NOT RUNNING WEATHER. Do not attempt to run in weather that is drastically colder than anything you have tried before. Start small, and eventually you will learn your limits. We tend to draw the line at 0 °F. When in doubt…just choose the treadmill. It’s really not that bad.

Keep an eye out for the next level of layering tips as we continue to train for the Governor’s Cup 2019! Remember to check our discounts to save 10% on this amazing race in the heart of Big Sky Country. Come run with us!

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