Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What I wore: Winter running

I woke up this morning to discover two things: Barack Obama is still our president and it was 36 degrees outside.

And while I have nothing to say (good or bad) about one of those facts, the other was a pleasant surprise for me. Thirty-six degrees meant that I could go for a run.

While I will run until its 9 degrees out, I decided that there is no running with Miles in the BOB if it is less than 30 degrees or until we get the weather shield for the stroller. He has seemed to be comfortable in the 40-degree range, his skin still warm and no audible complaints, that the new range seemed doable.

Initially, I was uncertain whether I'd run today or tomorrow but after seeing the temperature (and hearing some familiar fussing), I knew it was game on. I threw on some possibly stinky tights that I had in the living room and headed upstairs to finish dressing as Miles and Mark ate breakfast. I opened up my dresser drawer that holds my running tops. And stared. And stared. And stared.

I had no idea what to wear. At all.

I don't seem to have any difficulty dressing for very cold weather or when the mercury hits 55 but when the air is in that in between stage, I feel like a teenager getting dressed for high school. Or what I think a teenager getting dressed feels like - I had to wear a uniform. A long-sleeve shirt plus half-zip might be OK or it could be too hot. Just a long-sleeve shirt isn't enough and it's chafe-city to just wear the half-zip. There's the ever cute long-sleeve + short-sleeve combo but it's hit-or-miss warmth wise.

After what felt like a half-hour, I decided on an outfit - one that seemed to work out quite well for a sunrise, 36-degree run.

I started with a long-sleeve compression shirt (C9 from Target) and topped it with a highly visible race shirt. To keep me warm during the start of the run, I added wool arm warmers (Smart Wool brand, race swag) and a pair of cheap-o gloves. It's questionable whether it's tights weather but I wore mine (Pearl Izumi) and think it was the right choice. I also wore a fleece hat.

The outfit was warm enough at the beginning and I ended up rolling down the warmers after two miles. Had it not been so windy and a bit sunnier, I'm certain the gloves would have come off. Literally, of course.

Miles is a bit easier to dress when it comes to a winter run. I just layer, layer, layer.

This morning, we started out with rocket ship pajamas (Carters, Target). I then put on a long-sleeve shirt, corduroy pants and socks. His new favorite - light-up Spider-Man boots - are also part of his running uniform. They are fleece-lined, giving his feet a bit of warmth (when he doesn't kick them off) and the waterproof outer material shields the wind. Before we head out the door, he gets a coat, gloves and a blanket. I'd love to say he gets a hat but the shark number from Children's Place was left to flounder on the side of the trail earlier this fall, and I learned that hoods are the best bet.

All the preparation in the world, though, couldn't save my run this morning. My legs were lead, the stroller felt like it was moving through quick sand and I couldn't even muster the energy to run 0.12 mile more to hit a nice even 4. But 3.88 is better than none, especially since we looked so good doing it.


What's your go-to winter running outfit.


  1. In the 30s, I'm still in capris. Capris, long sleeved tech tee and a fleece vest. And gloves.

    I don't bust out the pants until the 20s. But I'm a weirdo and warmer than most :)

  2. I always get so hot running... I'll be in knee length capris and a short sleeve shirt until it's in the teens and 20s! I'm a big fan of arm warmers though, mainly because I can peel them down once I get warm enough.

  3. I have been running in a skirt or capris with a long sleeve tech shirt and my fleece vest from Veterans last year. It works well for me. If its below 40 and windy I will add gloves!

  4. So I'm kind of obsessive about my run log, and in addition to time, distance and route, I also note temperature and, if not obvious (i.e. not shorts weather), what I wore. At this time of year, I can look back at last November and see "Ah! Last time it was 35 and windy I wore X!"

    I know that I run HOT. I run in shorts down to 35, as long as there's little wind. I've gone out on sub-20 days and been in a single long sleeve layer within the first mile. So for me, it's always an exercise in trusting the thermometer, and knowing I'll warm up by the end of the first mile.

    So I use lots of "small pieces" to layer -- wool sleeves, gloves, a wool Buff that can act as hat, ear warmer, or neck gaiter. I peel them off one at a time, put back on as needed, and it works pretty well for me.

  5. On a related note, funny story from yesterday: I thought it would be really neat to run to my polling place, vote, and run home again. It was 40 and breezy, so shorts, T-shirt, and sleeves. I ran 2 lovely miles, feeling very democratic... and stopped short as I saw the 45 min line to vote, outside. Well, I came to vote, and I was going to vote. While everyone else in line wore coats, hats, sipped coffee, some people wrapped in blankets, I stood there in my shorts and T-shirt, doing lunges and squats to keep warm. And I did! (Or at least didn't freeze.) Technical merino T-shirt wins again! Got some weird looks, though. Cast my vote and ran home. Mission accomplished!

  6. 36 degrees is perfection for me! Knock lots of wood there's been no chafing in a half zip either. IT was 34 here and I broke out my tights as well, although probably didn't need to. I wore a half zip that had a nice sueded interior and was kind of wind-resistant on the outside. Loved it!

  7. I always am chilly while running so I break out the long tights and long sleeved shirts at 50 degrees. Brrrrr...I love running in heavy winter tights. So comfy and keeps you cozy warm.