Brrr… Tweaks to freeze a little less while running in the winter

by lachicaruns on

Around this time last year, I wrote about a run so cold that I was still shivering hours later. I’m glad to report that, thanks in large part to your suggestions, I’ve made progress in the dressing-for-winter-running department and will share my lessons learned. But, first, an acknowledgement that I’m still not quite there yet.

Take yesterday’s run. It was 12 degrees when we set off a little before 8 a.m., technically allowing me to follow my rule of no running in single-digit temperatures.

I wore:

I was cold — but not ridiculously so — and warmed up enough to make the 1.5 mile run bearable. And then we stopped for about 15 minutes to catch up with more friends.

This was my biggest mistake . Being warm enough to run in the cold means lots of layers, which means some sweating. Stopping allowed my now-wet clothes to make me feel even colder. Next time, I’ll keep running and loop around to meet up with friends instead of stopping to wait.

After the stop, I just couldn’t quite get warm again. My head, hands, legs and core were cold, but my feet were so cold, they felt like they would shatter when I stopped running. After a little over three more miles, I called it quits. At just-under 5 miles, I was happy that I’d gotten out in the first place, but am not currently following a training plan, so didn’t have a goal distance for the day anyway.

Thankfully, I had listened to advice from several of you who suggested I drink a hot beverage and change into dry clothes to help me warm up immediately after my run.

And, also thankfully, my good friend Sue gifted me an awesome insulated Contigo bottle that kept some hot chocolate I stashed in my car super hot. Just in case, I’d also wrapped the bottle in a down jacket, which I threw on top of all of my wet layers.

With that and my toasty car butt warmers, I wasn’t nearly as chilled as usual by the time I got home and jumped into a very hot shower and wrapped myself in a blanket to watch Star Wars A New Hope with the familia.

While I still don’t enjoy winter running, I am getting better at being slightly less miserable and hope you can adopt some of these tips yourselves. In the meantime, I’ll be the one researching ways to keep your toes warm.

What are your favorite cold-weather-running tips and gear? What can a chica do to protect her toes? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)

Written by: lachicaruns

My name is Gisgie. It's pronounced geese (like the birds) and gee (like the letter). Now that we've met, I'm glad you're here. I'm an injury-prone runner who manages to find reasons to keep coming back to the road despite ongoing challenges. Most recently, I've struggled with piriformis syndrome. I'm currently winning. Most days.


Shannon @GirlsGotSole

Wow, I’m so lucky here in Florida that we don’t deal with single digits! Heck, I’m cringing about the potential weather forecast of 34 for my half this coming Saturday. I’ve run in temps in the 30s before, but always get nasty windburn on my face. Any recs for lessening that during a cold run?


If it’s super cold, I wear a Buff around my face. That seems to help because it’s thin so I can still breathe. I have heard some folks use Vaseline (like Michelle M.) but I’ve never tried it. Hope you’re still enjoying milder weather than we are up here!

Michelle M.

I live and die by my Smartwool. I wear a base layer top with a shirt over and a wind resistant jacket. I wear my Smartwool gloves and then one of my many beanies. For any exposed skin, I make sure I use plenty of Vaseline! It looks crazy before you start, but you sure do appreciate it while out there!


I love my SmartWool and plan to look for some deals after this winter to add to my stash. I am eyeballing some of the really nice jackets like the one you described.


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