August 2011: Stockholm Midnattsloppet, a 10k race through the nighttime streets of Stockholm. This is us working to get there.
A friend of mine is starting the Couch to 5k program, and asked me what I wear for cold weather running. I started running in the summer in Montreal, and continued through the fall and early winter in California, so until recently hadn’t given much thought to cold weather running gear. When I went for a few runs in British Columbia while visiting family, I quickly realized I’d have to pick up some new clothes.
Currently, I wear long fitted running tights for the bottoms. I bought Nike’s “Elements Windless Running Tights,” as they’re so magniloquently named. More to the point, they were on sale and fleece-lined, and quite comfortable. They have a bit of extra lining on the thighs, which I think helped keep me from getting too cold.
For the top, it’s a long sleeved running shirt, plus a shell overtop. I wear my cycling windbreaker from Mountain Equipment Co-op, since I used to be equipped for all-weather cycling in Vancouver and it’s what I happen to have. It has elastics to loop over your thumbs, which is nice for preventing the sleeves from riding up.
Add a toque and some magic gloves, and I’m set. I haven’t gone out in anything below freezing, but today’s run at +5C was perfectly comfortable. By the end of it, I had to take my gloves off because I was too warm.
How many clothes you need to wear in cold weather probably is a personal thing, depending on your fitness and the amount of body fat you have. I find I’m usually warm, but I’m probably carting about an extra 20lbs of insulation, as well as falling somewhat short of the pinnacle of athletic talent. Still, my general finding seems to be that as long as most of my skin is covered by something to break the cold wind, I’m quite comfortable.
Over +12-15C, I just wear my regular gear - shorts and a t-shirt. More than that and I’m too warm.