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running in the cold weather.

I got motivated from seeing the couch to 5K thread and I'd love to start running outside. Is it ok to run with a hat? Any other cold weather recommendations?

Mon. Nov 28, 10:30am

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Depends on where you're at and how cold you expect it to get. I'm from South Dakota origianlly, and the worst thing was the snow-packed, icy roads not the sub zero temps. Once you get moving and warmed up you may find your biggest problem is too many clothes. I like light gloves, and many layers. A light silky undershirt that wicks moisture away, a light fleece shirt that helps keep you snuggly and a water-resistant, tight-woven shell should suffice in most climates.

You might find that you get overheated in a hat. A fleece headband that covers your ears and forhead is a good alternative if you find that to be the case. Personally I can wear very little in the way of overclothes as long as I have a scarf - each person is a bit different, but you should have plenty of opportunity to find what works well for you :-) I might wear slightly heavier pants, but I don't really worry about keeping the legs warm like I do the upper body. Of course good shoes and socks are a must, and I have seen these elastic webs with metal coils that you can slip over your shoes for running in icy conditions that look really promising - I think that was in the Plow & Hearth catalog.

Monday, November 28, 2005, 10:49 AM

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It's definitely ok to run in a hat! You'll just have to figure out what works for you. Make sure to wear layers so you can take things off as you warm up. Do be careful on ice or in snow. Deep snow is a great workout - like running on a beach, but thin snow conceals ankle-twisters awfully well. I also like to run two or three short loops from my house when I'm trying new clothing (especially shoes!). That way, I can swing inside and make adjustments if it's really driving me crazy.

I'm from Seattle, and for me, running in a hat is perfect - I often run in shorts, a long sleeved (not cotton!) shirt, and a close-fitting fleece hat, and I'm good to 40F or so. Below that, I put on some long pants, and that's basically all I need. It never gets much below freezing, although I do wear an outer wind layer on top when it's windy. But I find a hat is essential when it's cold and raining.

I also have this thing we call a's like a hat for your neck...I never run in it, but it's fleece, and it seems like it might be easier for running than a scarf - it's just a single circle of cloth, big enough to be pulled over your head, and maybe 8" wide, so it covers your whole neck well. I think it came from LLBean maybe.

Monday, November 28, 2005, 11:26 AM

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Just be aware that you will probably be slow in the cold. When I first started running outside in winter, I got really discouraged because I was SO much slower than running in the fall. This isn't a reason to stop - just don't let yourself be discouraged by a run that normally takes 30 minutes suddenly taking 40.

Monday, November 28, 2005, 11:30 AM

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Good point. When I run outside I am usually slower. Also, I wear one of those headbands. Works well and I also use capeline. Proper gear goes a long way. I always suggest patagonia. The stuff lasts and lasts.

Monday, November 28, 2005, 11:46 AM

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Running in the cold

I'm generally agreeing with the comments I see about running in the cold. I cycle as well as run in fairly cold weather, so I've had to become fairly adept at figuring how many layers to use for every 10 degree temperature drop below about 60 degrees.

For me, anyway, wind chill becomes a factor in comfort once the temperature starts heading south. I find that keeping my face, neck and upper chest warm are my major priorities, particularly in windy conditions. The two pieces of special clothing I use for this are a balaclava helmet and a neck gaiter.

These are available from campmor ( and from Bike Nashbar (, though any distributor of cold weather athletic gear may have them as well. I have entered Nashbar's URL in the link below.



Monday, November 28, 2005, 12:57 PM

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