Gear Up for Winter Running!

I may be taking a little break from running this month, but I know that many of you are not. It’s also that time of year when the temperatures are dropping and you might be thinking of heading to the treadmill instead of enjoying the outdoors.

While I think the treadmill can be a great training tool (like these treadmill workouts), I don’t want you to hibernate this winter! This time of year can be amazing for outdoor running (it’s my favorite), you just need to get the right gear. Layers are key – from head to toe!

1. Headlamp: This one’s indispensible for winter running in my opinion. There are going to be times that it’s dark (or sunrise/sunset) where extra light would be helpful. A headlamp is a running accessory I use year-round, but most often in the winter & spring.

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2. Headsweats Super Duty Supervisor: This one isn’t just for the winter, but visors are my preference when wearing a headlamp. This visor not only keeps the sun and headlamp out of your eyes, it’s extra absorbant to keep the sweat and rain out of your face. I’ve worn this visor in a downpour on long runs and on night runs. Headsweats is always my favorite visor brand. I keep saying I’m going to get the Better With Veggies logo on this one…still haven’t done it thought.

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3. 180s Exolite Ear Warmers: You lose a lot of heat from your head and ears, but there are choices. When it’s really cold, I want a hat. But during that “in-between” stage, these light 180s are perfect and keep my ears from hurting or sweating.


4. Beanie: When it’s colder out, a hat is needed to keep me super warm. That’s when I pull out a running beanie to really retain that heat! I look for my beanies to be a little longer to really cover my ears. It may not be the cutest fashion look, but it works!

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5.  Convertible Jacket: Temperatures always feel colder when you start, so it’s great to have an option to zip off those sleeves and cool off a bit. Or if you’re looking to save a few dollars, a convertible jacket is 2 for the price of one: a jacket and a vest! Yep, that’s why I got one. :)

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6.  Reflective Vest: I know not everyone runs in the dark, but if you do (like me) a reflective vest makes you more visible to cars and people during your workout. Even for running at dusk, make yourself visible!


7.  Run: Swiftly Tech 1/2 Zip: Long-sleeve technical shirts are my favorite – they keep you warm and dry. If you’ve ever run in a long sleeve shirt, you may have found that you still sweat and you you’re now wearing a long, heavy shirt. I don’t own this one, but it’s on my wish list. :)


6.  Asics Reflective Knit Gloves: I had these gloves a few years ago, originally recommended by a friend and fellow runner/triathlete. I lost them during a race and really need to get a new pair. Reflective gloves and warm!


7. Compression Tights: Okay, so the compression tights aren’t needed, but they make you feel oh-so-good. You may have noticed from my race reports that I am a compression believer, so the chance to wear a full-length, leg-hugging compression tight? Yes please! Add these to your Christmas list or save your pennies – these are my favorite. And I need to buy another pair myself after last year’s trail race fiasco.


8. Compression Socks: In the summer, I want as little fabric showing as possible above my shoes. In the winter? I don’t want any skin showing and a little extra fabric is helpful. Anytime of year, I’m a huge fan of Swiftwick socks paired with Zensah compression sleeves or compression socks (CEP or ProCompression).

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Which of these items do I wear for a given run? I always recommend the Runner’s World What To Wear tool. This is the tool I have used for years and is extremely helpful when getting ready for winter runs.


Disclaimer: I received the Headsweats visor mentioned above for an honest review, but all opinions listed are my own. 


Questions for you:

  • Any winter favorites to add to this list?
  • Are you a winter or summer runner?
  • What’s one running item you won’t run without?

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  1. says

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to read. With the time change and the temperatures dropping I have been getting nervous about not being able to run outside…I do NOT like the treadmill, and although I can do the indoor track, I would hate to completely give up on the mileage I can get when I run outside.

    I’m not sure how much to invest, but I think the headlamp looks like a perfect first step. Especially after some of the riskier evening runs I took, even without the time change…
    Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen recently posted…Mushroom Daikon Miso-tto [MMAZ]My Profile

  2. says

    I’m an in between runner. I really like 50-60 degrees. I tend to way overdress for winter too b/c I’m always cold except when I start running then I just burn up. I love capris for when it’s borderline on the temps then compression tights for cold. Definitely gloves and something to cover the ears. I find that a single layer compression shirt with a vest works really well.
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted…Running WeekendMy Profile

  3. Christie says

    So many great pieces highlighted here- thanks, Heather!

    The Lululemon half-zip is my absolute go to- I LOVE IT! I have one, but am definitely going to invest in more. One thing extra special about them that people may not know, the end of the sleeves have pieces that roll over your hands to keep them warm!
    Christie recently posted…Pregnancy Update: 31 WeeksMy Profile

  4. says

    Today was the first run of the season that I had to pull out the tights. 24 degrees is just too damn cold this early in the season. Although I’ll be thinking it’s warm in a couple of months!

    I’ve learned that trail running shoes are better in snowy, sloppy conditions (if it’s a short run). They keep your feet dry and you get more traction.
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…Banjees Wrist Wallet Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  5. says

    I tried running last winter, and made it to maybe mid January before giving up. Would have helped if I had some good gear! I do have some under armour leggings and a top that I love–but I can never keep my hands or feet warm! Probably should have invested in a head lamp too, I did a lot of running in the dark while dressed in my UA ninja-esque gear. Nothing like black spandex at night…
    Allie recently posted…Goal-tober: RevisitedMy Profile

  6. char eats greens says

    I’m such a treadmill runner in the winter (ie: total baby in the cold). I also live north and in a snowbelt region so that’s a deciding factor of where I run too 😉
    char eats greens recently posted…the beginning of nestingMy Profile

  7. says

    This is a great post! I love that you have pictures of you in the gear too – you live it! 😀 It’s cold here – second snow of the season today and temps are dropping lots this week. I’ve been for 2 snowy runs so far and yes, layering is key! I learned all about this as a Californian who relocated to Calgary 5 years ago. 😉 Happy running (and breaking from running)!
    Bonnie recently posted…On Setting GoalsMy Profile

  8. says

    Personally I prefer running in the winter and recently got into the habit of wearing waterproof shoe covers when it’s wet outside. They look a bit odd but greatly improve the lifetime of my running shoes.


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