My Favorite Cold-Weather Running Gear


It sucks to run when it's hot out, but sometimes I almost prefer sweat dripping off my eyebrows to the painful tingling of frostbitten fingers. When the temperature drops, it's hard to muster the energy to get all bundled up to hit the pavement when your fuzzy socks and sweatpants are calling your name. Especially if you don't have the right clothes to keep you warm.

Since I live in Oklahoma now (I've been here 5 years, and it's still weird to say that), I can't really claim to have the freezing weather of the northern states or my Canadian friends, but the half marathon I ran in Tulsa at the end of November was 20 degrees, which is pretty dang cold no matter where you live.

As we're all (or a lot of us, anyway) in the throes of winter, I thought it would be a good time to share my favorite cold-weather running gear, the majority of which you can see in the above picture, which (sidenote) is the first and probably only official marathon picture I've ever bought! This is just as I crossed the finish line of half marathon #7 and got a 4-minute PR! I'm still not quite sure it was worth the ridiculous scam of a price tag, but I guess those photographers have to make their money somehow. I like to think I'm keeping it local.

Anyway, back to the real purpose of this post: 
What I wore to run in 20-degree weather

As I always do when I'm racing, I wore my favorite pair of running socks. Not only do I not get blisters wearing these socks (even during my marathon!), but the double layer keeps my toes warm. Or, at least as warm as they can be in twenty degrees. Which is to say, not all that warm. But really these are just freaking great socks.

*this is not me, in case you were wondering
Admittedly, I don't have much experience with leggings. My only pair before this was a pair of yoga leggings from Hollister that I got for Christmas a few years ago, because apparently Hollister is still a thing? I don't know. I was always too scared to go in there what with the darkness and the cute preppy boys and the overwhelming wave of spicy cologne.

Anyhoo, I finally decided that maybe I should by myself an actual pair of leggings specifically for running from a store that isn't managed by high schoolers. Enter: Old Navy active wear. These leggings are actually quite warm and fit really well! I love that they're tight on my legs. I'm not a loose-fitting running legging sort of girl. (I wear a size medium in these, just for reference.)

I do not. Repeat DO NOT like spending money on running clothes. I love Under Armor, but that crap is expensive, and I don't make a habit of purchasing such things for myself. However, I had a gift card to Dick's from my birthday and was on a mission to find a good long-sleeved running shirt.


So worth the price tag, in my opinion. It's got the thumb holes in the sleeves, which I love, and it's warm and fleecy feeling on the inside. The half zip was a requirement, since I hate wearing anything with a hood while running. I can't stand all the bouncing. I've actually worn this a few times just as a regular shirt, and it's awesome. (I wear a size medium in this because I want to have room for my sports bra and also a shirt underneath if I so choose.)

Nike Thermal Tech Gloves ($25--similar)
These gloves are the best! They are comfortable, warm, and easy to take on and off if I get too hot while I'm running. There's also a handy key pouch built into the palm of the glove, which would be a brilliant idea for anyone who's not me and doesn't have a car key the size of a giant.

Under Armor Headband ($20-- similar)

I couldn't find my exact headband online (and actually [full disclosure] at the moment I can't find my headband in my apartment, so that's cool), but this is pretty close. My headband definitely helps keep my ears warm, and I personally like headbands like this when I don't want to wear a full-on hat or visor. And I really do love the Under Armor brand; I just wish it weren't so expensive.
* * *

So that's what I wore! Not to say I wasn't still freezing, but once I got going it wasn't so bad. The Running Powers That Be recommend dressing for running as though it's 10-15 degrees warmer outside than it actually is. After the first 10 minutes, your body will heat up, which is why if you've ever gone to a race you see piles of clothes that runners have shed during the first few miles. Of course, if you're wearing a $55 shirt, you probably aren't going to be throwing that out.

If YOU have any cold-weather running favorites, please leave a comment! 
If there's something better I should be wearing, I want to know about it.

Rachel Sedaker said...

Good to know about the socks! Because of my Raynaud's, I actually have to dress as though it is 10 degrees colder, and I still always end up with icicles for fingers and toes. I saw some nice running gloves at Costco that are lined with fleece and have touch capabilities so you can still use your phone or iPod. I really tried hinting to my mom that they'd be a great Christmas present (and they were not spendy at all- somewhere around $12 I think). I got my fleece-lined compression tights on sale at Target, and I love them! The waistband isn't quite tight enough (but the legs sure are), but it's cool. I also wear a headband! But I can never figure out which way to wear it- wear does the narrow part go? I also wear leg warmers (because of Raynaud's), and a fleece tunic I got on sale at Target. Target's workout clothes really are not bad for the amateur runner.

Shaylynn... a girl, a story, a blog said...

I love coming here when you mention running because I'm seriously so not even anywhere near being able to relate to it, but I always think... "maybe one day.." which is the funniest part.

Aleshea said...

I'm running a 5k with my family Jan 1st. This list will com in handy

Anonymous said...

Now I want that headband, those gloves, and those leggings. And I don't run often enough to really justify them as running expenses. But I'll be ready, should I WANT to run. Right?

Also, that picture shows a rockstar. Totally worth whatever you had to pay for it.


Kate said...

I hate how much Under Armour is, but it's. just. so. warm! I also found some Nike shirts that I really liked, but they aren't much cheaper ( I have the Under Armour leggings. They're super warm, but I DON'T love how low cut they are. (Of course, they could have something to do with the size of my hiney.)

l've found the BEST way to get gear is to always buy it at the end of the season. I got two of those Nike shirts for less than the price of one when I found them as Academy started brining in their spring gear. Sure, I didn't get to wear it for monnnnnnths, but it was SO worth the pay cut. I hit those clearance racks like a BOSS.

Anonymous said...

If you have Raynaud's, you may not like the Costco gloves. I have them, and they're great, as long as it's warmer than 30. They keep your fingers warm for a bit, but after a while, the material gets really cold. Having your fingers separated with the cold material makes them really cold!

I'm also a huge fan of the Champion fleece lined tights. The Pro Compression ones fit really weird int he waist and always slowly slip down my hips. I like the plain Champion ones with the zipper pockets so much better. :)

Ali said...

I love LOVE love my Under Armour Coldgear tights! They have a fleece lining, and are long enough to actually cover my ankles. They're not low cut on me at all though. Also, Smartwool socks. I use the "outdoor" variety versus the "run" for winter because they're thicker. So worth the money. I recently wrote a blog post about winter running gear as well!

Magical Daydream said...

Maybe this is the answer. I hate running in the cold, but then again, I don't really have proper clothing for it (just some old jogging pants).

Amber Marie said...

The first compression anything I purchased are those exact same leggings from Old Navy. I love them, too. They fit so well! Admittedly, I do have to cuff the bottoms because I'm so freaking short, but since they are tight fitting it doesn't look or feel stupid and they are nice to layer under another another pair of pants if you need to.

Kerry @ Till Then Smile Often said...

This is seriously cold weather to be running in that long. I will have to try the socks since I tend to get blisters at the 5-6 mile mark. Thanks for all the good recommendations.

Rachel Sedaker said...

Thank you for the tip!

17 Perth said...

I love your picks and I am so glad you posted. I actually have never tried old navy's active line--but will now! Also--I have a pair of brooks gloves that I love. They are mittens that open into gloves that end at the knuckle. Does that even make sense? Lol. Anyways--they work great for keeping warm, but allow for use of your fingertips if you need them!

So excited to try your picks!

Also--I love asics pants!!

Jamie said...

I got those Nike key gloves for Christmas before we moved to Taiwan... now they are in a bin at my Mom's house with most of my COLD cold weather gear. here my issue is rain. most of my gear is Nike [I like to think of it as loyalty, not an addiction] and their legend pants are pricey but kept me warn down into the 20s. I could never find any solid tanks for layering I liked from Nike though, so bought a bunch of Gap fit breathe tanks this summer and they've been perfect. fleece headband is also clutch!

Sarah said...

I LOVE those ON pants. I find myself wearing them even when I'm not running because I like how tight they are! I am intrigued by that Under Armour shirt, that thing looks fabulous.