7 Tips for Running Outside in Winter

Layer Up

Layers help keep the heat in and the air circulating. Moisture wicking fabric helps keeps clothes from becoming saturated. Wool is also another good option. Make sure that if it's subzero, all exposed skin is covered.  It's also a good idea to wear jackets and pants that have venting, particularly on long runs.  When it's 15 degrees or colder out, I layer a pair of light weight (unpadded) biker shorts under my thermal tights; this really helps to keep the glutes warm.

More: How to Layer This Winter

Put it all Together

I temperature rate all my winter running clothes. That way I know what to wear based on what the temperature is outside. Always read the temperature by the wind chill factor (not the actual temperature).

You will start out feeling cold, but you'll warm up in 5 to 15 minutes. Remember that your individual thermostat is unique, so make adjustments as necessary. When the temperatures drops below 20 degrees, consider wearing three layers—a bottom layer to wick away moisture; a middle layer to retain the heat; and the outer layer to block the wind. Venting is important, especially when running in extreme cold or wind.

Temp (F)

Upper Body

Lower Body


30 to 40

Long sleeve moisture wicking shirt; possibly a midweight shirt

Running tights or crops

Hat/headband, light weight gloves/mittens

15 to 30

Midweight moisture wicking shirt, tank or short sleeve base layer under a light jacket

Running tights or midweight tights

Hat/headband, gloves/mittens

5 to 15

Tank top or short sleeve shirt under a midweight shirt or med weight jacket

mid weight tights, tights under wind pants, possibly shorts underneath

Hat, balaclava, mid weight mittens, neck tube

-10 to 5

Tank top or short sleeve shirt under long sleeve shirt (base layer) and a wind resistant jacket with venting; minimum of three layers

Biker shorts or tights under heavy tights or wind pants (may need 3 layers); hand warmer in mittens

Hat and balaclava/headband, heavy weight gloves/mittens, neck tube, face mask  Gortex shoes, goggles

More: Clothes for Cold-Weather Workouts

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