Why These 8 Items Are Vital for Running in Winter

When it comes to knowing what to wear for running in winter, there are a few items you always need—and I can tell you that from experience. Last year, during the colder months, I was training for a 10k in January and then a half marathon for March. This meant I was up early, sometimes even at 5:30 a.m., to get the requisite training in. It wasn't always enjoyable to get myself out of bed, especially when it was dark and cold outside, but once I had I was very pleased (read: smug) with myself. One of the key things about running in winter is that layers are a must. You'll probably warm up fairly quickly, but it's always better to have pieces to take off.

Here I've selected eight items I consider to be vital to put on before I set off running in the winter. Keep scrolling for my guide.

#1: A hat

While the myth that you lose 40% of heat through your head has been debunked, when the temperature drops really low, your ears will hurt when it's cold, not to mention it's a real shock to the system if you're running early in the morning. Go for an Adidas Cimaheat option, or opt for warmer fabrics like wool and cashmere to keep your head cosy. 

#2: A scarf

Running in the cold can make your lungs hurt when you're taking deep breaths. While it doesn't damage you, especially if you don't suffer from asthma, you might want to warm the air by breathing through a scarf. A snood style will stay in place while you run and will keep nice. Not only will they keep snug around your neck, they also can be pulled up around your face, too. 

#3: A long-sleeve top

When it gets really cold (between 0 and 10 degrees), you might want to layer a long sleeve top underneath your jumper or gilet. Nike, Adidas by Stella McCartney and Sweaty Betty does some of the best running gear, and it's all to do with the technology the brands incorporates in its pieces. They'll keep you dry, comfortable and most importantly–warm. 

#4: A gilet

Depending on the weather, you can add a gilet over your jumper or just wear it over your long-sleeve top. The decision rests on how long you run, and how cold you might be getting. A lightweight down option will keep you warm without making you feel too bulky and it's light to carry if you need to take it off mid run.

#5: Long leggings

Reflective trims are a useful feature along with quick-drying material. You can also opt for a mesh detail legging to add underneath shorts for extra warmth and breathability. The Climaheat Adidas leggings (below in blue) are my personal fave and what I like to call the ultimate running leggings. Not only do they help to trap heat, thanks to the stretchy fleece, but there are also ankle zips to help you feel cooler when you get too warm.

#6: Socks

Just because it's cold out doesn't mean horrendous blisters aren't possible. Try socks such as Balega or Runder as they're meant to help prevent blisters. They also keep moisture away from the skin but still warm.

#7: Trainers

For me, Asics have been the best running trainers I've ever owned. This is mainly because the in-store team analyses your feet and how you run before you purchase a pair. Plenty of other brands do this too—it's worth seeing which pair of trainers work with your gait but also ones that will grip the road when it's getting wet and icy.

#8: Hi-vis 

Now, I don't want to sound like a sensible school teacher, but with the colder months comes darker mornings and evenings. This means, especially if you're running near the roads, that you need to be seen. Get yourself some hi-vis gear to stay safe—you don't need to spend much.

Next up, 15 gym outfits that will make you want to work out. 

Opening Image: @darjabarannik

This piece was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.

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