Hobby-runner´s guide to winter running gear

On Instagram, I recently noticed a comment saying that January is the only month of the year when it is safe to run in the park in the dark. I guess you know why, right? A lot of people want to lose weight after the Christmas holidays, and as part of their New Year’s resolutions, they are going to start moving. And if they don´t want to pay expensive fitness passes, they choose running since it is still one of the cheapest sports (though many would argue about it). So some trails change almost overnight into running highways.

I also run in winter. But I cannot say that I enjoy it. I do it because running is my sanity-saver. In winter, I run around once a week. I’m just the type of runner (ahem – hobby runner 🙂 ) who likes to run when it’s warmer outside. And when I say warmer, I mean 25 degrees and more (I still say I was born in wrong latitudes :D).

So what to wear to make winter running less miserable for a summer runner like me? Before I started running in winter, of course, I read a lot of articles on how to dress, so I will not bother yo the with the theoretical enumeration of the three layers needed etc. but I will write down what has proven to me for different temperatures.

Running at 15 – 10°C

For this temperatures, I wear a short-sleeved tech T-shirt and, a thin jacket and capri tights. When it’s cloudy/windy/drizzling I prefer long tights.

Running at 0 – 10°C

This is the temperatures I start dressing in layers. As a base layer, I wear a tech tee and a warm sweatshirt. Until I didn´t have a warm sweatshirt (I bought it in Decathlon and I can swear by it!), I put on a long-sleeved thermal shirt. And a light zippered jacket. At this temperatures, I opt for warm tights. I just love being in warm 🙂 And I’m pulling an ear-covering headband on my head.

Running below freezing

A lot of people recommend against running when it´s freezing for health reasons. Last year I ran at -9 degrees. And it was (despite my summer personality) one of the nicest runs. I could breathe easily, the snow was crushing under my feet, the sun was shining … just perfect. But you can see from the photo below that I was dressed properly.

Instead of a light jacket, I wore a softshell jacket, and under it, of course, a thermal shirt and a thin sweatshirt. An important part of my winter gear is a headband, a buffer (that can be pulled over the nose) and, of course, a pair of gloves. I really like the ones we got as a gift at the Grand Prix von Bern (they are touchscreen gloves so you don´t have to take them off when you want to make a nice selfie when running :D).

That you cannot see from the picture above is a running skirt. I bought last year to run in the winter without freezing my butt off. Actually, its main purpose isn´t running – according to the local grocery chain is intended for winter hiking. But I wanted to try how I can run in it and then I would decide if I would opt for some more “pro” version (of course more expensive).

Running in the dark

In winter, I don´t like those hazy grey days, when one would rather not poke the nose out of the house, let alone the foot in the running shoe. I’m better off after getting dark and the lights of the street lamps give a very slight impression of cosiness. When running in the dark, it’s really important to be seen. Even though my running clothing has reflective elements, I’d rather put on a reflective vest. And I also wear a reflective band on my ankle.

How to save on running gear?

Whether you start with running (no matter if in winter or in summer), you certainly don´t have to invest thousands in your running gear. While it is true that later on, especially with regard to running shoes, it is good to invest in quality.

Few year ago I bought (and I still have!) my first running gear (sports bra, functional tee, tights and socks) from the Lidl grocery chain. And they show any signs of worn out! For regular tees, there’s probably no difference whether they are branded or not. I have some no branded t-shirts and a few brand and I can´t see any difference between them. And I wear them often because they are my favourite tees.

As I wrote, I bought a skirt for running in the local chain Aldi. And I happen to have a few items from Decathlon/Athleticum.

But! If you still want branded running outfits and just don´t want them to cost you an arm and leg, then wait for sales. That’s how I got my Gore wind-proof running jacket that I can swear by. When I saw its price tag, I almost fainted (and that was the sales price!). Gore isn´t one of the cheapest brands. Still, I bought it, even though this is probably the most expensive item in my running wardrobe (unless I count shoes). But! Even when you pay a lot for something up front, it may last you a very long time, making the cost worth it (if you know the “cost per wear” formula, you know what I´m talking about ).

Anyway, whether you choose for branded gear or not, it’s great that you’ve decided to start running. It’s a great form of relaxation! But remember, you shouldn´t be heavy-handed! So if you just aren´t in the mood to go running in the cold, don´t make yourself! You would just have a bad feeling about your running. And that´s what you surely don´t want! You’d better find a video with exercises on Youtube (power yoga, body core strengthening, etc.) that you can practise in the comfort of your home.

And finally, allow me a quote from my favourite training video: “Every winner was once a beginner!”

PS: This blog is a participant in the Amazon Affiliate program. If you purchase from Amazon using one of these links I may make a small commission at no additional charge to you! I don’t ever link to items I don’t actually recommend!


Categories: Running
Laténium: A journey back to the Iron Age
Hiking with kids: An easy winter walk to the Oeschinensee


Hana Hurábová

1 Comment. Leave new

  • […] I totally lost my appetite to run. I have just stopped having fun dressing up so many layers (my tips on how to dress for winter running you can find in this post). That’s why I hope the winter is gone, and I can put thermal shirts and warm sweatshirts on […]


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