how to layer for winter running



Lung burn, dry cough, runny nose and the fear of slipping—it's all in a winter's run, which is why we always feel a little bit hardcore when we do it. We asked NYC-based run coach and marathon runner Gia Alvarez—who's no stranger to running in the cold—her top tips for ensuring we get out there when the thermometer suggests we may want to stay in.

The excuses

Winter running can be intimidating. It's cold. It's dark. It's tough to get motivated in all that cold and dark. Plus it seems complicated sorting out all the right gear. Yep, it's easier to just stay indoors.

The motivation

Crisp mornings, fresh air and quiet afternoons where the sun sparkles off the fresh snow as we make the first footprints in it. And the chance to work up a great sweat, of course. Yep, it always feels better to get outside.

The layering equation

As much as you want to bundle up and be cozy before you head out the door, don't! It's counter-intuitive, but the fine balance to the perfect winter running outfit doesn't include bulky sweatshirts. Being overdressed on your winter run will cause you to sweat too much, then the sweat will make you wet and cold. Layering will keep your warm while preventing you from overheating.

When it's less than 0°C/32°F

Choose a moisture-wicking base layer. Add an insulator layer over that and finish with an outer wind/waterproof layer.
BelowFreezingRun
Our educator Mary is wearing: Cool Racerback (in Assorted Stripe Surge) Star Runner Pullover in black, Speed Tight *TECH, and the Run With Me Toque

When it's above 0°C/32°F

Go for a moisture-wicking base layer then an insulating top layer.
AboveFreezingRun
Mary's rocking the Run Swiftly Racer Back (but you could also rock the Cool Racerback) and our Star Runner Pullover with the Speed Tight *Cozy

Still feel cold?

You should as you head out the door. Remaining slightly chilled as you step out the door will prevent overheating. You'll warm up just a few minutes into your run, we promise.

Winter run form tip

Stay low, keep your knees bent and your stride short so that you are closer to the ground and have a more efficient stride and less risk of falling or slipping on icy roads.

Keep it festive

Make your route a holiday light tour. Head out to the best-lit neighbourhood or a (safe) park and revel in the season.


Gia Alvarez is a run coach dedicated to helping individuals to achieve a better, healthier lifestyle through fitness and life balance. She strives to maintain her own life balance while chasing after twin toddlers, and has big plans to run in the 2014 Boston Marathon and take part in an UltraMarathon.

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