It’s getting cold, but that’s ok! Personally, lower temperatures suit me… I’m not talking arctic conditions, but heading outdoors for a run on a crisp, frosty morning is a great way to start the day and put colour in my cheeks. It actually feels about 10 degrees warmer once you’re on the move, so it’s fine to set off being a bit chilly – things soon heat up.
But it’s important to be cosy and dry, too – and mindful that the ground may be slippery. (Asking for a friend, at what age does falling over become ‘having a fall?!)
A while ago, I reached out on social media to fellow runners with a request for them to share what’s in their autumn/winter running kit. There’s a round-up below – feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments if you can think of anything extra!
If you can’t be bothered reading I’ve created a list of Running Essentials over in my Amazon shop for your convenience. (These are affliate links – I earn a small commission if you buy, but there’s no extra cost to you!)
Hats & headbands
Get a beanie or bobble hat, but save them for when it’s really chilly if you tend to overheat with a hat on. Merino wool or sweat wicking sports fabrics are good options.
As an alternative to a hat, an headband or ear warmer can be a really good option.
Runner tip: helps to keep ears warm without the sweat from wearing a hat – also keeps headphones in place.
A snood is a versatile extra layer of insulation – use it as a headband, neck warmer or a face covering when it’s windy/icy cold. They come in loads of designs and colours so can add a bit of fun to your running gear, too.
Runner tip: Wearing one of these as a headband stops sweat running into your eyes.
Reflective/LED/High vis apparel
Talking of high vis, it’s essential that on those dark evenings and early morning, you can be seen. Something like a neon long sleeved top would be good.
Also make sure you have some high visibility arm bands, wrist/ankle bands, snap bands – there’s loads online at Amazon. Some are luminous, some feature flashing LEDs. A really effective and simple way to ensure you can be seen in the dark.
Runner tip: Don’t wear black at this time of year! Head torches can give you the extra confidence to run fast in the dark or under streetlights.
Gloves and socks
It’s the extremities that feel coldest, so keep toes and fingers toasty with insulating socks and gloves. Modern running gloves feature ‘tech’ fingers so you can still swipe your phone to check those important stats and take Instagram pictures while you’re on the move!
Runner tips: buy extra pairs of gloves as you’ll wash them as often as your socks. Ladies, if your hands get too hot, you can stuff lightweight gloves in your bra! For socks, check out Injinji toe socks which are an innovative design to stop friction between the toes – ideal for longer distances.
A fitted long sleeved base layer is everyone’s essential item. You can opt for a cosy merino knit – lots of runners recommend a wool base layer as its warm and breathable. Or go for a cheaper, synthetic fabric which still wicks away sweat – and of course you can add or take away layers (tying them round your waist) depending on the chill factor. Pop a jacket on top, or wear alone when the weather is milder.
Runner tip: A base layer with thumb loops gives a bit of extra coverage and stops sleeves creeping upwards when you run.
Unless you never feel the cold, you’ll want to go for leggings in a temperature regulating thermal fabric during these colder months. Tights with brushed fleece lining are extra cosy.
Runner tip: Look for leggings with hidden/zipped pockets for carrying essentials e.g. tissues for when your nose starts running!
Unfortunately I have no experience of wearing trail running shoes so I can’t really comment on them, or recommend any, but I understand they offer more stability and traction underfoot. Perhaps go for a gait analysis at one of the running shops and see what shoe they recommend for your favourite terrain.
For me, being introduced to waterproof/water resistant trainers has been a game changer when it comes to running through big unavoidable puddles. Look out for the Nike shoes which say ‘Shield’ – I recently bought these Nike Women’s Shield Trainers to get me through autumn/winter – they were on offer when I got them so keep an eye on prices to get the best deal!
With their water-repellent technology, your feet stay dry and warm even when splashing through huge puddles. I guess your feet can’t breathe as much in these shoes because of the shield effect, so they wouldn’t be much good in the summer heat – but for cold/wet/muddy routes they are ideal.
Runner tip: If you prefer to stick with your regular trainers, just get some thicker socks than normal and they will keep your feet nice and warm.
I tend to run on an empty stomach, but then I don’t usually run any more than 5 – 10 km. When I talked to a running coach, he said porridge and eggs are great a couple of hours before a run if you can manage it! I go out quite early, so there’s no way for me I could stomach that. But when I come back I’ll usually fuel up, I love a bagel with peanut butter after a run!
If you are going off on a long trail you might want a few protein bites with you? This is not my area of expertise. At all!
Runner tip: for long distances you can take things like dates or baby food pouches to fuel up while on the move.
Until I started getting leggings with phone and key pockets, I found a running belt really useful to keep my phone, car key and credit card. I know some runners prefer an armband.
Runner tip: If you have a phone that’s too big to fit in a standard arm band or arm pocket, go for a stretchy fabric belt instead which will store it easily for you.
This is something you don’t want to forget if you’re driving to a location before running. Getting back into the car soaked/covered in mud/sweating profusely will be better with a towel to sit on and a bag to pop your filthy shoes in.
Runner tip: keep some spare clothes/kit/towel in the boot of your car for any impromptu runs and drives home.
You definitely need a running jacket which is water-resistant and windproof. I personally wouldn’t go for an overly padded jacket – keep it light and thin, as you can add other layers underneath. Although I’m prone to overheating, not everyone will be the same, so it will probably be a bit of trial and error. Jackets can get really expensive with high tech fabrics and extra features, but there are good budget ones available.
Runner tip: Go for a bright jacket or one with reflective strips for increased visibility – and one that has a hood for the inevitable downpours!
Running in the winter months can be more taxing on the body and more hazardous, with a greater risk of injury. Also, it’s imperative to do a proper warm up. When I took a 6 week running improvement course, I was told to imagine putting some Blu-Tack in the fridge, then taking it out and pulling it – it would snap, rather than being its usual pliable self, so think of your muscles like that in the cold!
Some runners like to intersperse their outdoor runs with treadmill sessions, but there’s nothing like being outdoors, getting ice crystals on your hair and being able to see your breath. The hot shower at the end is THE best reward of all. Be safe and enjoy!
Thanks to all who contributed tips. Why not pin this post for later:
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