How to Run in Subfreezing Temps

I know I pretty recently wrote a post on how to run in the cold, but I figured I needed to write again because this past weekend it was REALLY cold. As in temps in the teens. And I ran 16 [cold] miles and wanted to share what worked for me. Hope this can be useful as it doesn’t look like it’s getting much warmer soon!

When I woke up Saturday morning to run, I was NOT looking forward to facing the cold for almost 3 hours. I knew however, that I was prepared for it with my gear. Here’s what I wore and why it helped keep me warm for 16 miles. The temperature was about 20 degrees by the time we started running, FYI.

  • Cold gear under armour: This is my base (the black shirt and pants pictured below). I wear this combo on the vast majority of my winter runs. It works great alone and as a base for colder days. A must for freezing (or less) temps.
  • Technical shirt over the base layer: My shirt helped keep me dry, which is clutch in cold weather.
  • Jacket over the technical shirt: I don’t have a great running jacket, so I’ve been using my Richmond Marathon jacket on long runs. It works!
  • Facemask: Pictured in last picture below. This was a total necessity on Saturday’s run. It helped to keep the wind off my face – total win!
  • Wool socks: I picked up a pair of Smartwool socks to test on my run and see if they helped my toes stay warm. What do you know, they totally worked! My feet stayed warm the entire time – which is a new experience for me — my toes normally freeze, so this was pretty awesome.
  • Gloves (not pictured) and hand warmers: Okay – this was my first time using hand warmers and they were amazing! Not only did they keep my hands warm the entire run, they helped me be able to drink water. If you run with water during below freezing temperatures, it won’t surprise you to learn that your water may begin to freeze. I was able to keep my hands on my camelbak tube to keep the water in liquid form. Totally clutch!

cold weather gear


There you have it! That’s how I made it through 16 sub-freezing miles on Saturday. Well…my gear and great conversation with Mar from Mar on the Run. We both agreed that neither of us would’ve gotten through the run without each other. Great running friends are key!

cold miles

What do you wear on cold, long runs?

11 Comments on How to Run in Subfreezing Temps

  1. Karen @karenlovestorun
    January 27, 2014 at 6:23 am (8 months ago)

    It was FREEZING this weekend! AWESOME job for getting out there and not letting the cold stop you. Haivng the proper gear makes all the difference when it comes to cold weather running.
    Karen @karenlovestorun
    Karen @karenlovestorun recently posted…Happy Monday and a Giveaway!My Profile

      January 27, 2014 at 9:29 am (8 months ago)

      Thanks Karen – you are right — the right gear is KEY!

      January 27, 2014 at 10:11 am (8 months ago)

      Yeah we did! Really looking forward to “only” 12 miles this weekend.

  2. Chaitali
    January 27, 2014 at 9:50 am (8 months ago)

    I went for a run with my running group Saturday and it was the first time I’ve run in weather that cold! I somehow stumbled on exaclty the right amount of layering to feel good while running (though cold before and afterward). I had tights on under my running pants (not necessarily the highest tech option but it worked), a tech shirt, hoodie and my running jacket, and a head band for my ears. My hands and face were really the only problem since I’m using $1 from Target and I didn’t have anything for my face. Those are the next things to look into since it seems like we’re in for lots of cold weather this year!
    Chaitali recently posted…Week in reviewMy Profile

    • Chaitali
      January 27, 2014 at 9:51 am (8 months ago)

      Oops, that should have been “$1 gloves from Target.”
      Chaitali recently posted…Week in reviewMy Profile

      January 27, 2014 at 10:44 am (8 months ago)

      Sounds like you did it right! :)

  3. Meranda@fairytalesandfitness
    January 27, 2014 at 12:00 pm (8 months ago)

    I have been on the “injured list” so I haven’t been getting outside in this cold although I did get a 5 mile run in on Friday and wore the smartwool socks for the first time! They are awesome. My mom always wears them and introduced me to them. We also both have the Under Armor face masks we were out!
    Meranda@fairytalesandfitness recently posted…Self Diagnosing: What do you think?My Profile

  4. Lindsey
    January 27, 2014 at 7:38 pm (8 months ago)

    I’m glad you had a friend to run with! I make sure to wear lots of layers so I can adjust as needed. Great job getting it done!
    Lindsey recently posted…Week 13 RecapMy Profile

  5. Kristen
    January 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm (8 months ago)

    I have to admit that I wimped out this weekend due to the ice (and 13 degree temps!). Last time I ran in weather like this I got super sick and my husband was afraid he was going to have to take me to the hospital because I was shivering so hard and couldn’t breathe! I love running in the snow, but it needs to be above 20 degrees!
    Kristen recently posted…Motivational Monday: When Life Gives You Lemons…My Profile


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