How to Dress to Train in Low Temperatures
How to Dress to Train in Low Temperatures

Practicing running correctly in these winter months involves following some basic recommendations and knowing how to choose proper sports equipment.

With the arrival of the cold, the wind, and the rain, it costs us all a little more to continue with our outdoor training routines. Gone are the days when high temperatures invited the most and least fans of running to go out for a run. Running in winter becomes more difficult, although many races are held at this time, such as San Silvestre.

How to Dress to Train in Low Temperatures

The secret, in order not to abandon our outdoor training sessions in these winter months, is to know what sportswear to wear on the coldest days and what recommendations to follow when dressing; In this way, we can reduce the uncomfortable thermal sensation that low temperatures produce in our body and make the most of our workouts as it happens in the warmer months.

Entering Temperature / Losing Temperature

Choosing the most suitable clothing for training must first be to know how the human body works. Our body behaves like a ‘machine’ that to work correctly, it needs to maintain a balance in many aspects, and one of these is body temperature.

To maintain an optimal body temperature between 36 and 37 °, our body uses the mechanism of thermoregulation. Thanks to this process, we achieve a balance between the temperature that “enters” and the one that “leaves”. The overexertion to which we put our muscles when we run more or less long distances of several kilometers leads the organism to increase its body temperature, and consequently, raise our thermal sensation from outside ( even with low temperatures).

For all this, in these winter months, a correct selection of the fabrics and sports garments that we are going to wear is essential. In this way, we will avoid the thermal sensations of excessive heat and cold that can lead us to reduce our physical performance and health.

The 10-degree Rule

This rule is fundamental; it consists of dressing as if it were ten degrees higher outside; although starting to roll, we feel cold, this sensation will only last a few. Wrapping up with excess clothing, in the long run, will only generate discomfort and physical discomfort from perspiring more.

Security and Visibility

We know days are shorter in winter, we must adapt and take the necessary security measures if we go out in the early morning or the late afternoon/evening.

Since most winter sportswear is made with dark colors, we must choose that at least these garments have reflective materials that help us to be seen in the dark by other users of the road or route through which we train. Another solution to make ourselves more visible is to wear colored sneakers; in this way, we can avoid accidents that put our health at risk

Quality to Quantity in Technical Clothing

If in these months that the cold lasts, we want to continue improving our physical condition and personal brands, we must be aware of the fabrics that we wear in our sports garments; These should limit the loss of body heat and fight against the factors of cold, wind and humidity so prevailing in these months; Only in this way, we will be able to continue getting the most out of our training sessions regardless of the weather conditions outside.

Technical Fabrics

First, these fabrics or fabrics are so-called because they are fibers, threads, or materials made of fibers with high thermal or mechanical resistance.

– When choosing fabrics for our sports garments, it is very important to avoid cotton and nylon directly on the skin (these fabrics will make us perspire more and will not insulate us better from the cold).

– Although later commercially, the marketing department of each sports firm changes the name, the best fabrics for training in adverse weather conditions are Thermolite (the best fiber on the market due to its low weight and maximum insulation from the cold), GoreTex (This system garment uses a waterproof sealing system in the seams) and Polar (high-density fabrics that achieve good insulation thanks to their ability to retain a large volume of air within the filaments of the garments).

Dressing in layers

This shape is best for running in cold temperatures and for maximum comfort. The system is simple; it simply consists of wearing one piece of sports clothing over another (such as an onion). In this way, we will form a small microclimate where we protect our body from sweat and adverse conditions (cold, rain, wind, or snow) to avoid feeling uncomfortable during the race.

The temperatures and weather conditions of the day will determine the number of layers we will have to wear to train. Thus, the lower the temperature, the higher the number of layers that we will need to wear to control the excessive loss of heat from our body and, in some cases, the entry of external humidity.

For the layering system to be useful and practical, we recommend that we select garments so that some can be unbuttoned or removed.

There are three basic layers in this system:

The First Layer or Inner Layer

They were also called ‘first skin’. Its function is to keep moisture away from the skin to prevent our body from getting cold. The garments must be made of non-absorbent materials composed of synthetic fibers (polyester, polypropylene or color fiber). The main characteristic of these fibers is that they are cheap and dry fast (in Thermolite polyester fibers; each filament is hollow, so each filament of the yarn is an insulator).

In the first layer, the most advisable thing to do is to dress in tight garments (without being uncomfortable), prevent the wind from penetrating between the different layers, reach our skin, and lower our body temperature. Within this layer are the garments of Technical shirts, tights, and thermal gloves.

The Second Layer or Insulation Layer

Its function is to insulate thermally and trap the cold air that comes from outside. Thanks to these garments, the heat generated by our body is retained (thus preventing its cooling) and it favors the evacuation of excess moisture.

This layer’s importance lies in using insulating materials it that, even when wet, manages to keep its insulating and breathable properties intact. Synthetic fibers ( polyester ) and natural fibers ( wool ) are the ones that best perform this function. To this second layer belong the clothes of Polar linings, hats, socks, or ‘windbreaker’ vests (Windstopper).

The Third Layer or Layer of Protection

The function of this outer layer is to protect us from three important elements: external humidity (keeping us dry from rain and snow – impermeability), external wind (thus avoiding the feeling of cold and sweat (allowing its evacuation if the previous layers cannot retain it).

In this outer layer, it must be as breathable as possible, since if our sweat soaks the clothes, it can cause us discomfort during training. We can even go into hypothermia when we cool down (the ideal for these upper-body garments, which include openings under the armpits in their design to allow better ventilation of interior moisture). Sportswear for this layer can be windbreakers, jackets with a waterproof membrane, pants, and gloves with a waterproof membrane or softshells (a mixture of fleece and windbreaker).

Technical Clothing for Running in Low Temperatures

The secret to training at low temperatures is discovering the right clothing. In principle, these clothes must limit the loss of body heat and fight against the aggravating factors of cold, which are wind and humidity. Many times we wrap ourselves too much and perspire. Wet clothes get cold throughout the training and we get sick, losing our regularity in physical work.

Read Next – Best Waterproof Walking Shoes For Women

Limit Heat Losses

The head is an area of ​​significant loss of body radiation. Our hair protects it first and if it does not reach it, we will use a hat. Then there is the trunk, which is the center of our body. To protect it, we must store the heat that the body itself produces and let the moisture out of our sweat.

Dressing in layers

“Dress like an onion.”

Did the cold come to stay? … In training, we advise you to dress in technical clothing and several layers of sports clothing. Each layer has its significance and can be combined according to weather conditions and the intensity of physical activity to control the loss of heat from our body and, in some cases, the entry of external humidity. Staying dry is synonymous with being comfortable.

Read Next – The Best Socks to Prevent Blisters

We Have Three Basic Layers

  1. Inner Layer:

Also called the first skin. Its function is to keep moisture away from the skin. The garments must be breathable and non-absorbent, preferably made of some synthetic material. These garments are known as “compression shirts”. It is essential not to use cotton in the layer close to the skin. Why? Because cotton is a natural fiber, it completely absorbs moisture from the body and takes a long time to dry. Synthetic fabrics dry fast. In summer, we hardly use several layers to dress, except in training in the rain. In this case, we can avoid the “first skin” or inner layer, going directly to the next layer, the middle layer.

  1. Middle Layer:

This is the level of Insulation: Its function is to trap the cold air from outside and not allow it to reach the skin. As with the inner layer, synthetic fiber garments are recommended because they maintain their properties even when wet. We talk about the so-called, divers, or polar. These are lightweight and have freedom of movement.

These first two layers already allow air to be stored between garments. These layers are hot air and comfort the runner. A very attractive option for being very comfortable when running is the winter windbreaker or “Windstopper” vests.

  1. Outer Layer:

Climate protection. Extreme cold or rain. Without a doubt, with the first two layers, we have managed to maintain our body temperature. If we are talking about severe weather, the third layer must insulate us from the outside. The garment can have openings under the armpits to allow ventilation inside moisture.

Read Next – Fitness Training for Backpacking in Fitness

I Was Running in the Rain

Regarding the issue of rain. The layer must be waterproof to protect from rain, breathable to let moisture escape from the body through the space in the back of the garment or under the armpits and it must also be windproof, which in the case of waterproof jackets, they are. Waterproof clothing is not the same as a water-resistant one or a water repellent one.

The “water repellent” has an exterior treatment of the fabric that makes the water “slide” down the surface of the same and serve for a very weak rain or garúa.

The “waterproof” prevents the entry of water, but not completely. Usually, the water passes through its seams.

The “waterproof” garments have their welded seams and waterproof sealed zippers or sheltered zippers. In this case, the protection is waterproof.

Read Next – ALEADER Women’s Water Hiking Shoe

Cold Running Accessories

Dry-Fit Gloves and Hats

Very light. They protect from the cold but not too much.

Like all technical fabrics, they allow the passage of water vapor, avoiding condensation (perspiration). The warm but do not allow us to perspire.

The hat fits perfectly on the head. This avoids walking around correcting your position while running.

Gloves, on some models, have a pocket for car or house keys. They are very comfortable.

This equipment of hat – gloves and protection on the neck allows you to go out with only an excellent technical shirt with short sleeves.

Tubular Neck – Buff

Excellent for protecting the neck. In cold weather, we can go out in a short shirt, as long as our neck is protected. The tubular neck is multipurpose, being able to be used as a hat or protecting ears, nose, and mouth. The garment is a textile tubular made with elastic microfiber fabric and without seams. It is fast drying. In summer, this garment can be used as a hat to protect us from the sun.

Windproof vest or Windstopper

To be effective, it must not be impermeable to water vapor to evacuate the moisture produced by perspiration from the body. Some of these also have thermal power. The classic material is that of microporous fabrics (micro-polar), that is, waterproof and breathable. Be very careful when buying it. It must be running. What is the characteristic? The front of the vest is made of a strong and warm microporous fabric. The back is made of a very light fabric. Good running vests come inside, lined by a net-type mesh, which separates the vest from the lower garment, keeping temperature and avoiding moisture condensation.

Long Leggings

There are summer, mid-season and winter. Mainly in men, when it is cold, there are no longer brave men who resist them. We must take notice that they are made of a material that does not retain water. Many can be very warm, but when crossing a waterway on an adventure race, they must drain quickly to begin drying.


Dressed like this, we will be able to go out for a run without losing body temperature and perspiring enough to avoid keeping moisture and getting cold.

After training, it is essential to change all our wet clothes, wrap ourselves very well, and have something very warm.

Read Next – Best Walking Boots For Women in 2021

in stock
1 used from $25.00
as of May 26, 2022 1:38 pm
in stock
2 new from $125.00
as of May 26, 2022 1:38 pm
Last updated on May 26, 2022 1:38 pm
My name is Mick, and I'm a marathon runner and travel enthusiast from New York. I'm not a natural runner and have worked hard to cut my marathon time from 5.14 to 3.68. I'm currently chasing a Boston Qualifying time of sub 3.30. My blog shares my experiences of balancing marathon training, work and active travel adventures, plus advice specifically for runners. In a nutshell, I’m your average runner who is full of encouragement, motivation, running stories, and a lot of (both solicited and unsolicited) beginner fitness advice.