Wear the right gear for your Winter Running

This blog is called ‘Run Your Way’.  In actual fact, it’s for people that run my way.

What is My Way

I’m mainly a gym-goer.  I was about the weights and circuit classes, obsessed with the aesthetics.  A day comes  when you’re hit by gym boredom and you want to take part in that free pursuit called running.  Either that or you’re on your way to the grocery store on a Saturday morning (because today you’re out of croissants) and you come across a Park Run.  After almost getting knocked down you find out that this event takes place every week and it is absolutely free.   In fact, when this happened to me at the Highbury Park Run, it was during an interview with Sweatshop Running that I found out more about this great and inclusive event.

I was now eager to get into running; however, when a gym goer is ready to acknowledge the gym better than running claim, they have to understand that their body is either too stiff from all the weights or too flexible from all the yoga.  Such running converts need to accept that their bodies aren’t at all suited to this activity especially when this group will usually have a competitive streak and an inherent desire to achieve respectable times.  Hence, one still needs to follow a basic plan and increase mileage gradually as the body is adapting to running.

I have touched on subjects beyond the realm of this post, but the take-home here is that runners like me are essentially running converts, arriving from the gym, and still insistent on achieving an above average running time.

And it’s no surprise that we will be the first to hide in the gym for the cold months, getting the mileage in on the treadmill and stealing a few cheeky moments to pump a little iron.


1st Day of February and it’s time to hit the road.  The biggest headache for me is getting the kit right for my winter running;  I spent a long time figuring out what the appropriate gear was.  In a running store I was surrounded by running addicts who ran everyday and probably wore a vest and tight shorts every time they went out.  However, this southern softie needed a little more protection from the dreaded Manchester Chill.  So I experimented with different combinations before deciding on my ideal winter running wardrobe.

It's Only Cold if you're still Standing - Great winter running slogan
Love this slogan

Consider this range of gear for the colder months.  You have your main kit and then your running accessories.

Main Kit

Winter Running Kit: Top - long-sleeve base layer and poly T-shirt - Bottom - Leggings and poly shorts
Winter Running Kit

Bottoms – Jogging Pants and Shorts

Oh yes, the jogging pants.  Many are still coming to the running store looking for jogging bottoms that are more appropriately worn on B-Wing.  Today the trend is very much tight bottoms for running.  This is to create a second skin or base-layer.  The compression also helps prevent muscle vibration so can limit the next-day running soreness.  In addition it is reported that the compression also helps enhance blood circulation.

So why the shorts?  No technical reason.  If you go without them just don’t do lunges during your running warmup (not in public anyway).  Also don’t get offended if people look away when talking to you.  And the fact that most ladies do not wear shorts over the leggings is purely trend.  There should be no peer-pressure either way.

Do I wear  underwear? No, but that’s just preference.   Commando limits the layers and the chances of chaffing.

Tops – Long-sleeve base-layer and T-Shirt

Again the base-layer is very important and works a treat for providing that shield against the wind.  Those with a bit of muscle-mass will really feel the support.  The tight fitting gives a nice aerodynamic effect.

Why the T-shirt?  For the same reason as the shorts above.

Both for the shorts and T-Shirt it is important that one wears polyester or nylon and never cotton. You’ll notice that cotton clothes take forever to dry after washing.  Same logic for selecting running-gear.

Running Accessories

Winter Running accessories Hat, Snood, Gloves
Running Accessories
  1. Hat – never a beanie. A running hat is different from a beanie. Basically, it looks like a condom.
  2. Gloves – Once again we are avoiding the cotton. The Karrimor running gloves I have are great with the key pouch, and even smart-tip for when you need to get the phone out.
  3. Snood – These have become like gold-dust for some reason. You usually have to go to the ski shops or camping shops for these. The one pictured is the type that footballers like Carlos Tevez began wearing a few years back (to much mockery).  I actually have a couple of polyester/nylon ones but misplaced them (as one does).  Fleece ones like these are not what I usually recommend.

Running Jackets?

Not a fan personally.  I have one for when it is raining but you have to ensure that it tightens a lot.  If however, you run in very adverse condition you need to invest in a good quality Gore-Tex jacket (have a £150 plus budget handy).  Commuters may also need to invest in such a jacket so that they have something breathable one-way (for when they are running) and still warm when going the other (on foot or public transport).

And Long-Sleeve Running tops

I was given a nice Brooks Running Top.  My problem is that it is too thick to be a base-layer and causes me nipple-chaffing.  It also compromises your ability to layer.


Thankfully, it didn’t take me too long retrieving the full set of gear from my wardrobe (apart from the snood) and it feels very satisfying to have completed my first winter run of 2008.  It’s nice to be able to sit here and share my ideas.  Feel free to share your ideas below.