A comprehensive study out of France analyzing the collective finish times at six major marathons over 10 years also found that 44.2 degrees is ideal for women churning out the best performances. “When it's warmer, your body's ability to dissipate heat can be compromised,” says Angela Hellman, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist.
(A PRE- run slushy to 'preschool' before exercise in warm weather can help: The idea is that ice increases your core temperature capacity-cooling you down so you have more time before you would reach a too hot temp.) “When it's much colder, your muscles are working harder to produce energy, so they're more easily fatigued,” Hellman explains.
And even if the thermometer is at a perfectly cool 45 degrees, “the outdoor temperature will feel about 15 to 20 degrees warmer than it actually is while you're running, depending on humidity and strength of the sun,” explains Jason Fitzgerald, a USA Track & Field certified coach and founder of Strength Running. The problem with high heat and humidity is that, together, they greatly reduce evaporation of sweat from the body.
This prevents the body from dissipating the tremendous heat created by working muscles, which forces you to slow down. The “wet bulb temperature” measures how much water vapor the atmosphere can hold at current weather conditions.
Whether you're a routine marathon runner, or you simply enjoy the occasional light jog, there's no denying that a gorgeous, sunny day can motivate just about anyone to get out there and pound the pavement. Some people might like it toasty AF, while others prefer to get their jog on when it's a bit colder, and they can feel the chilly wind blowing through their hair.
If you're the type of person who enjoys hitting the track in a heat wave, you may be putting a few things at risk when it comes to your running performance. In fact, when you run in really hot weather, you may actually lose as much as two percent of your body weight just from your sweat alone, which is pretty mind-blowing, when you think about it.
This newly demanded fuel source drains energy reserves faster, especially on long runs. Their results closely coincided with the Tulsa trials, concluding that an approximate 44 degrees was ideal for women looking to excel in long-distance running.
One day, you’re ticking off miles on a brisk, 60-degree afternoon with sunshine overhead; then the next morning, the temperature dips below freezing, and your route is dusted with snow. “Set a date to meet someone for a run,” says Jean M., a Runner’s World reader in Colorado.
“Tell yourself that you can go back inside after five minutes if it’s awful,” says Patti Fine, a coach in Portland, Oregon. If you have shoes with Gore-Tex uppers, all the better, says Mark Grandniece, president of the Maine Track Club in Portland.
“You should be slightly cool when you start.” Think: layers of technical fabrics to wick sweat with zippers at the neck and underarm area to vent air as you heat up. The more you run outdoors, the more you’ll learn your own preferences, or you can use our handy What to Wear tool.
With limited daylight, chances are you’ll be running in the dark (Alaskans only get a few hours of dim light per day). Wear reflective, fluorescent gear, and don’t be shy about lighting yourself up like a Christmas tree.
“I use BodyGlide on my nose and on my cheeks to prevent frostbite,” says the Canadian Stanton. If wind’s in the forecast, consider slathering up with Vaseline or opting for a face mask before heading out.
“In my car, at all times, I have a spare pair of sneakers, a running outfit, and three beach towels,” says Allyson Lama, a member of the Port City Pacers club. “When it’s raining, I slip my feet into plastic baggies, then put on my running shoes,” says Darryl Dancer of Lompoc, California.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. For YEARS, I avoided winter running out of pure fear.
Then, a runner friend advised me to buy good cold weather running gear. Plus, getting the right cold weather gear means you can stay in shape over the winter and not have to start from scratch in the spring.
So, are you ready to prepare yourself with the best cold weather running gear? Keeping warmth from escaping our heads is essential to staying warm when it’s cold outside.
A balaclava wraps around your head, ears and neck snugly. In fact, I ran a New Year's Day race in 0 degree weather with this balaclava (yes, 0 degrees Fahrenheit) and it performed amazingly well to prevent frostbite and keep my neck and head warm.
Personally, I prefer performance wicking material, but some fleece neck warmers also have wicking properties (which is important in cold weather …you need it to pull sweat away from your skin) so make sure you pick one meant for running or exercising if you want fleece. It’s a double layer heavyweight material It’s not expensive and is a great alternative to the balaclava.
Base layer shirts and pants keep warmth close to your body while wicking sweat away. For that reason, it’s best to get compression or tight-fitting base layers in wicking (performance) materials.
Save money by buying kids base layers! Lightweight running base layers are good for late fall or early winter when it’s chilly but not frigid.
Mid weight running base layers are useful for most winter (in many places). Mid weight material keeps you warm when the temperature dips and pairs perfectly with insulating layers and winter jackets.
Wool is a popular material for heavyweight base layers but I usually look for stuff labeled “Cold Gear”. Acceptable items: zipped cold gear hoodies, pullovers, light jackets and fleeces.
I used to think winter running jackets had to look puffy and fluffy and huge to work. In fact, I once wore my regular giant (and long) parka for a winter run before I knew what I was doing.
The outer layer doesn’t have to do all the insulating work, so it can be less heavy and more lightweight. I wear running vests in the late fall with a long sleeve base layer underneath.
Innings is my preferred brand because they make toe socks for all seasons, ranging from lightweight to heavyweight. Balboa is another great running sock brand (I own at least 4 pairs) and these Balboa Blister Resist socks are made of mohair and Dynamic materials to help prevent blisters by wicking away moisture, AND keeping your toesies warm.
Be seen in low light with reflective gear (aka: don’t get hit by a car). Winter days are short, which means we often run in morning or evening darkness.
Fall and winter running require the right gear if you live in a region with seasons and cold weather. All the cold weather running gear listed above will help keep you warm.