How to dress for a cold weather run as a woman

Happy New Year

How should I dress as a woman for a cold weather winter run in sub-zero temperatures?

In this article I’ll show you in a short youtube how I dress for the – 10° to 5° C (14 – 41 F) that we usually have here in the south of Germany. You can run in every weather – as long as you have the right gear.

But first of all I’d like to wish you a a very happy new year and that you may reach all your goals you have set for yourself for this year and decade!

Running in cold weather with the right gear actually has several advantages and is very beautiful in different ways.

  • Especially during morning runs you can see truly amazing sights as the sun comes up over a frozen landscape
  • You sweat a lot less, therefore also need less water
  • Your body uses energy for warmth, when it gets warmer that acquired energy goes into your run
  • You are mostly alone when you run trail or forests (and you like being alone)
  • You are never truly cold, only cool for the first 5 min., tops. I get cold extremely fast, but not on runs. 
  • You build up an immune system like hell! I haven’t caught a flu anymore at all since I run in winter. Or maybe I caught one, but my body didn’t even get to show symptoms beyond a sniffle, fending it off super fast.

Where I live, in the south of Germany it can get very cold, so here is a youtube where I strip… all for the love of running 😉

Despite the best prep and motivation, I know the hardest part – especially after the indulgence during the Holidays – is to get up, dress all that stuff, and go out into the cold.
Once you’ve started to run, it’s great within a few minutes… so what to do?

Here are a few tips that help me a lot:

  • Put out your running clothes and arrange them in a way you practically can not avoid them. Handy if you run in the mornings: Put only those out, so you have to put them on. Once they are on, the rest becomes easier…
  • Join a group milage challenge, even a virtual one. The UK group “Girls Run the World” #GRTW do a great virtual challenge that I’m currently participating in: #Runuary – you have to run every day of January, even if only very shortly, and if you manage you’ll get the Runuary emblem shirt. Last year I failed. This year I will get that shirt!!! 
  • Set yourself a goal for the month and also a reward if you reach it. Maybe that new pair of summer running shoes…

I find that I spend a lot of my time on these silent winter runs to think about this fresh and new year and what I would like to achieve in it. There is a certain peace and tranquility in a winter run, with that fresh, crisp air that smells of nothing but snow, that is really conducive to introspection.

It’s of course also a challenge to find time to run during daylight. If you can’t, and you live in a place that is safe, there is no harm in running with a headlight. I’m doing that a lot during my morning runs and it has a truly mystical and utterly beautiful quality to it, when you head out in the dark and then see the sun rising and the rays causing the crystaline ice fragments to evaporate in a mist that is bathed in red sunlight.

Must-have running gear for running in the dark

Last week I had to run (#Runuary) during a business trip to London, so it had to be the mornings, as early as 5:30 am in order to show up at the meeting on time. London is not the safest of all places during the dark, so I simply chose to run around the block in the brightly lit streets. If you want to, if you have the motivation, you will find a way, and you will be rewarded!

It’s now day 12 of running every day – I’ve never done it before. In the last 3 months of 2019, I lost 5 minutes on my 5k time, not being able to run at all for a too long time! Now, after these 12 days, I’m almost back to my previous average 5k pace and yes, it definetly helps loosing the extra pounds 😉

Yet again I can confirm this belief that it’s way harder to work your way back up after a slump, than to stick to it and do it regularly, even if it’s only 1 mile. My new year running resolution is to prioritize keeping it up – which, in many ways is far harder than running a marathon!

I wish you all the best and a wonderful 2020! By the way, during the holidays I’ve updated all pages on the BWR Running Guide, so check it out and let me know what you think and what you are missing please, and remember:

Run for what you believe in – believe in yourself!

Yours, Julia

(*The head torch is from https://www.petzl.com/ specifically made for runners who run in traffic, the light dips down when a vehicle approaches so you don’t blind others)

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