Staying cool when you run warm & staying warm when you run cold
January 4, 2015 2:24 PM   Subscribe

For runners (especially women runners) is there such a thing as a lightweight jacket/top that keeps you cool, and also warm, on long runs in the rain? Or how else to dress for long runs on cold, rainy days?

Ran my first non-stop 10 miles yesterday! Was supposed to try for it 2 weeks ago, but ended up coming down with the flu and barely leaving bed for 3 days. If run days coincide with rain days, I still go for them - but they’re generally on shorter runs. Yesterday’s (successful) attempt coincided with some cold rain, which left me realizing I probably need some new gear.

I found that I got warm very quickly (typical for me on any run), but after the 6 mile mark or so, I started to get pretty cold, and alternated needing to put my gloves back on/off every other kilometer or so. My hands, arms, shoulders began feeling especially cold. My head somewhat so.

Normally, if it’s above 30 degrees, I run like this - leggings, a short sleeve tech tee, hat, and cheapo dollar bin gloves. I have no problem starting off cold, as I warm up very quickly and end up taking my gloves off after the first km, and tucking them under the shoulder strap of my sports bra for the rest of the run. Or skip gloves entirely. I’ve done some 8-9 mile runs, and felt fine - but they were in dry conditions.

Does such a jacket/top/other gear exist that will keep me cool in the beginning of long rainy runs, but also work the other way and keep my hands & arms warm, once the cold sets in? Any other ways to help keep your body comfortable in wet conditions?
posted by raztaj to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I have a bunch of lightweight running jackets, but usually in cold rain, I'll just layer up, and wear a long sleeve tech shirt with arm warmers underneath.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:33 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have this Queen of the Mountain jacket from Athleta and I think it might be up your alley - it has vents on the sides that I usually open up after four or so miles (I start cold and warm up, so you could start with them open.) It's waterproof and has all sorts of nice little things - a back pocket, decent reflective decals, a fastener in the back for windy conditions. So maybe find something with vents?

My general policy is to have as many different items of clothing as I can possibly wear and get to the correct temperature, that I can selectively strip while I run. When it's very cold, this means gloves, sleeves (okay, okay, they're an old pair of socks that I cut up and wear on my arms,) a short sleeve wicking shirt, jacket, tights, shorts over the tights, and really nice warm socks.
posted by punchtothehead at 2:42 PM on January 4, 2015

I wear a merino hoodie from icebreaker. Merino breathes and stays warm when wet. I have the hood up when it's really cold, and because it has a two-way zip, I can have it almost completely open without it flapping about. It also has thumb holes in the sleeves, which means I don't need gloves.
posted by girlgenius at 4:34 PM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Is your hat cotton or some kind of performance fabric? If it's cotton, try buying something made from a tech fabric or perhaps even substitute a lightweight wool beanie (though I know it won't keep the rain out of your face).

Also, definitely spring for some proper lightweight running gloves. That'll help a lot.

Also, I recommend a long-sleeved layer, perhaps even made of lightweight wool, underneath your jacket. You can pull the sleeves up and down to regulate your temperature somewhat. Look for one with longer sleeves and thumb holes, which will keep the sleeves over the backs of your hands.

Also handy: an outer layer with pockets, either on the front or one in the back. This is a good place to store your gloves. I'm thinking wet gloves on your shoulder don't help.

You might also look at heavier winter tights.

I think it's worth it to stop by a running specialty store, to feel the different fabric weights and such. Plus they'll probably have one or two women who are runners on staff who will have good advice.
posted by bluedaisy at 4:47 PM on January 4, 2015

I have this wool hat that works extremely well to keep my head dry until I get warm enough to take it off. After that my hair is stuck to my head with sweat so I don't mind the rain.

I also wear this jacket with a couple of layers under it. It's remarkably rain resistant.
posted by winna at 5:23 PM on January 4, 2015

It's for sailing not running, but geezus did I LOVE my Helly Hansen jacket that got lost in a move.

NZ. Three seasons in a day, generally. Rain a feature everyday. Big sunshine, arctic wind. That jacket was designed right. Never a moment uncomfortable as long as I was wearing that jacket - from near freezing rain to sunny hot days. Loved it.
posted by jbenben at 9:08 PM on January 4, 2015

On long runs in the winter I usually wear a long sleeve tech shirt, the kind with fleece on the inside topped with a regular waterproof/windproof shell. The brand doesn't make a difference to me, I have several and they work equally well.

I ran last winter in -30 wearing these layers with maybe an extra baselayer for very cold days. I start out cold but warm up to a comfortable level within the first mile or so. The most important thing when running in the cold for me is good warm socks (wool or merino wool, double layer) and double layer gloves (regular jogging gloves + windproof gloves on top) and a good windproof hat. You want to be reasonably warm, not bulky and to keep the wind/rain out.

For legs, starting in the fall I always wear the sugoi subzero tights that are both windproof and rainproof.
posted by Karotz at 1:37 AM on January 5, 2015

One thing people constantly underestimate is the training benefit of running warmer than you are comfortable with when you are training. I aim to dress too warm when I run in cold weather so I am ready for when it is too warm in the summer.
posted by srboisvert at 6:43 AM on January 5, 2015

It sounds like you're from a colder, wetter climate than the one I live in, so this may or may not be helpful. However, I'm a runner, and a woman, and I tend to run warm.

I wear layers that can be modified to let in more or less air without having to take off an entire layer or carry too many things.

- A fleece headband that covers my ears (I can pull it down and let it hang around my neck if I get too warm)
- A tech-fabric fleece half-zip (it's warm, but lets air circulate better than straight-up tech fabric does)
- Cheapie knee socks from Target (I can push these down around my ankles)
- Gloves (small, so easy to carry in one hand or stow in a jersey pocket).
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 9:53 AM on January 5, 2015

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