How to Dress for Cold Weather Exercise

by BE Performance Athlete, Amy Robillard

Dressing for the weather can seem like an ever moving target, especially during the winter. No two cold days are exactly alike, depending on sun, humidity and of course your level of exertion. 

It’s important to stay warm, but not overheat, while layering without adding bulk to your movement. That’s not even taking into consideration the fact that winter conditions can change on a dime.

Below are my top four tips for dressing for your cold weather workout.

1.  Any synthetic fabric is best. Avoid 100% cotton if possible because it does not wick away  sweat! Invest in a good pair of wool blend socks. If your toes, hands and ears are warm, you will set yourself up for success for a run in the cold. 

2.  There is no perfect number or combination of layers. This truly does depend on the person's comfort level but I’ve found that 2-3 is best. Too many layers and you risk overheating which then will cause some major issues. It is okay to be chilly at the start, that's ideal, really. Embrace the cold, don't fear it. These layers shouldn’t be impacted too much by your distance either. I would wear the same amount of layers no matter the distance.

3.  When it comes to hats and gloves, anything is better than nothing! Personally, I am not a hat person, I just wear a head band and gloves. I wear the cheap ones and double up if the temperature is in the 20's or under. I do have fancy tech ones and wear those if it is actually snowing. And as for ear warmers, I use anything from the cheap ones from Old Navy to nice ones from Lululemon. This decision usually depends on what I see the moment before I head out, but it’s an important part of the wardrobe! 

4.  Sunny days are glorious in the winter! Most times, this weather means a colder day, but the feeling of the sun and brightness plays mind games with you...for the better! I do not change what I am wearing depending on cloudy or sunny days, it is the WIND that makes a difference, especially when it is already cold out. I dress for the wind chill temp, or "real feel" as my weather app says.

Stay warm, stay healthy and happy running!

Amy Robillard is a two-time Flying Pig Marathon winner, Beyond Exercise and LuluLemon ambassador.