Couch to 5K
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Help choosing layers for first winter running, please!

(cross-posted with The Running Bug - I hope nobody minds, but I wasn't sure how many people would see it there.)

Hi! Thread title says it, really - I did C25k over the summer and graduated at the end of August. I've been running 5k four times a week since then, and I absolutely love doing it - but I've been feeling the cold more recently and I know it's only going to get worse.

Right now I only have a pair of ordinary 3/4 length tights and two Dri-fit vests. I've been wearing them with a thin cotton/merino blend hoody and an ordinary cotton longsleeved top for my early morning and late evening runs, because I don't have any other stuff, and it's been getting heavy and horrible, and freezing in the wind! I don't have access to a gym or treadmill, and I'm really worried that I'll end up missing runs due to bad weather, until eventually it's been weeks and I'm not running at all any more. So I'd really like a few good pieces of winter kit to help me get out of the door!

I have the tights sorted - Mizuno - and am now trying to work out what to go for on top. I think I'd like a long-sleeved base layer (I've been looking at these, which seem really comfy and dry, but I'm not sure they'd be warm enough with a technical t-shirt on top or vest top underneath when it's really cold.

Then I'd like some kind of soft windproof jacket or hoody - I really like the look of this, but am not sure it would be windproof ('s-running-hoodie-~-aw15/), so maybe this ('s-jacket/#description)? Or something else entirely? I'd like at least one of the layers to have something to cover my hands, as I think gloves will annoy me too much.

Any help would be really, really welcome. Thank you very much!

5 Replies

Last winter I didn't have trouble with my top half (ear buff, l/s top under softshell jacket, gloves) as I soon warmed up once I got going, but the front of my thighs got cold when it was zero or thereabouts. I bought some Aldi ski underleggings and some slightly thicker running tights from Amazon - here's the link:

They were nice and cosy!

As my softshell was black, I also had a bright pink reflective vest which went over the top for dull and foggy days.

Running in ice was the worst - no opportunity for my usual downhill country roads as I would have definitely gone a-over-t!!! I had to stick to the very few roads in our village which had been gritted and wait to go out until a few cars had made tracks where the ice had melted.

There's dedication for you!

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Like Useit, I found the biggest problem was my thigh muscles being cold. I eventually got some Nike Filament rights which were lovely and snug. I found I got too hot if I layered up my top half too much, but something to keep my ears warm was essential. I guess its just trial and error (and keeping an eye on the weather forecast) :)

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Can I suggest that you consider getting a pertex windproof outer instead of a softshell. They tend to be much lighter and can be scrunched up and put in a pocket if you start to get too warm. I rather like the look of the Montane Featherlite range e.g.

but there are lots out there. My pertex windproofs are both noname brands I picked up in sales. The key thing about pertex though is it's light and keeps the wind from chilling you without adding bulk.

For a quality undertop at a reasonable price for you could do worse than look at Tribesports e.g. Beware - it will spoil you, though. Once you've tried some of the Tribesports gear, you'll never want to go back to the likes of Karrimor again (I'm not intending to knock Karrimor here - it's very good value for money, just not in the same league as Tribesports kit).

On my legs I wear lycra long leg shorts (like cycling shorts without the pad) - mine came from more mile. Over this I wear Ronhill Trackster Classics, but that's just because I look a total prat in running tights - I would wear tigts as an outer if I thought I could get away with it.

If it's really cold out there I might wear a thermal undervest and longjohns (merino from Aldi when you can get it) as an underlayer.

The key thing you need to watch though are your extremities - get a beanie hat and some thin gloves. Taking or putting on hat and gloves is the easiest way of adjusting temperature when running. 25% of your heat loss is through your head. I buy mine from a pound shop because I keep losing them.

I prefer to set out feeling slightly cool because I know that after 10 minutes I'll be too warm otherwise. My biggest mistake when setting off is to be wearing too much gear.


Thank you so much for your replies! Lots of really useful advice and ideas, thank you. : )

I was just wondering - I like the look of Tribesports, but I've also found some HH baselayers, just the ordinary ones, for £10-£15 each online. Which do you think might be better to go for?

I think I'm going to get the Montane, thank you - along with the Mizuno tights, a couple of long-sleeved baselayers (HH or Tribesports), some gloves and a headband. I was also wondering about one of these:'s-sportop-running-top/

or's-sportop-long-sleeve-running-top/ ?


HH base layers are good (I wear them before as an alternative to my merino ones). I was more thinking of the Tribesports long sleeved tops as an alternative to the winter tops you linked to immediately above at Either look good - it's a matter of personal choice really. My heart always says - go with Tribesports when you can, but that's because it feels so good. Objectively, I would say that you should go with anything but Tribesports. That's because once you've tried TS kit, everything else feels second rate and you'll be wanting to dump all the items you were perfectly happy with before...


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