Couch to 5K
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Winter running gear, is it really necessary?

I've been out on a few cold dawn runs with the temperature around 4 or 5 degrees in the same gear as my summer runs and I've not been bothered by the temperature. In fact I've found the cold invigorating and appreciated not breaking into a sweat so quickly.

I have got a few pounds still to shift but I don't have that much blubber. So I really can't see the need for leggings, hats or running jackets. In fact I'm actively looking forward to my first run with a proper frost, surely I'm not the only one?

13 Replies


I can run with a long sleeved tshirt, lightweight jacket and capris down to fairly low temps, but I think, once the frost hits, I prefer my longer leggings and until I've warmed up, my winter weight jacket as well. The jacket can always come off and get tied around my waist, or if I'm running past my garden, thrown in until I get back again!

I also have gloves because my hands get cold at first on frosty mornings and I stuff the gloves into my pocket once I am hot. I've only run through one winter so far and that was a fairly mild one compared to the previous two, so who knows what we've got coming this time?



I started my outdoor runs in Feb after work, zero degrees, dusk, plus windchill on the Swansea sea front! I was very grateful for my base layer long sleeve top (sleeves come down over your hands with holes for your thumbs) plus gloves (came off after a bit) and a hat that stayed on, plus a light fleece to warm up in (tie round waist after warm up, and essential for the slow jog/walk back to the car) plus ordinary running bottoms! Lots of tissues for runny nose. Sorted!


Hi, being pretty new to running (so I hope I'm not giving out any misleading info), I also wrestled with this and then after being out running early one morning with cold fingertips I have slowly started to increase my cold weather running kit.

I also have been reading quite a lot of material on how to build running skill and it all boils down to training. Part of this is training is around prolonging your ability to train over a long period and this means protecting the joints and muscles to prevent injury.

I figured that running regularly is a nice to have and not to be ruined by pulling a muscle when out running one cold morning or similar. Apparently most runners develop some sort of injury in about month 3-4 of training...and with us heading towards autumn and winter fairly rapidly and me being in month 4, why tempt fate?

I now have long sleeves, gloves, leggings, and a high vis over jacket for running in the not so light mornings. Very nice it feels to be warm and supported by the gear, and if you get hold of appropriately thin and high wicking gear there is no reason why you should overheat. Remember that running is not a punishment and something that you have to do on hard routine...

That said, I would let your body tell you how it feels and go with however you feel comfortable.

Good luck.



The high vis over jacket is also sleeveless and designed for cycling, so highly reflective and very breathable.


For someone who hasn't been running for very long Anth you have certainly done your homework and are being very, very sensible about it all, well done.


I've bought long-sleeve technical shirt and capri pants, but to date have still run in short sleeves and shorts. A few weeks ago I thought I'd need the warmer gear from when the temperature falls below 10°C, but I've still been fine at 7°C - although I do my 5 mins warm up walk in a sweatshirt in my garden, the dump the sweatshirt in the house. Ttoday (8C) at one point I felt too hot, but that was just after running up a small hill. However, I think I'll definitely need the long sleeves and longer pants when doing my weekly long slow distance run at 5 or 6 C and below.


We had quite a mild winter last year only a small amount of snow and temps of just -10C but up here in the far NE Scotland it would be foolish to go out unprepared for cold weather. If you live in a warmer part of the country you may get away with just a long sleeved top and some gloves perhaps. But there is something you should think about and thats an injury while out running, you trip over, or slip on some ice and all of a sudden you are not able to move so quickly and therefore keep warm, thats when you will be saying a little prayer of thanks that you have your jacket tied around your waist and some gloves in a pocket and a warm hat to help stop hypothermia. OK so most of us run where there are plenty of people about to help you but how often to you hear of someone needing help theses days and being ignored by others rushing about their business. I'd sooner be safe than sorry. HiViz jacket is a must, helps be seen and keeps the cold wind out too.


those are excellent points - I shall have to get myself kitted out


Not had to wear them for running yet but I bought a pair of silk gloves from Decathlon last year for about £5. They are meant as liners but found them good and light for hiking so long as it wasn't too cold.

The other bargain last year was Tesco gloves and fingerless gloves to match. I think i got mine for £2.

Worth looking at TK Maxx too. Got my Hilly hi-viz gilet there for half price.

Just looked at Lidl's website and they will have gloves with reflective bits next week and also compression gear.


popped into LIDL's on way to work and picked up some gloves for 3.99 and "performance" trousers for 7.99, thanks for the tip


I went to Sports Direct today looking for a Hi-Viz waterproof jacket. They didn't have any so I came out with a Karrimor long sleeved top, men's Karrimor running pants (same size as the ladies ones but without the pink bits!) and a hi-vis vest. I wore my new ensemble for a run tonight, together with my pink Karrimor gloves I bought earlier in the year. I was asked why I was wearing Marigolds..... I was also too hot..I think I'd have been most comfortable in short sleeved top, capris and gloves !

I'm not complacent though - I'm still on the lookout for a lightweight, waterproof jacket I can comfortably carry in case I need the extra layer.....


Loved the Marigolds lol just a point though this is still only September we have another autumn month yet before winter sets in. You may well find the longer leggings a god send come December/January/February even in Shropshire!! I'm looking forward to running in the snow again I just loved it last winter. I must be getting a bit mad in my old age ;)


Ooh, I hope we get some snow - haven't run in snow before !


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