Couch to 5K
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Weather appropriate clothing

I tend to go running at 6am, if not before. Its dark, and will be for a few months yet but we've been having a mild winter too.

I've recently been running in tracksuit bottoms & long sleeve hi-vis but tend to roll the sleeves up after 10 minutes. Sometimes I take my gloves, and sometimes my cap too!

Problem is, I'm taking these items of clothing but end up carrying them most of the time so I wondered if there's a rough rule of thumb as to what to wear depending on the weather.

I'm sure I read that you should always dress as if it's 10 degrees warmer than it is, but what would you do? It's too dark outside to see what the weathers doing? Do you just have a guess or do you have some rough rules you go by?

10 Replies

I am new to running but have cyclee for many years through the winter.

My general rule of thumb is to be slightly cold as I step outside. I tend to always heat up as I run so find this works for me. Today it was about 6 degrees here and I just wore my smelly helly and a windproof gilet with light trousers.

My cycling tops are quite useful having rear pockets I can stuff a windproof in.

All personal chocie at the end of the day/


I was wearing a hat but found it too hot. I got one of those running headbands for Christmas, it keeps your ears warm (and keeps your headphones in) without covering your head- well worth it! I usually wear my gloves but end up tucking them under my bra strap halfway around. I'd rather do that than have frozen painful fingers at the beginning though.

I don't think there are any rules, just what you feel comfortable in. If you're warm as soon as you leave the house then it's probably too much.


I too read that you should feel chilly when you go out; if you are warm at that point then you will overheat. It's a nice problem to have at this time of year I suppose! Sue


I've got a couple of long sleeved trail running tops that have pockets in the back similar to the ones in cycling tops. I start off nice and toasty when it's cold outside and then simply roll my sleeves up and shove the gloves and hats in the back pockets when I get too warm. When I stop and do stretches I can then put hat and gloves back on and roll down my sleeves. Although open at the tops the pockets do work and I have never had anything fall out of them.


I know what you mean about getting ready in the dark- before you can see what the weather is doing!

I use the met office app, it gives you a 5 day forecast, broken down into 3hr segments and you can see what the temperature is and also what it feels like. For example on a windy day it might say 5 degrees, feels like 3.

At least that way I roughly know what I'm heading out into and can dress appropriately. Sounds a bit of technical overkill, but it works


I've been running in a short sleeved tee shirt with lightweight running jacket over the top. Recently about halfway round the jacket has come off to be tied round my waist as I keep going (and I can keep running at the same pace while doing this). I only unzip it about half way or so, then the sleeves are slipped off and tied round my waist, leaving it halfway zipped stops the front/sides flapping around while I'm running and annoying me.

Before Christmas I was wearing gloves and hat as well, these get stuffed down my tights when they got too hot and don't impeed me at all. Back when it was frosty in the mornings I would wear my long sleeved thermal top, but I've learnt now that that only comes out when there's a good frost, not when I think it may be a bit nippy!


I'm going to try the jacket trick! I usually unzip it all the way! Gayle


my browser is yahoo & that gives an indication of weather & temperature. if its around 3 degrees then I will wear a long sleeved thermal compression ski-wear top that I got from aldi/lidl under my long sleeved running top. sleeves always end up rolled up though on the running top. good thing about the compression top is that it has really stretchy sleeves so when it has been cold I have been able to pull it over my fingers until I get warmed up. sleeves are so tight fitting that they dont get rolled up when I get warm like my running top but feel a bit like a second skin. I do have a showerproof jacket but havent used it for ages. prefer to run in the rain & wearing that other top close keeps me warm & dryer than if I just wear my running top.

on my legs I wear long running leggings & normally have a bottle of water tucked into these in the small of my back (the small bottles that come with a bum bag are flat with the drinking bit slightly angled so the bottle doesnt wiggle itself anywhere) & also a hankie (always get runny nose in the cold).

baseball hat on head. keeps you dry, keeps head warm & shelters you from the wind along the coast here :) have bought a cheap sports direct buff but not tried it yet. waiting for that cold wind that hurts your ears then I think it will be as important as my trainers :)


We have a very lightly lined base wear top and bottoms/tights. We then usually wear a light jacket over the top that can easily be removed. I get hot quick, so I prefer to start out a bit chilled. As far as hats/stocking caps, I love my buff! Its light, but just enough protection of my head and ears. Gayle


So most people tend to go out a bit chilly in the anticipation that you'll warm up later on. Bit like me then.

I'm writing a little app for my phone that, once done, should give suggestions on what I should wear. I get up at 5am to go running, my brain isn't fully up to speed at that point in time.

At the moment, it grabs your location, matches it with the current weather from yahoo and tells you the average temperature and weather condition (rain / cloud / fog etc). I want to tweak further so that it then takes the current temperature, and adds or detracts degrees depending on the weather, wind speed, chill, rain etc. So even though it might be 10 degrees outside, it'll say you should dress as if it's 2degrees, or 18 degrees. That kinda thing.


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