Affordable & Essential Cold Weather Running Gear

The trees in Texas just got the memo that it’s fall.

Finally looking a little more like fall in Texas!

In most of the rest of the country, though, ’tis the season for cold weather running. Having trained for my half marathon during the brutal winter last year, I quickly had to learn how to keep warm on those long, cold, snowy weekend runs. Good times!

As I was figuring out the best balance of what to wear, there were a few freezing runs, and a few toasty ones as well. I found that investing in a few key pieces of cold weather running gear was essential, and I could sort of improvise the rest.

So as the weather is cooling down, I thought I’d share some of my top cold weather running gear essentials that won’t break the bank.

Affordable and essential cold weather running essentials

1. Wool socks. Invest in at least one pair. It’s so necessary. If your feet are cold, you’re never going to make it through your run. Petite girls, check out the kids’ section at your sporting goods store — I got a good deal on a girls’ pair.

2. Performance gloves (x2). Check online for a good deal on a pair of Nike or Under Armour cold weather gloves. These are also worth the investment. Some days, I even had to wear two pairs of gloves. Like your toes, you’re never going to make it with cold hands. Trust me — I’ve come home from long runs LITERALLY SOBBING because my hands hurt so badly. Lesson learned.

3. Facial moisturizer with SPF. Windy cold weather runs can dry out your skin like no other. And yes, you can still get sunburn when it’s cold outside! I wouldn’t use anything too heavy that could cause breakouts — this Trader Joe’s moisturizer is light, natural, and less than $5. A little dab does the trick!

Facial moisturizer with SPF for long cold runs

4. Fleece Headband. I don’t believe this needs to be expensive. I definitely didn’t spend a lot on mine. The important thing is that it covers your ears. If you get too warm, you can always take it off and wrap it around your wrist. Can’t do that with a hat!

5. Hand warmers. See #2. I’m telling you, cold hands are the bane of my existence. Hand warmers are incredibly cheap (like, $6 for 10) at places like Wal Mart. They’re a good backup for when your gloves just aren’t cutting it.

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6. Long Johns. If you have the money for Under Armour gear, that’s great! Personally, I do not. I found a solid pair of Jockey leggings I liked at TJ Maxx for about $12, and used a pair of thermal “long underwear” underneath on super cold days. I had them since I was about 12 years old. Got ’em at Sam’s Club.

7. A positive mindset. Wow look – this one’s free! ; ) I cannot tell you how many times I DREADED a long, cold run. Like, dreaded it. Checked the weather obsessively, hoping the temperature would magically go up. Praying the little snowflake icons would go away. I’d think to myself, there is no way I can run 10 miles in 10 degrees. I’m crazy. Why did I do this? This is stupid.

But you know what? Every single time, I’d surprise myself. I’d do it. It would be easier than I thought. I’d feel good, even. As cheesy as it sounds, pushing myself out of my comfort zone (aka my bed) made me stronger as a person. It showed me that I could easily overcome things I didn’t think I could do.

All in all, I believe that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on a new running wardrobe. Find what works for you! It might take a few tries to get it right, but once you’re comfortable in the cold, you’ll be golden.

Your Turn-

  • What cold weather essentials would you add to this list?
  • Any thoughts on overcoming cold weather runs?
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12 thoughts on “Affordable & Essential Cold Weather Running Gear

  1. Workout clothes can sometimes be so expensive and during the winter buying two pairs of everything can definitely hurt the wallet! The first 10 minutes are deadly, I also need something to cover my neck until I warm up or I will get chills if the wind pops in! 😉

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  2. So many good tips – I failed pretty hard when it came to running outdoors in Ithaca (usually I stuck to the treadmill) which is why number 10 is probably my favorite. Are you training for anything this winter?

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    • Thanks, Georgie! Ugh.. Pennsylvania was hard enough … Ithaca is a whole ‘nother beast, haha. I’m not! If and when I get out to run, it’s just for funsies .. althouuuugh I get the “itch” every so often, hehe. Are you?!

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  3. alpaca socks are proven to be superior to sheeps wool, both in quality of foot warming and quality of alpaca life, especially at Sunny Hill Farms 🙂

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