Running in the Cold

By Charlie Apigian, Special Kids Race Director and long-time Special Kids fan


Brrr... Cold Weather Running

Winter running can be a challenge.  First, it obviously will be colder and the idea of going out into the cold and running can seem like a chore.  Second, you are limited on daylight.  For many of us, we leave for work when it is getting light and we are getting home in the dark.  When can you get in a good run?  

The good news is running in the cold is easier on you since you will probably avoid heat exhaustion, and with these tips it will make running and training in the winter months a fun experience.

Keep your head, fingers, and toes warm

This is the key to running in the winter.  I always say "if my fingers are cold, I am cold".  Therefore, buy a good hat, gloves and wear comfortable socks.


Covering your ears is a good idea, but in colder conditions (under 30 degrees), you need to cover the top of your head which is where you lose the most of your heat.  Good hats out there include Mizuno, Smartwool, and Manzella.  All of the normal running companies also make good hats, such as Asics and Nike.


I like having a good pair of gloves, but any type that is comfortable will work.  Everyone is different, but if your hands get colder than most runners, invest in a good pair of gloves that are wind resistant.  everal brands are out there including Manzella.  A good pair of wool gloves is also worth buying, because they do a good job of wicking moisture.  (P.S. a must is the fingertips that allow you to still tap on your iPhone.)

Buy reflective gear

You will run at night.  So having reflective jackets, hats, or suspenders will make it where car traffic will see you on the road.  Also worth looking into is a headlamp, which makes it easier to see that next step.

If you run at night - be safe.  Avoid wearing all black with no reflective gear.


I am not a big fan of buying heavy clothing for running in the winter.  Instead of a heavy jacket, I prefer layers of shirts and a good wind resistant jacket.  I also like 1/4 zip long sleeve shirts.  Mizuno's thermo wear is breathable and nice and warm.  My usual layering is one short sleeve shirt, one long sleeve, and a 1/4 zip over the top.  If I get too warm, I just peel off a layer.  

Layer up for that long run.

Change when you go for a run

Do you like to run early in the morning?  Are you a late night runner?  In the winter, the best time is midday.  This may not be possible for many, but I try to go to work early and stay late so I can get in a run in the middle of the day.  This gives me a nice stress relief in the middle of the day and on a nice day, there is nothing better than a midday winter run.

Charlie Apigian has served as the Special Kids Race Director since the race's second year. He brings extensive running and race planning knowledge to the table, along with a heart to serve the kids.

Special Kids RaceComment