I remember one of the first moments that I fell in love with cold weather running. It was a sunny yet chilly November morning in Northwest Indiana, just a week or so after my first half marathon. I bundled up and ventured outside, refusing to move my running to the treadmill just yet since the ground was snow-free.
My run averaged near my half marathon pace, yet felt effortless. The cold air invigorated my lungs, which had been too accustomed to stuffy inside air this time of year. I felt the early winter blues fall off of me with each step. I could have run for hours.
I had also finally figured out how to dress appropriately for 20 degree running temperatures. While I had been running for years in the brutally cold Midwest, I had always stuck inside for my winter workouts. But then the right gear transformed my running: stretchy running tights that didn’t hinder my stride, wicking base layers, breathable gloves, and warm jackets.
I may have a red nose and messy hair after all of my winter runs, but the right gear always has me finishing those chilly runs with a smile on my face!
I really don’t care about fashion when I’m out on the run (although cute colors and beautiful designs are appreciated!). Function matters to me, especially in winter.
I purchase high-quality cold weather running clothes because they enable me to run safely and comfortably during the winter months. Because while winter running is wonderful, it does have it’s downsides: frigid wind chills, bitingly cold winds, snow, and less daylight (or barely any sunshine if you live in the PNW!).
Without the proper cold weather running gear, you risk unnecessary discomfort, numb hands and feet, or worst case, hypothermia. Even though you will be generating extra heat from running, it’s not enough to keep you warm in freezing temperatures.
From a performance perspective, cold weather running can actually dampen your pace or endurance unless you are properly outfitted. When your skin is exposed to cold, the surface temperature can actually lower by 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit – which in turn restricts blood flow and oxygen delivery to your working muscles. That’s not to mention how the cold can make your joints and muscles feel stiff and sluggish. Your favorite shorts and singlets from summer and fall running simply won’t suffice in winter.
But that doesn’t mean that you should stay inside and opt for the treadmill all winter long. Running outside in winter offer numerous benefits for your physical and mental health, including minimizing holiday weight gain, preventing seasonal affective disorder, and keeping you fit for your upcoming running goals of the new year.
Those reasons are why I choose to invest in high-quality cold weather running gear. The right gear has transformed one of my least favorite seasons for running into one of my most favorite seasons for running – and it can do the same of you.
I recently had the opportunity to try Mizuno’s Breath Thermo collection of cold weather running gear. While the temperatures don’t dip as low here in the Seattle area as they do in New England, parts of the Midwest, or the mountain states, the combination endless rain, wind, and little sunshine make winter mornings quite chilly. High-quality cold weather running gear is important for staying warm and dry during winter runs, especially when it’s raining.
I tried the Mizuno Women’s Breath Thermo Base Layer Crew in a beautiful shade of blue. The Breath Thermo technology is intended to generate heat to keep you warm on cold runs. The shirt also features reflective gear, because cold weather running often means running in the dark due to shorter daylight and (if you live where I do) a general lack of sunshine.
I am genuinely impressed with the Breath Thermo Base Layer Crew. Even in cold weather, I sweat a good amount. If my base layer doesn’t breathe well or wick sweat, I end up shivering cold because of how the sweat cools against my skin. But if it breathes too much, I end up cold from the inevitable gusts of wind that come off of the surrounding rivers and lakes.
The Mizuno Breath Thermo Base Layer Crew is the happy medium of winter running wear: breathable enough to prevent any sweating during hard workouts, while cozy enough to keep you warm during cold weather runs. This top keeps me warm and dry – no collected sweat or shivering. I wore it on one rainy run (because this is winter in Seattle and there’s at least a drizzle on approximately 4 out of every 5 runs) and it stayed comfortably dry for 4 miles in a light drizzle.
In terms of sizing, the Mizuno Breath Thermo Base Layer Crew was true to size with a comfortable, slim fit. I wear a women’s size small in almost every running brand and the size small in this shirt fit me very comfortably. The sleeve hit right at my wrists and the hem at my hips – and I’m 5 foot 9 with a long torso., so this means that the sleeves and torso length will fit comfortably on most people. I don’t like baggy shirts for running, so I appreciated the comfort and fitted cut of this shirt.
The Breath Thermo Base Layer Crew functions well as a base layer under a jacket for very cold winter running (30 and below) or on its own for chilly runs above freezing.
Without a good pair of gloves on a cold weather run, my hands go numb and will stay cold for the remainder of the day. The Mizuno Breath Thermo Warmalite Glove keeps my hands cold on cold weather runs without making my hands sweaty and clammy. These gloves, much like the Breath Thermo shirt, breathe well and are comfortable to wear for short and long, slow and fast runs alike.
My favorite feature of the Mizuno Breath Thermo Warmalite Gloves was the amount of wrist protection the glove provided. The cuff of the glove extended far onto my wrist- high up enough that my GPS watch strapped over the glove. Those small areas – the wrists and ankles – are most prone to exposure during winter runs because we often overlook them.
These gloves featured a touch screen pad on each forefinger – one that actually worked well! I was able to easily unlock my phone, take photos, and text without removing these gloves. The Breath Thermo Warmalite glove also features reflective coloring for visibility and a small pocket for stashing your keys or other belongings.
I did find that the gloves ran a bit large in terms of sizing. I tried a size small, which bagged a bit around my fingers. Still, bagging is better than too tight of a glove, and the looser fit did leave the option for layering on very cold runs or winter hikes.
Overall, the Mizuno Breath Thermo line offers functional and comfortable cold weather running gear that will make choosing to run outside in winter just a little bit easier.
Disclosure: I received these pieces as part of a campaign for Mizuno Running on behalf of Fitfluential. All opinions expressed are my own.
What’s your favorite thing about cold weather running?
How has good gear made a difference in your running?