What to Wear at Every Temperature
When you go out for a run your body is going to heat up as you get going. The rule of thumb is to dress like it is 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the thermometer says it is. But that can still be a little ambiguous, and it is very dependent on the actual weather conditions. Weather conditions such as rain, snow, and wind can impact the gear you'll need. In the rain or snow it would be good to dress as if it was 5 to 10 degrees cooler rather than the actual temperature rather than the typical 15 to 20 degrees cooler. When it is windy it would be best to dress according to the wind chill temperature rather than the actual temperature. It can also depend on the type of workout that you plan on doing that day. A hard effort workout will make your body heat up more than an easy run, so you might want to dress a little cooler for a hard workout.
You know what they say, good winter training makes for spring PRs. Winter is a tricky season to dress for, it can be cold, it can be wet, it can be icy. Of all of the season winter running requires the most gear and preparation. Make sure you have good winter gear for the worst of conditions!
< -10 ˚F
Opt inside! Temperatures below -10 ˚F can be dangerous to be outside in especially is you get stuck somewhere and can't find shelter. I recommend using the treadmill or an indoor track when things get this cold.
-10 ˚F to 20 ˚F
Some people might not be super comfortable running outside at this temperature, but I normally head outside at any temperature above -10, unless there is a strong windchill. When it's this cold out I try to layer up. It's better to be a little warm and have layers to remove rather than be too cold for the entire run. Must haves for temperatures this cold are:
Thick Base Layer: pick a base layer that keeps you warm but is breathable. I like to wear the kind of base layer you would wear skiing or snowboarding
Medium/Heavy-weight Jacket: I like to have a fleecy athletic jacket when it's really cold, this will keep you warm, but still be breathable.
Windproof and Rainproof Layer: When it's really cold out, make sure you have a layer that's wind and precipitation proof. If it starts snowing or gets windy you'll really need this layer. If it’s a sunny and cold winter day you may not need to wear this layer your entire run, but you can just take it off if you do start getting too warm.
Thermal Fleece Tights: Have a good pair a warm tights for extreme cold temperatures. If it's too cold, you might want to wear a second layer of tights.
Neck Gaiter: When it's this cold you'll want to protect you face and neck. I like to wear a fleecy neck gaiter to keep my face and neck warm.
Heavy-weight Gloves: I prefer mittens when its super cold because it lets your fingers stay close together and I feel like they are generally warmer than traditional gloves.
Heavy Socks: I like to wear merino wool socks when its cold out, sometimes I will layer them with a pair of regular socks as well. Keeping your feet insulated and warm is crucial at these temperatures.
Knit Hat: You'll need to keep you ears warm when temperatures are this low.
20 ˚F to 30 ˚F
I would say that this is when it starts to get more comfortable to run outside. Of course if it's snowing or windy be prepared for those weather conditions. If it's not snowing or windy you can get away without a second jacket at these temperatures. I wear a lot of what I would wear at colder temperatures for these temperatures, but less layers. Must haves for this temperature range are:
Thick Base Layer: At these temperatures I still wear the same kind of thick base layer as I would if it was colder.
Medium-weight Jacket: I like these tight knit fleecy athletic jackets for these temperatures. They are warm enough to keep you warm on their own at these temperatures, but if it is raining or snowing you should definitely wear a waterproof layer as well.
Thermal Fleece Tights: At these temperatures, you'll still need to wear your warm and thick thermal tights, but you most likely won't need to double up.
Neck Buff: I still like to have something to keep my neck warm when its 20 or 30 degrees. I think a fleecy neck gaiter is too warm for these temperatures, but I a regular buff is great for these temps.
Medium-weight Gloves: I like medium weight gloves on "warmer" winter days. Gloves these are fleecy, but not too thick.
Heavy Socks: I still like merino wool socks when it's in the 20's. They'll keep your toes warm and dry!
Knit Hat: It's still important to keep you ears warm when it's in the 20's
Every runner loves the spring and fall. It's race season! Bring on all the cool weather races! Spring and fall have the most ideal running weather with less erratic and extreme weather conditions.
30 ˚F to 40 ˚F
Early spring brings nice cool mornings that are perfect for light layers. When it's in the 30's I would still still to long sleeves and tights, but just wear lighter layers.
Technical Long Sleeve: This is when I start to switch from thicker base layers to thinner base layers. You'll want a long sleeve made of technical material so it is breathable and wicks sweat.
Light-weight Jacket: This weather is perfect for lighter weight jackets. You'll still want a jacket that is tight knit enough to keeps you comfortable if it gets breezy, but breathable and sweat-wicking as well.
Tights: a medium-weight pair of running tights will serve you well during the spring and the fall. Thick enough to keep your legs from getting too chilly, but not so thick that you'd over heat.
Light-weight Gloves: A thin pair of light-weight gloves are perfect for these temperatures. I like gloves made of a thin technical material. These will keep your hands warm for the beginning of your run, but are small and easy to store if you end up not needing them later into you run.
Hat: I would say you could go either way on a hat at these temperatures. You could go with a knit hat or a trucker hat. If you run a little warmer, I would go with a trucker hat or no hat, but if you run a little colder, I would wear a knit cap.
40 ˚F to 50 ˚F
Every runner loves these temperatures. The feeling of the cool morning air on your face as you head out for a perfect morning run.
Technical Long Sleeve: This is perfect long sleeve weather. I prefer light and soft long sleeves for this weather, no need for anything too thick.
Shorts: I prefer shorts and long sleeves at these temperatures, but if you run a little colder you might want to pick a pair of light-weight tights.
Trucker Hat/Ball Cap: I'm all about trucker hats. They're good for keep sun out of your eyes and they keep the hair out of your face. If you have a hard time keep your hair out of your face on a run, you might want to pick up a hat!
Summer running is nice and simple when it comes to what to wear. Typically its shorts and tank top weather all of the time! If you're running a hard effort or a run over 60 minutes you should bring water or know where water fountains are when it starts to get hot.
50 ˚F to 70 ˚F
Tank Top: I'm not much of a t-shirt person, it's either long sleeve or tank top. I like to make sure my tank tops are breathable and lightweight.
Shorts: Anything over 50 degrees is definitely shorts weather in my opinion. Shorts will keep you comfortable and cool when the weather gets warmer.
Trucker Hat/Ball Cap: I basically will wear a hat for every run. If its sunny you might want to wear sun glasses to protect your eyes too!
Anything over 70 feels pretty warm to me. The ideal temperature to run in for most people 50 degrees, so 70 is definitely hot for running. Once it gets this hot out I normally just stick to a sports bra and shorts. If I'm doing an easy effort I might wear a tank top.
Just a Sports Bra: This is when the weather starts to feel hot when you're running. If I'm doing a hard effort run and it's over 70 degrees, it's definitely a sport bra day.
Shorts: Like I said before, anything over 50 is shorts weather.
Trucker Hat/Ball Cap: Hats are especially great for when it's hot and sunny because they'll shield your face from the sun and act as a sort of sweat band. I would bring sunglasses on a run that is super sunny as well.