**Disclosure:  This post in sponsored by Mizuno Running, in partnership with FitFluential.  All opinions are my own.**

Like last year, my goal this winter is to do as much running outside as I possible can.  It sounds a little stupid, really, because I run so early in the morning, it would probably make more sense for me to run on the treadmill.  But, our treadmill in the basement is not exactly great (I bought it at a garage sale for $80, so it is what it is and was an upgrade from our old one) and it’s situated directly below our bed, which means I tend to keep Matt up from 4-5AM when I run on it.  Thankfully, you can’t hear it from the kids’ rooms, but I still worry about waking them up in the middle of the night.

So, I have been doing ALL my runs outside, as long as the weather cooperates.  However, I’m getting a little more nervous about my AM runs now that it’s starting to get colder outside.  I’m starting to worry about snow + ice – we’ve been lucky enough to have warmer-than-normal weather – and really keeping my body warm.  The temps are starting to drop, which means I need to think about what to wear when I run to not only stay warm, but to keep myself from overheating.

I shared this last year, but it’s definitely worth sharing again.  These are general guidelines to follow when it comes to winter running:

The Concrete Runner - Cold Weather Gear (1)

OK, so I have a confession.  I’ve been wearing shorts until it’s below freezing (which has really only been once so far and I still wore shorts because we were in Branson and I didn’t bring any pants to wear).  Part of my reasoning is because I wear compression socks, so really only my mid-thigh to right below my knee is exposed to the air.  But, really, I just REALLY hate running in anything but shorts, which is typically why I end up on the treadmill.

I truly feel like it is really up to YOU as a runner as far as your preference for what to wear when running outside in the winter.  If you are comfortable in shorts, keep wearing shorts!  Some of us might hit that “cold” threshold sooner than others, while there are others who can’t even imagine running in anything BUT shorts, regardless of what the temperature is like.

There are THREE areas of your body that you DO need to worry about though:  your core, your hands, and your head.  Again, this is going to be based on the individual as far as WHEN you need to start wearing gloves and warmer tops, but they are definitely the areas of your body you want to protect from the cold.  Your core and your head are super important for just keeping your body warm in general.  You lose most of your heat from your head and you also don’t want heat escaping from your core (hips, stomach, chest, etc.) since you will tend to get colder faster.  Hands are a little more subjective – I’m someone who could probably start wearing gloves once it hits 60, but others can wait until it’s below freezing out.  Either way, you want to keep your hands warm to avoid weather-related issues, such as hypothermia and frost bitimg_8705e, depending on how long you are outside and how cold the weather is.

Another subjective issue comes as to WHAT to wear.  I know my personal preference, just like wearing shorts as long as possible, is something that is nice and light, similar to something I would wear in warmer weather, but will still keep my core and arms warm.  I don’t want something thick or bulky because I feel like that just weighs me down.  I prefer long sleeve t-shirts, especially ones that are wicking to keep any sweat I might have off my body as to not make me even colder.  My favorite lately is this Mizuno Running BreathThermo base layer crew shirt.  It’s nice and light but still super warm.  I also absolutely LOVE the length of it – it’s a little longer in the front so that it doesn’t ride up and expose my belly, totally defeating the purpose of keeping me warm.  I’ve worn it in below + above freezing temperatures and have felt warm and comfortable on my runs – from short distance runs to my longer runs.

I’m also super picky about what gloves I wear too.  Like I said, I start wearing gloves pretty early in the fall due to my Reynaud’s Syndrome.  If I don’t, my fingers tend to go completely numb and it gets really uncomfortable (don’t get me started on my feet in the winter regardless of if I’m inside, outside, resting, or running).  I prefer to have gloves over mittens as I like to be able to have access to my fingers and don’t like the restricting feeling I get when I wear mittens.  I’m loving the Mizuno Running BreathThermo Warmalite gloves as well – they keep my hands super warm and they have the “touch” finger and thumb so I can still use my phone too!  Matt also gave them a raving review during our race last week (race recap coming next week) because he had no gloves to wear and I have extra.  I was reluctant to give them up, but I was pretty sure he didn’t want to wear my pretty pink gloves.

While I do prefer the cold weather over hot + humid weather, I’m hoping the winter season goes by fairly fast so I can get back to wearing shorts + t-shirts full time again!