How to Layer Comfortably for Fall Running

Text by: Kelsey Begg

Arc’teryx, Dynafit, Icebreaker, Kari Traa, Mountain Hardwear, MyPakage, Running, Salomon, The North Face, Under Armour. How to Layer Comfortably for Fall Running

Running in the fall isn’t quite the same as heading out for a run in the summer time. When the temperatures drop slightly, the air feels crisp and fresh and although it’s often more refreshing, it’s a good time to add a few extra layers. When you run, you perspire and if you’re not layered correctly, that perspiration can leave you feeling damp and more vulnerable to catching a chill. Starting your fall season with a runny nose and scratchy throat isn’t ideal.

When we talk about running in fall temperatures, we’re talking about running in 5°C to 10°C. Depending on where you live, your fall temperatures may fluctuate. Below will give you a ballpark idea of the ideal layers for three temperature ranges.

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fall running 2

Running in Temperatures Between 10°C & 15°C

Late spring and early fall temperatures can hover around ten and 15 degrees Celsius which are reasonable for a run outside. During these temperatures, multiple layers aren’t necessary although, if you are a person who often feels on the cold side, an additional layer or two can do the trick. 

Running in a basic pair of shorts or leggings with a T-shirt is perfect. make sure you choose materials that are moisture-wicking and quick drying. This will eliminate any chance of catching a chill if you stop for a water break to take in the view.

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Women’s Motus Crew 

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Women’s Alpine Short

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The North Face

Men’s Longline FlashDry™ Crew

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If you tend to feel cold, a light long sleeve is just enough to take off the chill but not too much that you are overheating. You can either choose to wear a light long sleeve over a tank or simply forget the tank top and choose a long sleeve for your top layer.

Long sleeve base layers are great options if you are choosing just one layer for the top. If you’re pairing a light long sleeve with a tank, opt for something breathable and quick-drying like the Icebreaker Quantum Long Sleeve.

fall running

Running in Temperatures Between 5°C & 10°C

Mid-fall when the leaves start to change colours and Sunday night chilli dinners with the family start kicking off, the air is crisp and very fresh. It’s time to fold up the shorts and retire them for next spring and break out the running tights and leggings. If you’re a “shorts or go home” type of person, don’t worry, you can probably still comfortably wear your favourite shorts.

Our core is the main source of body heat and once it’s getting cold, the rest of your body can begin to feel cold too. Therefore, keeping your core warm and dressing in insulating layers is crucial. Pair a breathable jacket or windbreaker with a breathable and moisture-wicking first layer for the best results. You can choose a t-shirt or long sleeve for the first layer, although a long sleeve maybe is a better option depending on the thickness of your jacket or hoodie. 

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Women’s Oasis LS Crew

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louise tights

Kari Traa

Women’s Louise Tights

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Mountain Hardwear

Men’s Ghost Lite Jacket

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In these temperatures, you’re teetering on the fence between gloves or glove liners and going without. If you get cold hands, grabbing a pair of gloves before heading out the door will be a good choice. Again, choose something that is made of a breathable and moisture-wicking fabric like the Icebreaker Quantum Gloves so that when your hands perspire you don’t end up with wet gloves. 

fall running 3

Running in Temperature Between 0°C & 5°C

If you are still running before winter rolls in with sub zero digits, gloves, toques and warm layers will be your best friends. Layer up in running pants, leggings or even base layers on the bottom. You want warm layers that will regulate your body temperature once you have warmed up and are on the move. If you are choosing running pants, ensure that you aren’t picking a thick pair of sweatpants that will surely be too warm once you get going.

For your core, you want to start with a base layer, ideally a long sleeve, and choose a warm jacket or hoodie to go over the top of that. This hoodie or jacket should be of a medium thickness, just enough to keep you warm but not so much that you are overheating. Remember that once you start running, your body temperature will increase so don’t stress if you’re slightly chilly when you first step outside.

If you find you often get a very cold core, a light vest like the Icebreaker Ellipse Vest is a great addition. Whether you wear it as the second layer or the third, it’s added warmth. 

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Women’s Ellipse Vest

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ua heatgear tights

Under Armour

Women’s UA HeatGear Colour Blocked Ankle

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Don’t forget your fingers and head. Grab a moisture-wicking toque, some gloves and a neck warmer. If your jacket has a high collar, a neck warmer may or may not be necessary. You want to preserve your body heat and keep it close to your body, so the more of your body that is covered, the higher the chance is that you’ll remain warm.

It is important to remember that everyone’s body is different and reacts to cooler temperatures differently. If you are someone that often feels warm, you may be able to get away with a lighter layer or remove one completely. If you are the opposite, you may need to add an additional layer in order to keep warm.


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