Regardless of where you are this winter, hopefully it will include packing your running shoes and hitting the pavement. Mark a new route and enjoy the scenery, the time off from work and most prevalent the change of the winter climate! But regardless of where you are, make sure you dress correctly. If you’re in the below freezing temperatures visiting family back east or enjoying the brisker morning or nights runs out west, dress right for your outdoor runs and exercises.
Just because it’s colder than it’s been the past few fall months, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pack on the layers. There’s no need for multiple base layers, hoodies, jackets, running pants, knee high socks, hats and gloves; simply stick to the basics. Although you might be warm at first, during the start of your run your body temperature will begin to rise and more than likely you won’t want to carry your extra layers nor tie them around your waist.
Dressing properly is all about regulating your body temperature by keeping moisture away from your body and keeping warm while you sweat. A good rule of thumb is to always dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer than it is outside.
Here are a few layers to consider before lacing up this winter:
The Base Layer. The base layer will be in direct contact with your skin so it’s important to have a material that will keep you warm and dry. Good choices in materials are “polypropylene, silk, polyester, Thermax, Thinsulate, and wool” (1), they will be tight fighting and sweat wicking. Try and stay away from cotton materials; cotton will trap the moisture and steal the heat from you and weigh your run down.
The Mid Layer: The mid layer should not be quite as tight as the base layer, but should remain in close contact with it. This layer should still provide sweat wicking materials to bring any moisture to the outer most layers, but should primarily focus on keeping the body insulated and warm. In addition to polyester and wool a great choice of material would be fleece.
The Outer Layer: Finally, the outer layer should provide breathable fabrics to release any excess heat trapped from the inner layers and provide slight cooling. It should protect against the elements and block wind, rain and snow all while allowing moisture to escape. If possible, stronger materials that aid against tears is recommended so no outside force will be able to enter.
Once you determine where and just how cold the climate is you’ll be running in, you can adjust to add more layers, or even remove some. If you do find yourself spending a lot on the essential items to keep you warm, pay particular attention to any washing or cleaning instructions to ensure the longevity of the products.
Another easy way to regulate your running is to add hats, gloves and temperature appropriate socks to your ensemble. They will be the easies and lightest thing to remove and hold onto if you start to over heat. Regardless of where you run, “sunscreen, sunglasses, and lip balm with SPF are still a good idea, even if you’re running under cloudy skies. The sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds,” (2). As the days become darker earlier during the morning and night, it is also smart to dress in clothing with reflective materials to be seen regardless of the light outside.
Above all, stay fit and healthy this winter and don’t let the cold weather hold you back!