While the 2016 racing season may be coming to a close, that doesn’t mean the time for running outside has to end. Don’t let the weather keep you from training outdoors. When it comes to running outside year-round more often than not it’s not the weather that’s the problem, it’s poor gear choices. Here are some guidelines for dressing for outdoor running as we transition from fall to winter:
• Dressing for running in various weather conditions can be a very individual thing. Some runners heat up very quickly and retain a significant amount of body heat, while others require more clothing to maintain a comfortable temperature while running in the elements. Consequently, what works for one runner may not work for another. Through a process of trial and error under various weather conditions you will find the clothing and temperature combinations that work best for you. Keeping track of what you wear and weather conditions, in addition to how you felt (hot, cold, just right), in a training log will help you make wise wardrobe decisions in the future no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.
• Dress as if it were 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. You should feel slightly chilled at the start of the run. Within the first ten to fifteen minutes of your run your body will begin generating heat, increasing your core temperature and typically producing sweat.
• Choose moisture-wicking materials like Merino wool or “tech” fabrics. Do NOT select cotton materials. Cotton retains moisture, not only making your clothing feel heavier, but also increasing the likelihood that you’ll become chilled when you sweat (or step in melting snow or puddles). Moisture-wicking materials pull sweat away from your skin allowing you to maintain a more comfortable temperature. Moisture-wicking materials also dry relatively quickly. A great pair of run-specific moisture-wicking socks can go a long way toward keeping your feet warm, dry and blister-free during the winter run season. Check out some sock options here!
• Dressing in layers is a key part of mastering dressing for running through the seasons. A moisture-wicking base layer that fits close to the body serves as the foundation for your winter running wardrobe. On warmer winter days this piece may be worn by itself with capris or a lightweight pair of running tights or pants. A wind-proof and/or water-proof outer layer may be added in moderate temperatures when wind or precipitation is a factor. Look for outer layers that have optional venting in the back and underarms, or even removable sleeves, to allow for better temperature control. For colder days a third layer, like a fleece, can be added between the base layer and outer layer. Check out some great winter gear here.
• Accessories are an important part of your winter running wardrobe. You can lose up to thirty percent of your body heat through your extremities so a good pair of moisture-wicking gloves and a hat or ear band are essential accessories for running through the winter in comfort. However, a little bit goes a long way. Hats, ear bands and gloves should be fairly thin and made of moisture-wicking material. Sunglasses are also an important accessory in your winter wardrobe. They aid in blocking the sun and reducing the glare reflecting off ice and snow, in addition to protecting your eyes from the elements, particularly wind, sleet and snow. Check out some glove options here or some hat options here.
Don’t let the weather chain you to the dread-mill or stand between you and preparing for winter and early spring races. With the right gear you can run comfortably outdoors all year long.
Live Grit offers a wide selection of run gear to meet your running needs as you train through the seasons. Stop by Live Grit and get geared up for winter training!
Coach Kristan Huenink is a USAT-Certified coach with Grit Endurance, Live Grit’s athlete- inspired training community.