As the temperature continues to drop, it can get a little harder to get outside for your runs. When I open my weather app and see anything 40* or below, I begin to shiver just a little bit. However, choosing the right attire will help create your own personal micro-climate allowing you to feel comfortable and warm. The general rule of thumb is to dress as if it 20* warmer outside than it is to help ensure you do not overdress. You should be a little chilly at the start – if you are comfortable the moment you step outside you are going to regret all of your clothing choices a half mile in.
One of my favorite purchases I made a few years ago are my running vests. I have one that is very lightweight that I use to protect against moisture or wind and then I have one that is heavier to really help beat those cold temps. I like running in a vest because it allows freedom of movement and breath-ability while keeping my trunk warm. I HIGHLY recommend picking up a vest or two as we head into the winter months. Also make sure you have warm gloves and headgear because if you keep your head and hands warm, it will help beat the elements!
Below are some basic guidelines for picking cold weather gear. Always listen to your body and do not be afraid to head home if you begin to feel too cold!
- Base Layer– The innermost layer is responsible for transporting moisture away from the skin and transporting it to the outer layers. Synthetics like polypropylene are the ideal material due to their moisture-wicking property and will keep you drier than any other material. The garment should fit snugly without constriction and seamless garments reduce rubbing.
- Mid Layer– The mid layer is responsible for insulation and for continuing the transport of moisture to the outer layer. Wool and synthetic fibers create small air spaces which allow one to retain their body heat. A quality fleece is a good choice because it can retain heat under wet conditions, dry quickly, and permit ventilation.
- Outer Layer– The outer layer is responsible for protection from the elements and dispersing of excess moisture. For dry conditions- a breathable wind or soft shell is the garment of choice. For more severe conditions- a waterproof breathable membrane or laminate shell is a better fit. Gore-Tex and nylon have the best reputation to help protect you from the elements.
- Heads, Hands and Feet– More than half of your body heat can be lost from your head and your extremities. Try to reduce the amount of exposed skin the best that you can in order to retain body heat and reduce the risk of frostbite in extreme temperatures. Hats, gloves, and buffs are all essential pieces of cold weather running gear.
What are your favorite go to cold weather gear?