It has been said that there is no bad weather, just bad gear. Some would probably disagree on the bad weather bit, but with the right gear it really is possible to dress for a run even on the coldest of winter days. How you dress for cold weather can definitely make or break your run. What does it require to become a winter warrior and be prepared for any weather Mother Nature throws at you? It just takes a little planning ahead… and the right gear, of course.
The first rule of thumb, when it comes to running outdoors, is to dress for temperatures 10 – 20° warmer than it actually is. You should be slightly cool when you start. Once you begin running, your body will warm up and wearing too many clothes will leave you sweaty and uncomfortable.
Layers are the magic of winter running. Not only is heat trapped between the layers, keeping you warmer, but wearing thin layers gives you the ability to shed a layer if you do get too warm. On your feet, two pairs of thin synthetic or wool socks will keep your feet warmer and drier than one pair of thick socks. Upper base layers, such as those made by Craft, go a long way keeping you comfortable in the cold. An outer shell or windbreaker is imperative to protect you from the wind and elements – it will help release moisture from the body while keeping the rain / wind / snow out!
Covering as much exposed skin as possible is also important. Do not leave for a winter run without a hat and gloves! Gear has come such a long way in a short time – women can even find hats to cover their head and ears, but with a very helpful hole for their ponytail! How cool is that? The rule of layering works with gloves too. On the coldest of days, a liner glove under a mitten will keep your fingers toasty warm. Vaseline will help protect the areas of skin that might still be exposed.
Safety is always something to consider, no matter what season you are running in. With the shorter hours of daylight in the winter, many runners end up running in the dark more often. Make sure to wear reflective gear and carry or wear a light so that you can see and be seen. Hydration is still important in the winter months, and while an icy cup of water may not sound appealing, your body is still losing water through sweat that needs to be replaced
Now that you are armed with all the tools you need to dress for colder weather, get out there and enjoy the faster times that cooler weather brings! Before you know it the summer heat and humidity will be here, and you’ll find yourself longing for the cold winter days again.