The winter season can be challenging for many runners but with the right gear, you can still get your daily fix. There’s an old Scandinavian saying that goes something like, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.” That’s especially true when it comes to running in cold temperatures.
How cold you need to dress for your run will vary depending on where you live and the types of conditions you typically encounter. In general, it’s best to plan for temps that are below freezing with some sort of wind. You’ll also need to plan for cold rain and snow. You can always run in sleet and ice, but it’s harder to keep your balance and requires slowing down significantly for safety reasons.
Once you have a general idea of your preferred range of temps, the key to surviving winter runs is layering. You’ll want to make sure your base layers are lightweight, soft and moisture-wicking. Then choose a mid-layer that will add insulation and keep you warm. Then an outer shell or vest will block the wind and help stop precipitation. The best options for your legs are either winter-weight tights or technical running tights with brushed lining to help keep you warm. You’ll need to add a pair of gloves and a hat (or headband) for the coldest conditions.
Running in cold weather will require a few extra layers but you’ll find that it’s more comfortable than you think. It’s not uncommon to feel a little chilled when you first step out the door, but once your body starts moving, it will warm up and that chill will quickly go away. And remember to take a water bottle with you. You’ll sweat much more in cold weather so you need to be prepared to hydrate regularly.
If you’re new to cold-weather running, it’s a good idea to experiment with different outfits until you figure out what works for you. For example, some people’s hands start to get cold as soon as the temperature drops below 20 degrees, while others don’t notice a difference until closer to freezing or even below zero. It’s also important to know when you’ve reached your “shorts point” and need to switch to capris or long tights. If you’re going to be wearing tights, consider getting a pair that are quick-drying and include a built-in moisture-wicking liner. This way, any sweat that accumulates during your workout or race will easily evaporate. This will keep you feeling cool and dry, rather than dripping in sweat all over your clothes at the end of your run. This can really help keep you feeling fresh during your winter training and races. If you’re in need of new cold-weather gear, check out our top picks for runners below.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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