It’s official! The chilling winds and glittering flakes of winter are here. With the holiday season ended, we’re left with healthy New Year’s resolutions and a gloomy season to discourage us from following through. Not to mention, the feasts and treats of family gatherings may have left us less than energetic.
Running is a great solution to seasonal sadness. Not everyone has the convenience of a gym or even the drive to navigate through winter weather to get to one. However, even in less than ideal conditions, outdoor running is still a great option. The usual reaction to the idea of running in the cold is discomfort: we imagine running with our teeth chattering and hands and toes freezing or overheating. Like most occasions, it’s just the fear of unknown territory and doesn’t have to be the case. Outdoor running can be great even in the cold months; it just takes a different approach.
1. The Basics
There are different ways to dress depending on the body and the weather. However, the rules of visibility still apply. In case of traffic or any accident happening, you should still wear clothing that offers visibility with reflectors or bright colors.
2. Base and mid-layer
If you’re new to running in cold weather, it’s important to know how to layer so that you run comfortably. The best way to layer is to use sweat-wicking, warm material with long sleeves for both the base layer and the mid-layer. The last thing you want Is a material that soaks up sweat like cotton. It would only leave your skin wet and more vulnerable to the cold. Merino wool is a solid option since it’s both sweat-wicking and warm.
3. Outer Layer
For the outer layer, use a lightweight wind-resistant, water-resistant, or weather resistant piece. Avoid waterproof material because they trap heat and moisture inside your clothes with no way to escape. This can cause overheating and exhaustion. A vest or jacket normally suffices.
4. Run cold vs. Run Warm
If you run cold, meaning you don’t warm up well from running, you may prefer a jacket over a vest. If you run warm (you warm up well during a run) you may prefer a vest or a lightweight piece that can be taken off and easily carried on your body during your run. If you plan to take the outer layer off after warming up, avoid pieces that you’ll have to carry by hand. It would inconvenience your run.
5. Accessories and footwear
Your other limbs like your feet and head are just as important. Athletic, cold-run socks can keep your feet warm while wicking away sweat and letting them breathe. Gore-Tex trail shoes offer good traction and warmth in the snow and on ice. Consider keeping your head warm with an athletic headpiece. Keep your hands warm with gloves with moderate insulation so that they don’t overheat.
Now you have the knowledge you need to take on a winter run. Good luck!