By Jackie Siemon
Running in sub-zero temperatures may seem extreme, but with the right gear, winter running can be tolerated. When running or training outside during the winter it is best to layer your clothing.
Hat – Keeping your head warm when winter running is really important since 10% of our body heat is lost through the head. Wearing a thermal toque or beanie will do the job and they are also small enough to stuff in your pocket if you start to overheat.
Balaclava – In gusty winds and freezing temperatures, the less skin exposed the better. Balaclava’s cover your mouth, which also helps to warm the air before you breath it in. Wool or fleece are great fabrics that will help keep you warm and dry.
Gloves – Gloves or mittens are important to have on your winter run. Look for a pair that has micro fleece inside and wind protection on the outside. If you get too warm, they are easy to tuck into a pocket or tights.
Socks – Look for socks that go above the ankle. Socks that have an absorbent layer that keep your feet dry is essential. Also, double layered socks stop friction keeping feet blister free.
Base Layers – Athletic clothing that wicks moisture away from your body is best. Try and stay away from cotton; it doesn’t evaporate sweat fast enough and can make you cold and wet. Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester are designed to wick sweat away from the skin without absorbing it. Wool absorbs moisture generated between your skin and fabric as you sweat, but it keeps you warmer than cotton when wet.
Jacket – A winter running jacket should be both wind and water resistant with a liner to help keep you warm. Finding a jacket with some reflective tubing is also important so you can be seen in the dark.
Tights – Running tights are essential for all weather running. They can be thin enough to keep you cool in the fall and tight enough to keep you warm in the winter. Compression creates more blood flow in the thigh, which creates warmth. There are also tights specifically made for winter running that are equipped with micro fleece on the inside and wind resistant panels on the thigh area for extra warmth.
We know winter running can be challenging but wearing the right clothing and being prepared for the cold will definitely make your winter workouts more successful.