Cold weather running gear: What you need to know before heading out the door

Cold weather running gearAs soon as it hits below 40 degrees, many runners hibernate and head to the gym for the winter.  We think they’re missing out.  In fact, winter is actually one of our favorite times to run outside.  The paths are less crowded and the air is fresh.  There’s a stronger sense of accomplishment when you get out from under your warm covers and check a morning run off your list on a freezing cold day.  It’s exhilarating.  It’s empowering.  It’s also an easy transition, if dressed properly.  Here are our tips for cold weather running:

Dress for 20 degrees warmer: When you start your run, your body will warm up about 20 degrees. So, if it’s 20 degrees out, dress as if it’s 40.  You may shiver for a second when you walk out the door but you’ll be much happier within minutes when you’ve hit the pavement and your temperature rises.

Keep it light and tight: Though your instincts may say wear heavy and loose clothing when it’s cold, you’re right to go lightweight and tight.  Instead of one heavy coat, for instance, layer up with a few lightweight items. You’ll find it more breathable and you’ll appreciate having the ability to remove a layer if you start to warm.  You’ll also be much more comfortable in running tights vs sweatpants as they, too, are more breathable and lighter. So, if it’s 10 degrees outside, 2 lightweight long-sleeve breathable shirts and running tights should do the trick.

Accessorize: Good news, accessories can now be used for fashion AND function! When it comes to running accessories, the same rules apply: light and breathable will work to your benefit.  Running gloves will keep you from shivering and will also keep your hands from getting dry.  When it’s really cold, we prefer mittens.  They keep the heat from dissipating from your body and keep your body even warmer.  Hats will also keep you from getting too chilly on your run. In fact, we find ourselves removing them half way through our runs.  If you find that you do warm fairly quickly, ear bands are another excellent solution.  We especially appreciate them protecting our ears on windy days!

Speaking of windy days, there are several elements to keep in mind when it comes to winter runs.  If it is windy, put a layer of Vaseline on your cheeks and lips to protect your exposed skin from the elements.  Also be sure to wear bright clothes or reflectors as it is more likely to be dark out on your morning and evening runs.

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