Did anyone else enjoy watching Clinton Kelly and Stacy London on TLC’s What Not To Wear?
In that same vain, and now that we’ve hit “feels like -1” outside, here are some of my tips for What TO Wear while running in the cold weather:
- Compression tights: If it is in the 30s or below, I pull out my thick, cold weather, compression tights.
- Compression Mock Turtleneck: Once it hits the 30s, my cold weather compression shirts get a lot of action. If it’s in the 20s, the mock turtlenecks are a must! One tip – I have found that tucking at least my first layer of shirt into my running pants is a huge help in keeping my torso warm!
- Fleece: If it’s in the low 30s or below, I add a fleece layer to my compression shirt. My favorite is made by North Face.
- Windbreaker: For me, a long, oversized windbreaker is essential!! If you’ve seen me running in the winter, you’ve seen me in my bright orange/yellow oversized windbreaker. While it’s not the style Clinton and Stacy would recommend, here are my practical reasons for this essential piece:
- Water proof
- Wind resistant
- Long to keep my ‘behind’ warmer
- Air space between the windbreaker and the fleece heats up and provides an extra insulation layer.
- And extra core layer. When your core is warm it readily releases blood to the extremities. When your core gets cold your body’s natural defense is stop sending blood to the extremities and keep it for vital organs and the brain. Therefore the best solution for cold hands and feet is often to heat up your core.
- It has a high neck and hood which can go over head gear and scarves, providing an extra layer.
- North Face Thermal Band: This item goes around my head, keeping my ears covered. (If the temps are in the singles digits or below, I will swap out a my thermal band for a full ski cap, but I really prefer the thermal band, which has better ear coverage.)
- Scarf: If the wind chills are 15 or below, I typically wrap an oversized scarf around my head and face. While a Balaclava would provide the coverage and warmth of a hat and scarf combined, I like the flexibility the multiple pieces give me to layer and remove as my run goes along and I warm up.
- Socks: Surprising, my feet are generally not cold once I start running, so unless it is in the teens, with wind chills below 0, OR there is moisture on the ground, I usually stick with my normal pair of running socks. But, for those occasions when it is that cold and/or there is a thick layer of snow on the ground, I add an extra pair of socks to warm my feet and cover my ankles. I wear my wicking running sock layer first against my feet and then I add a wool knee sock over top. These add an extra layer of warmth to my calves.
- Running Shoes: For the cold weather or wet weather, there are a couple changes or additions I make to my running shoes. If it’s wet outside, even in the summer heat, I pick an older pair of running shoes so I don’t ruin my latest pair. (Wet sneakers stink if you haven’t noticed!) If there is ice or snow on the sidewalks, I go right for my YakTrax, which have steel spikes and coils to provide stability on ice and snow. The YakTrax go over an older pair of running shoes.
- Gloves: I wear different gloves depending on the temperatures. Once the temps get down into the 20s and especially if the “feels like” temp is fierce, I wear two layers of gloves. A smaller tight layer goes on first and then I wear large North Face gloves overtop. Again, the layer of air that gets warmed up in between provides needed insulation and warmth for my fingers, which are generally the body part that gets cold first and has the hardest time warming up. There have been times that even two layers of gloves doesn’t cut it for extended outdoor time and so at that point I add hand warmers in between the two pairs of gloves and also pull my windbreaker sleeves down over my gloves (another benefit of that oversized thing!)
- Smile: There is no doubt I look ridiculous running in sub-zero temps and ice and snow with a million layers. And, while my face may be frozen, which prevents me from looking like I’m wearing a smile… inside I generally am. There is almost never a time I would choose a treadmill run over an outdoor run, even when it’s frigid.
As long as you know What TO Wear, running outside in the cold can be enjoyable!
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