Excerpts from Dressing For Cold Weather Running by Rick Morris
Used with permission
So why do people who love the outdoors hibernate through the cold months as they wait for spring? Most of the time it’s because people just don’t think they can stay warm. With some understanding of how to prepare for the colder temperatures, and a willingness to venture into the cold, running during the winter season can be fun.
Dressing for cold weather running can be a challenge. If you dress so that you are warm at the start of your run you will probably be over heated at the end. When running in cold weather always remember one word—layers. The layers of clothing will keep you warm by trapping heat against your body. As you generate heat during your run you can remove layers to avoid overheating.
Depending on the weather conditions, you should wear either two or three layers when dressing for cold weather running. Each layer has it’s own purpose.
The purpose of the first layer is to wick moisture away from your skin so be sure to choose a technical (wicking) shirt rather than a cotton shirt.
The second or middle layer should insulate your body and keep you warm. This layer should be made from an insulating material such a fleece or heavy cotton. It should also be able to absorb a small amount of moisture so that it can assist your first layer in keeping your skin dry and warm.
Your third or outside layer is there to break the wind and keep rain or snow away from your insulating and wicking layers. This outside layer should be made from a waterproof material such as Gortex or nylon.
During moderately cold and dry weather you may need only two layers. If it is extremely cold, raining, snowing or windy you should wear the third outside layer. One rule of thumb when dressing for cold weather running is that you should be a bit cold when you start running. As you run you will begin to generate a lot of body heat which will warm you up. If you are comfortable at the start you will overheat rapidly.
Don’t forget about wearing a hat or headband and gloves too for your head and hands. If you have poor circulation in your feet, you can put little warmers in your shoes. I did it last week when it was 20 degrees and it made a big difference! So now get out there and enjoy running during the winter season.
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