Cooler weather is coming (or already here…who can really tell with Wisconsin weather?) With the cooler weather, we will still be running outside as long as we can. And we know we have a lot of runners that will run all year long – good for you!
So, what is the best clothing strategy for staying warm, but not overheating or sweating too much in this weather? As a general rule of thumb, dress for mile two of the run, which means expect to be cold walking out the door, but you will warm up, trust me!
Starting from the top down, in temperatures below freezing, wear either a hat or ear warmers of some kind. If it’s really cold (like below 10 degrees) you may want to cover your neck and mouth, at the very least, slather some balm on your kisser.
For layering your core/upper body, start with a wicking t-shirt so that sweat is pulled away from your body. You don’t want to get sweaty and then have that sweat start to freeze. Then, layer with a light jacket. Some people find a fleece layer in between the t-shirt and the jacket is helpful. But avoid cotton t-shirts at all costs!
In temps above 10 degrees usually 1-2 layers is sufficient. In general, 2 layers above 30 and 3 layers above 10 – depending on if you run hot or cold and how much you sweat.
One of your layers should have pockets, specifically for tissues. Real talk here – everyone gets boogers running in the winter and most of us have not mastered the snot rocket yet. You’ll also want gloves or mittens and most people leave them on the whole run, personally, I pull mine off and then shove them in said pockets.
Running tights are a thing and no one really looks good in spandex, it’s okay, you should still invest. The ones with a drawstring are nice so they don’t end up at your knees by the end of the run.
Socks and shoes matter. A lot. Wicking or wool socks are recommended depending on the temperature. Look at the tread on your shoes and make sure that it’s not worn as surfaces are slicker in the winter. Some people run in minimalist shoes in the summer but find their feet get too cold for that in the winter and switch to a shoe with more padding (and hence more stability), which helps on the slick surfaces.
There are also options for such things as Yak Trak or screws in shoes to help with traction, however, if there’s a chance you might get hypothermia from running or split your head open…maybe skip the run that day…
The winter months also bring less hours of daylight. So bring lights if you have them or glow sticks (which making running that much more fun!) Visibility ALWAYS matters.