How Many Layers To Wear While Running In Winter
How Many Layers To Wear While Running In Winter
We all look for that excuse to not go for our daily run, but we know we’ll feel better if we do. Unless you’re a bear, there’s absolutely no excuse to hibernate in your lair. Running in winter is not only good for you, the cool air is also incredibly invigorating.
The key to successfully enjoy your daily exercise, even in the depth of winter, is wearing the right layers of clothing. This begs the question, how many layers should you wear while running in winter, keeping in mind, that warmth is important, but so is your comfort.
The Base Layer
The base layer is obviously the layer directly covering your skin. Many people swear that cotton is the best, but cotton absorbs moisture. Your sweat will cling to you and if it’s really cold, you’re going to feel a nasty chill. Running experts recommend a lightweight base layer shirt and tights that wick moisture away. If you stay dry, you’ll feel warmer.
The Insulating Layer
When we think of an insulating layer, we think of warmth. An insulating layer of clothing should include jackets and hoodies. These layers should be made of soft, comfortable fabrics like fleece or wool that allow you to move freely while trapping heat around your body.
The Running Jacket
You can really choose any type of jacket you like, but a running jacket has been specifically designed for runners. The main feature of running jackets is that they are insulated, yet breathable and they should give you freedom of movement. The other features to look for in a running jacket are their resistance to wind and rain. If your core stays dry and warm, you are less likely to cut your run short and run indoors.
The Running Vest
Many runners loathe anything constricting on their arms so this is where the running vest is a winner. It works in much the same way as a running jacket, but your arms are free while your torso or core, stays nice and warm. Running vests are also ideal when the weather is cool, but not too cold.
Running Tights / Heat Capturing Tights
Running in winter is best when you have as little skin exposed to the elements as possible so keep your legs covered with running tights. These can be worn under track pants or on their own. Many brands of running tight also have thermal properties so they capture the heat and keep it close to your body. These thermal or heat capturing tights are also popular with hikers.
Don’t just grab any old pair of socks from your sock drawer, especially for running in winter. In many cases, you may be running through rain or snow so wet feet are a possibility. Look for proper thermal socks that won’t absorb sweat and will wick moisture away from your feet. Cold feet are the biggest cause of misery in winter so keep them warm.
Most of the heat from our bodies escapes from our heads so keep the heat where it’s needed with a hat. A wool hat may seem like a good idea, but wool absorbs sweat and can feel itchy on your skin. Invest in a beanie style hat specially designed for running. The fabric should be soft, comfortable and wick moisture away from your head. Choose a hat in a brighter color too, so you’re more visible to passing motorists.
If you really don’t like wearing hats, earmuffs or a thick headband will work just as well. Stick to headgear that has been specifically made for runners and athletes. These have been made with materials using technology that keeps you dry and warm thanks to moisture-wicking properties.
There is no point in bundle up against the chilly winds of winter and leaving your neck exposed. It’ll be even worse if it’s raining or snowing because the moisture will inevitably trickle down your back and neck. A lightweight scarf is a must, particularly if you live in a very cold climate with sub-zero winter temperatures. Don’t get anything too long though, or you may find it an annoying distraction. The beauty of a scarf is that you can adjust it around your neck, face and head to where it is most needed.
Freezing fingers are the worst. Sure, you can keep running but your fingers are usually going to be the first part of your body that feels the cold. It may not be such a big deal while you’re running, but try answering your smartphone or fumbling with your house keys when you can’t move your fingers. A good pair of running gloves are a must for regular runners, especially in the colder months. The best news is that glove manufacturers have moved with technology and many of their gloves have touch-screen compatible fingertips so you can change your playlist or make a call without exposing your fingers.
The main thing to consider with running shoes is moisture control. You want your running shoes to wick away sweat from within, but also repel water from the outside. There are many different types of running shoes available that are specifically useful during the cold, wet winter months and if you are an avid runner, you probably already have different running shoes for different seasons.
A General Rule Of Thumb
The layers you wear while running in winter will depend on how cold the outside air temperature is. As a general rule, you should follow the guidelines below:
10 – 12°C – This is still quite warm, especially when you’re running. You can get away with running shorts or tights, with a running shirt. Tie a lightweight jacket or hoodie around your waist in case you feel cold.
5°C – Running tights and long sleeves are a must. Preferably made from thermal or technical fabrics. A wind or rainproof running jacket is also a must, even if you tie it around your waist until you need it.
0°C – Thermal running gear is recommended so pull on those base layers. You should also have gloves with you when the air temperature drops this low.
-2°C or lower – It’s time to pull out all the stops and bundle up. This means base layers, insulating layers, jackets, gloves, hats, the works.