Bundle Up—And Run On
This probably isn’t news to you, but not all of us are fortunate enough to live in Florida or California, where a chilly run means putting on tights instead of capris or shorts. For most of the country, a winter run means snow, wet, wind chill, ice and other fun weather features that threaten to thwart your miles. Don’t let them; instead, follow these tips:
—Dress like it’s 10 degrees warmer than it really is. You should feel chilly, if not almost cold when you step outside, or you’re going to heat up like an oven within 15 or so minutes.
—Typically, you’ll want one layer on the bottom and two to three layers on top. A pair of thicker winter running tights protects your legs from most everything. (And remember: your legs are doing most of the work, so they’re going to be warm naturally.)
—On top, go for a wicking layer first. Most sports bras are made out of synthetic fabrics, but keep your next layer wicking as well that’ll pull sweat off your hard-working body and move it out into the (cold, cold) world. The second layer can be a lightweight fleece or down, wool, or another synthetic fabric. The final layer, if you need it, should be a lightweight jacket with lots of zippers and mesh inserts so your top half doesn’t “fog up.”
—For maximum climate control, have escape hatches built in, like a zip neck on your shirt, sleeves that can easily be rolled up, mittens that convert to gloves and arm warmers that can be pushed down or pulled up. Hand warmers in your mitts can also be a toasty addition if you're in really cold climates.
—Get wooly. No, not suggesting you let your leg hairs grow long enough for insulation. Instead, invest in a wool running top. It’s true what they say about this natural fiber: It keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. Wool socks—especially ones that cover your ankles—are a must-have for running outdoors in frigid weather.
—Remember accessories. If your extremities are cold, the rest of you will be too. A fleece beanie or headband makes the difference in being comfortable or miserable (cover those ears!). A neck gaiter keeps your neck toasty and warms the air before you suck it in. Gloves or mittens are a must-have (you can always stash them in a pocket if you get too warm). And sunglasses, even if it's not super sunny, can protect your eyes against flakes and drops.
Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell are the authors of Another Mother Runner and official contributors to runDisney.