If you are planning to run during the winter months, you may be wondering what the essential running gear for cold weather is. The proper gear for cold weather does not need to be expensive, but should be adequate to ensure you stay warm without overheating. In this way, you can have an enjoyable run while focusing on your training and fitness goals, instead of how cold you are.
- Undergarment Layer: Dress in layers made out of materials that will keep the moisture away and are breathable, like silk and synthetics. This layer should cling close to the body to keep you warm without being too bulky.
- Clothes: Don’t overdress, but wear several light cotton layers. If you feel hot after dressing for a run, then take some layers off. You should feel a little bit cold when you step outside before a run; this will ensure you feel comfortable after a few miles and do not get too warm. Make sure your layers are easily removable, and try to find a jacket and pants with side zippers you can open to regulate your body heat. Your last layer should be weather-proof to provide resistance against humidity.
- Hats, gloves or mittens: These are essential for cold weather runs. Over 50% of our body heat is lost through the head; protect yourself by wearing a hat. Your ears need protection as well; use earmuffs if your hat does not cover them well. Wear gloves or mittens. Mittens provide better protection and are easier to remove.
- Shoes & Socks: Consider wearing shoes that are a half size too big so you can wear thermal socks. These should be cotton to absorb sweat and provide comfort. Replace them every 300 to 500 miles, or as needed. Running shoes need to be in good condition to protect your knees from injury and to grip the floor in icy conditions.
- Accessories: Avoid wearing headphones when running in the dark, and wear clothing with reflective strips so motorists can see you. A fuel belt or hydration pack is important, even in cold weather. While you won’t sweat as much as when you run in the heat, you must still replenish the fluids you lose through sweat. For daytime runs, use UV protecting sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses to protect you from the sun and the hard wind that is characteristic of the winter
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