November 14, 2013

Running In the Cold – What To Wear?

By Marek

How Cold Is It?

Generally, I am a person who loves warm, dry weather. Not scorching, not humid but a comfortable warm. That applies to general activities. For running on the other hand, nice crisp morning cool and dry weather is just right. Add in nice sunshine in the distance and I could not ask for more.Autumn But where I live, the weather is not always this nice. Autumn is now in full swing and temperatures are reaching the freezing point. So what to wear as the frost lines the ground?

Layers – Could This Be the Answer?

Not being a fan of the cold, I do not like being overly wrapped up either – especially when doing physical activities. Solution – layers. This being my first winter running season, I will be definitely experimenting with different options. Mainly I concentrate on the upper body, as I find that the legs don’t mind the cold and are comfortable in shorts even around the freezing mark (will have to consider thermal underwear as temperatures drop). But the upper body, that is a different story. I like my movement to be free, and so far, putting on a thermal t-shirt, with another t-shirt on top as the middle layer, finally a tank top, seem to do the trick – even in windy conditions. Yes, the arms are cold but as long as my shoulders are covered, I am happy.

Freezing Tips!

What about the fingers you ask? Well, on a couple occasions where the temperatures dropped below the freezing point, I did regret not having gloves on. The water bottle which I carry in my hand served as a source of heat for the first 15 minutes. It took nearly 20 minutes for the blood to circulate and warm up my hands but then it was fine. However, gloves are on my list of things to buy for winter running. On the other end, the feet and toes are still comfortable in the socks and shoes. Looks like from the movement and constant friction they get enough heat in.

Will Not Dare To Leave the Hat Behind

When I was leaving home for my first half marathon, the item I remembered last minute to take, was a hat.I grabbed an old hat thinking that if during the run I will not need it, I can just chuck it away. It stayed on throughout. The race was in early March with only a couple of degrees above freezing so the hat was a life saver. Now I know why all this time parents and grandparents tell the kids to make sure and wear a hat. Never did I appreciate it more than during cold morning runs. To me, a hat is more important than a jacket.

Living in England, the winters are mild and extreme cold spells are very rare. It would be interesting to hear from those who do run in heavy snow and very low temperatures. For those, who are stepping out now to run in near freezing temperatures, I recommend layers on top, gloves on the hands and a hat to keep the head warm!