DRESS FOR SUCCESS: THE WINTER EDITION
In the summer running is easy- you just throw on a pair of shorts and a tank top and out the door you go. But when winter hits, the automatic reaction is to head indoors and hit the treadmill.
Winter can get long - really long. But are you doomed to trudge mile after mile indoors for the next few months?
Here at Midnight Runners, we say #$%$ No!
With the right gear you can still get outside, breathe in some of that fresh winter air and - gasp - maybe even enjoy winter!
Not convinced? Read on for our best tips for a proper winter running dress code.
The base layer is what whisks away sweat and keeps you dry so you don’t get cold half way through your run. This could be a dry-fit t-shirt, or even better, a long sleeve shirt. It should be somewhat fitted so you have room to put more layers over top. Look for words like “dry fit” or “moisture wicking” on the label. For the really cold days, a thermal base layer is an even better idea.
Many people find that their legs are less sensitive to the cold than the rest of their body, but it is still really important to keep your legs warm to avoid pulling a cold muscle. Sweatpants can be bulky and other wide-leg pants can get in the way of your stride, so look for a good pair of running tights.
Things to look for with tights:
- Length: if you’re a tall person, make sure you get a pair that are long enough… exposed ankles in the dead of winter is no fun!
- Waist Band: Some tights have a wide waist band, some have a draw-string, the important thing is to:
- a) choose whatever feels comfortable for you, and
- b) choose a pair that won’t fall down: There are a lot of tights out there that are actually meant for yoga and lower-impact activities, and nothing is more annoying than having to hike your tights up every five minutes during your run!
- Thickness: There are a variety of running tights meant for different types of weather and temperatures. Look for tights that indicate on the tag that they are meant for winter. Again, bonus points for thermal tights for those extra-cold days.
Layers: Another benefit of tights is you can add the additional layer of sweat pants or joggers over top if you’re really feeling the chill!
This is when you can use your own discretion- the sky is the limit with how many layers you can add on top of your base layer. The exact material of these layers are less important, as long as they keep you warm. The point of wearing multiple layers instead of one big sweater is that you can remove layers if you get too warm.
Again, for the really cold days, a shirt with a higher neck-line (similar to a turtleneck) is a great way to keep warm, since your neck is an area where you tend to lose a lot of body heat.
Winter days can be blustery, so having a wind-breaking top-layer is a lifesaver. This doesn’t need to be a big warm winter coat, it just needs to be a weather-proof material that acts as a sort of shell to keep you warm and dry.
Socks: You probably don’t want your big wooly socks that your grandmother knitted for you last Christmas, but you do want socks that are thicker than what you might usually wear. It is also helpful if your socks come up higher on your ankle, especially if your tights don’t quite make it all the way down your ankles.
Gloves: The type of gloves you wear are a matter of personal preference. Some people can make it all the way through winter with nothing but some small gloves from the dollar store, but if you find you just can’t keep your fingers warm, try wearing mittens instead, or even layering a pair of small gloves underneath a pair of mittens.
Hats/Headbands: Arguable one of the most important aspects of winter running is keeping your ears covered and your head warm. This can really affect how much you enjoy your run, plus cold wind in your ears can leave you with a pretty nasty ear-ache if you’re not careful. This is another case where you can wear whatever is comfortable for you, but look for materials that won’t get itchy on your head as you start to sweat.
Other: Sometimes it's necessary to cover up more of your face, particularly on the windier days. Scarves, buffs, or even balaclavas come in handy here.
The roads can also be more treacherous during the winter, so it is important to remember to proceed with caution and watch out for patches of ice. If you’re really worried about slipping and falling, investing in a good pair of trail shoes is not a bad idea, since they tend to have more traction.
Winter running requires more preparation, but with the right gear you can still get outside and enjoy the best the season has to offer. After all, what other time of year can you have an impromptu, mid-run snowball fight with your running buddies?
Let’s not fear winter, let’s embrace it.