|What to Wear Running Outside in the Cold|
Training in the winter months takes a little extra thought and effort. Here are some tips for staying warm (and safe) when running in cold weather:
The key to successful winter dressing is layering multiple thinner fabrics rather than a single thick layer. Layering allows air to insulate your skin and also tend to be lighter (so you don't feel like a jogging snowball). A nylon wind jacket on the outside layer is really great because you can just twist it up and tie it around your waist if you start getting too warm.
Stay away from 100% cotton in your layer components if you can. Go for wickable technical fabrics that move moisture away from your skin and into the air.
One of the hardest weather conditions to run in is that just above freezing point with rain. What you really want to do here is stay warm AND dry. A decent outer shell that protects you against rain and wind is essential when it's wet. Again, look for a technical fabric specifically made for rain running (sealed seams, etc.) in a technical fabric that will allow for the passage of moisture away from your body.
Head and Face
As you know, heat escapes from your head, so covering it is essential when it's cold. I have a favorite wool hat with ear flaps that my husband brought me from Peru. When I lived back east I wore one of those ski masks that covers up your entire face. Don't be fooled into thinking you can forget the sunscreen in the winter either. Be sure to protect your skin with at least SPF 30...and you may even want to don your sunglasses to protect your eyes from windy conditions (wrap arounds work best)
Hands and Feet
Hilly makes really good running gloves and socks. Don't think you can get away with not wearing gloves when the temps get around freezing. When it's really cold, try mittens covered by shells. Feet are harder to sort out because you don't want your shoes to feel too tight, but you also don't want your toes to freeze. There are a number of lightweight running socks on the market that make a great insulating layer. When you know you are going to encounter moisture on your run, try a very good technical running sock. Wet feet=blisters!