Everyone has figured out how to dress for 40, even 35 degree runs by now, but what about when the temperature really drops? We are lucky enough here in Austin to avoid the truly bitter weather most of the time, but as we’ve seen over the past few days, sub-20 does happen.
Since no true Rogue would let this stop them from getting their run in (right?!?), what should you put on before heading out the door?
Clothing is a very individualized topic, but there are a few general rules to live by:
1. Gloves. The first thing to go is the hands, and keeping them covered will work wonders when it comes to staying comfortable (and it will preserve the ability to unscrew the lid of your water bottle when you finish). If your hands tend to get abnormally cold, double up.
2. Hat. You lose the largest percentage of your body heat through your head – keep it covered! Wear something that will cover your ears – find a hat that can be pulled down, or combine a headband-style ear warmer with a baseball cap.
3. Tights. Some self-proclaimed hardcore runners out there will insist on wearing shorts no matter the temperature, but it really isn’t a good idea when it’s this cold. You will start your run with numb legs and likely run too fast too soon in an attempt to warm up – the perfect scenario for a pulled muscle! Get yourself a good pair of tights. They’ll keep your legs and knees warm and loose without feeling bulky or making noise (a la wind pants). Around here, tights are perfectly acceptable for men.
4. Socks. Like hands, feet tend to get cold, then numb, quickly. Skip the ultra-thin coolmax socks this time and wear something thicker that will create and hold heat. Tech fabrics are best! Again, if your feet get abnormally cold and easily numb, double up here as well.
5. Layers. Always, always layer. No matter how cold it is, you WILL warm up and 9 times out of 10, you WILL want to get rid of some clothing. Everyone is different in their layer requirements and preferences, but it’s always a good idea to think progression – a long tank followed by a tshirt followed by a long sleeve shirt followed by windbreaker, or something of that sort. Generally, you only need to worry about layering the core. Your legs will be fine in just a pair of tights.
6. Technical fabrics. Avoid cotton! You are going to sweat before it’s all over, and the last thing you need is damp clothing against your skin. Cotton will do exactly that – soak up your sweat and stay soaked. Wear clothing – this means tops, tights, socks, gloves and even hats – made of technical fabrics that will wick moisture and keep your skin dry. These types of clothing do cost more, but I promise they are worth every penny!
As a rule of thumb, if you are warm before you start running, you are overdressed. You should feel a bit cold when you first step outside, but know that within a mile you will be comfortable and moving right along, completely unaware (maybe a slight exaggeration) of the sub-freezing conditions.
Have fun out there!