Here’s What You Need To Know Before Running In Winter

If the cold temperatures and gray skies aren’t enough to deter you from your morning run, you’ll want to make sure that you’re completely covered for your trek through the winter weather. Finding the right gear can prove difficult, even for the most seasoned of runners, with many asking questions like “What if I get warm mid run?” and “Is it too cold to keep my hands exposed?”

The first place to start is with moisture-wicking fabrics rather than cotton. According to PureWow, cotton absorbs sweat quickly, and in cold weather, wet clothing makes it difficult to stay warm — even during a sprint session. Check the clothing tag for “cold gear” and look at the materials your gear is made with before you buy, to ensure that the labels match what you need. 

Now that you have the performance wear that’s made for the temperatures you’ll be running in, opt for tight-fitting clothing. Coach Annick Lamar, manager of runner training and education at New York Road Runners, tells the outlet, “In colder climates, wearing running clothes that are close to your skin will trap heat and regulate body temperature,” whereas, “loose fitting layers allow the skin to come in contact with the air and aid in evaporation and cooling thermoregulation.” So tighten up and look for the correct fabric rather than cotton before you hit the pavement.

Running in the cold is only dangerous when you aren't dressed appropriately

Cold-weather running can be invigorating and bring on a sense of euphoria that even the hot-temperature treks can’t. To make the most of those brisk runs, Runner’s World suggests going heavy on the layers during the colder months, so that you can keep yourself safe and comfortable. They explain that dressing this way helps protect your system from hypothermia and other illnesses. Furthermore, as soon as you get back, make sure to take off your wet clothes for the same reason.

The classic rule to follow is to dress like it’s 10 degrees warmer than the temperature that the thermometer reads. “The 10-degree rule accounts for your body heating up during exercise and it will help you select the right amount of clothing for your run,”

Coach Lamar tells PureWow. “You should head out the door knowing you may be slightly cold for a few minutes, but you will be comfortable once your body starts to warm.” Even on your lighter days, adding those 10 degrees will keep you comfortable and safe.

On top of estimating the weather, make sure that your hands are covered in colder temperatures. PureWow explains that your hands will be the quickest to feel the chill, then your arms and then your legs. Grab your gloves, then your sleeves, then onto your leggings. Since your stems are working hard to keep you moving, these are the parts of your body that tend to stay warm the longest.

As always, be smart. If your body is rejecting the cold and you repeatedly have to drag yourself to the door, maybe opt for an indoor workout and give your joints a break.

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