What do you suggest I wear to run outside in this weather?
- A Syracuse runner
Dear Syracuse runner,
We get it -- it's crappy outside! It's cold and snowy and slippery. Not ideal training conditions but for many of us, the treadmill is a last resort. Here are some tips, some obvious, to make it easy to stay outside.
Wear the right numbers of layers. Like considering cannolis while on a diet, less is more. Your body will heat up as you work out. That's partly why it's called a warm-up. One of the worst feelings is to be out on a longer run stripping off clothes and trying to find places to stash them. A good rule is to dress for slightly warmer weather than what's actually out there. For me, I say if I feel uncomfortably cold standing around, I've got the right layers. I won't be standing so it works. But most importantly is to make sure you're wearing performance fabrics such as wool or polyester. Cotton will absorb moisture and you'll be cold and damp. Gross!
Over the years I've identified four levels of warmth. From warmest to coldest they are: ha the sun's out, kinda chilly, beardsicle and probably shouldn't be here. With "ha the sun's out" I wear a performance base, aka runderwear, under running pants or tights. On top I usually wear a short or long base with a lighter jacket/quarter zip. At "kinda chilly" I keep the bottom the same but the top changes; long-sleeve base under a thermal jacket (some with and some without wind-blocking panels.) At "beardsicle" things get interesting, usually base below but now the fleece-lined or windproof bottoms make their debut. Up top my long-sleeve base goes wool for added thermoregulation. Thumbholes are placed over the gloves to reduce skin exposure. I'll also wear a Buff around my neck and sometimes a hat as well.
Get a Buff! Or another brand's neck warmer. Having just a touch of coverage where your jacket ends goes a long way. And on colder days the neck warmer can be used as a face cover to help you breath easier in the cold air.
When it comes to shoes, consider some with a more aggressive tread. Trail shoes, unless super technical trail shoes with their talon-like outsole, will have a touch more grip to dig into that snow or ice. Many of these shoes come with waterproofing or resistance to keep your feet dry. (Don't forget a wool running sock, too!) Saucony, for example, makes a shoe that has a special snow/slush/ice grip. It's a rubber that has special grit-like material that does a superb job keeping your grip on the road. The shoe also comes with a temperature gauge. There's a white piece of rubber on the bottom that turns blue when it's below freezing.
Do your best to dress for the conditions. And we realize that once in a while the treadmill is a necessary evil. Don't forget that all of us at Fleet Feet Sports are here to help! We can help you find great products that will keep you warm, dry and moving -- no matter what it's doing outside.
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