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On the run: Dress properly for wintertime running
It’s always important to stay comfortable while running, even when the weather is frigid. The key to cold-weather running is conserving energy. If you’re not dressed well enough, your body will waste energy trying to stay warm. If you wear too many layers, your body will experience excess heat and you’ll sweat like a pig.
Too many layers is the problem I often see here — way too many runners overdress for winter running. On a cool morning, I might wear shorts, a light jacket, gloves and a beanie. Many of the other runners I see on the trail that day are dressed like they would be comfortable on Mount Everest.
Your body naturally produces heat while you’re running, so you don’t need the same amount of clothes you would if you were walking. Depending on how long I intend to run, I usually dress as if it were 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature.
Granted, I might be chilly during the first few minutes, but I generally find this plan to keep me at a comfortable temperature while running.
There isn’t one set rule that will work for all runners. Besides wearing multiple light layers so you can add or take off as needed, you must find your comfort level. You should keep track of certain data and log what you wore on a few cold runs.
I did this when I moved from Oklahoma to Colorado because 30 degrees here feels much different than 30 degrees in Tulsa.
I wrote down the temperature, what I wore and how I felt (too cold, too hot, just right). After a few runs at varying temperatures, I was able to figure out what to wear at any given temperature to run comfortably.