Running in the winter requires some special gear in order to stay safe and get the most out of your workout. Fitness companies will try to sell you lots of special, name-brand gear which may or may not be effective or useful. Here is some basic information on essential winter running gear for the upcoming season.
There are lots of fancy names and types of this basic piece of gear. A wool or fleece hat that is lightweight enough to stuff into your pocket if you get too cold should do fine.
A simple wool or fleece scarf can be a versatile piece of running gear. It can warm your neck and prevent frostbite and chapping, but it can also act as an air-warmer if you pull it up over your mouth. It can act as an additional head or ear covering as well.
Depending on your hat’s size and style, you may or may not choose to wear earmuffs with your hat. But if you get too hot for your hat or otherwise don’t have it on during your run, earmuffs will keep your ears warm. It’s a good idea to keep your ears warm – earaches and even dizziness can result from cold wind on and in your ears.
As you dress in layers for your run, experts warn against cotton for a base layer. It tends to get wet with sweat and holds the sweat against your skin. Synthetic fabrics are best for the bottom layer.
Consider a wicking fabric for your middle layer, like wool or fleece.
Depending on the weather, your outer layer may need to be something waterproof. At other times, a fleece or wool jacket will do. Just make sure it’s not bulky and provides weather protection as well as mobility.
If you run where there’s a lot of ice and snow on the ground, you might want grippers for the bottom of your shoes. These rope-like additions to your footwear help you get a better grip and prevent slipping.
Rather than bulky sweats, a lot of runners prefer tights instead. This helps prevent wind resistance and may be more effective at wicking moisture away from your skin.
For women who run in the winter, a good sports bra is helpful. Like your base layer, you sports bra should be made from a wicking material (not cotton), and should offer sufficient support without constriction.
Shorts or Boxers
Wearing an extra layer over your tights can help conserve warmth on your buttocks and upper thighs. Wool is a good material for this “outerwear.”