Whether it is hot, cold, or somewhere in between, we’ll always be out there running in the elements. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to what part of the year is preferable for running. Some like to run in the cold and feel the crisp air in their lungs. Others like to feel the summer heat, including all that associated sweat. Whatever your preference, we want to equip you to be the best you can be while out running in the elements!
Braving the Cold
If running in lower temperatures is what gets you going, let’s look at some ways to help keep you warm and safe.
It’s important that your clothing is moisture-wicking. The more sweat that stays on your skin, the quicker your body will get chilled in the low temps. It’s also a good idea to wear layers so you can shed the outer ones as your body begins to warm up. Shoes with minimal meshing will aid in keeping any slush or ice out. Together with warm but moisture-wicking socks, you’ll have dry and toasty feet. The professionals say to dress like it’s 10-20 degrees warmer than what the thermometer says. Putting Vaseline on your face can help with windburn protection, and a scarf around your neck can help keep you from getting that dreaded sore-throat feeling. When your run is over, be sure to change into dry clothes as soon as possible, as your body temperature will drop when you stop moving.
Cold Weather Apparel Guidelines
Depending on your tolerance, consider this a as guideline for what you should wear. Remember to also keep in mind other factors including precipitation, humidity, and wind. Layer accordingly. If you need more specifics, Runner’s World offers the following guidelines for what to wear on your Winter run:
- 60+ Degrees: Tank top & shorts
- 50–59 Degrees: Short sleeve tech shirt & shorts
- 40–49 Degrees: Long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves, headband to cover ears
- 30–39 Degrees: Long sleeve tech shirt, shorts or tights, gloves, headband to cover ears
- 20–29 Degrees: Two shirts layer. This includes a long-sleeve tech shirt and a short sleeve tech shirt. Another combination could be a long sleeve shirt and jacket. Add tights, gloves, a headband or hat to cover ears, and you are all set.
- 10–19 Degrees: Two shirts layered, tights, gloves or mittens, headband or hat, windbreaker jacket, and pants
- 0–9 Degrees: Two shirts layered, tights, windbreaker jacket and pants, mittens, headband or hat, ski mask to cover face
Before hitting the trails, make sure you adequately warm up your joints and muscles. Try not to break a sweat while doing this, you just want to ready yourself to meet the demands of the conditions you’re about to encounter. Be sure to sip on water as you go, in order to keep yourself hydrated while running in the dry air.
Surviving the Heat
If you live in warmer temperatures year-round, we’ve got some suggestions to keep you going and ensure your stamina. Believe it or not, you can still wear compression gear in the heat. It’s been said that compression gear doesn’t have adverse effects on runners’ performance in the heat, and it even has the potential to aid in lowering your perceived rate of exertion without drastically raising your core temperature.
It’s a good idea to wear light colored clothing when running on a sunny day. Dark clothing tends to absorb the sun’s rays, thus raising your skin temperature. A breathable white shirt will allow your body to vent while also reflecting the sun. When running in extreme heat, you may be tempted to run shirtless or in a sports bra, but exposing your skin directly to the sun like that can actually increase your core temperature. In addition to lightweight and light-colored clothing, wearing a hat with a mesh back will provide more breathability while also giving you some shade as you run.
Whereas in the Winter you want to stay as dry as possible, in the Summer it can be refreshing to spray your face with a water bottle mid-run. However, wet feet and extreme heat can be a recipe for blistering, so try to avoid getting water on your shoes by leaning your head forward when cooling off this way.
Thriving in the Rain
Whether you intentionally go for a run in a rain shower or just happen upon a storm during your daily run — the weather is something you can’t always predict. It’s important to keep an eye on your weather app so you can avoid rainstorms. However, if you get caught in a storm, make sure to find shelter and high ground. Rain can cause flooding and be accompanied by thunder and lightning, which can lead to more intense safety concerns.
When going out in a potentially rainy climate, wicking apparel (including socks!) is key. The evaporative technology will pull the moisture away from your skin, preventing chafing and blisters. It’s helpful to wear tighter tops and bottoms, since they will be less likely to chafe when wet. Invest in a waterproof shell jacket to aid in keeping the rain out, or if it’s a warmer day, try a lightweight rain-resistant running jacket that will allow for adequate sweat ventilation. One helpful trick in regards to footwear is putting plastic bags over your feet before putting on your running shoes. This will help keep your feet dry if you encounter puddles. Try it out and let us know what you think!
Whether you’re a beginner at this or you’ve been running for years, we hope you find these safety and gear suggestions for running in the elements helpful as you stay committed to running in the elements. If running isn’t your thing, take a look at our other blog articles that cover activities like walking, biking, hiking, and even water skiing! For further advice on your next adventure, visit your nearest Sun & Ski Sports.