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What to Wear for Running in Any Weather
Updated on June 23, 2012
What you wear is incredibly important for your comfort and performance. Below is a list of weather conditions and things that you might want to consider while choosing your wardrobe before heading out the door...
Hot and Dry: Basically you want to wear as little as possible. Thin, light fabrics are best. You'll probably want to go with a technical fabric since it wicks moisture away and breathes. Cotton is likely to make you very sweaty and that moisture is likely to chaf. Also, you want to be sun safe. Wear a hat, apply sunscreen, wear sunglasses and consider a very light long sleeve top to protect your shoulders if you are running in the heat of the day. Of course, it's best to run in the early or late hours if the UV index is high. Lastly, make sure to wear a belt or hydration pack of some sort so you can keep on too of fluids.
Hot and Wet: Rarely encountered but best to dress in light clothing, get wet and towel off when you get home.
Cold and Dry: Layers are key. A good rule of thumb though is if you are comfortable before you run, you are way over dressed! Try to wear a wicking material close to your body and then cover with a wind proof layer. If it is really cold (for me that means below -10) you may want to add a fleece or warmth type layer. Make sure not to forget a toque and gloves, they make for easy temperature control... as does a zipper on your wind layer. Don't worry too much about your feet getting cold as the blood pumping through them keep them warm, unless you get them wet or are prone to cold feet. Either way, the right sock can do wonders. Light tights are a great idea in cold weather to keep your muscles warm... keep thicker tights for colder climates!
Cold and Wet: The hardest part is getting out the door! If you live in a place where this weather is the norm, invest in a good water resistant and breathable jacket. You need vents to run. Also, get a good pair of running gloves that will keep your hands fairly dry - no fleece! And a cap can do wonders keeping the rain out of your eyes. Another consideration is visibility in the rain. Buying the brightest ugliest jacket you can find is a great investment since you will only be wearing it in darker conditions.
Dark: Dress brightly. I recommend a running safety vest with reflective tape, a brightly colored coat, a head lamp and some small flashing lights on your backside. You can also stick some bike reflector cuffs on your wrists and ankles. If you don't like wearing a headlamp, you can find very small handheld lights also. Just remember that it's not only to prevent you from tripping, but also so cars can see you!
Snow and Ice: If it is really slippery out there and the cement is covered, wear a pair of micro spikes to keep yourself upright on the ice. You can also "stud" your shoes by putting screws through them or just buy a pair of trail shoes with serious treads. Gortex shoes are great for keeping your feet warm and dry. Alternatively you can put some duct tape over your toes (the uppers NOT lowers or you will have made very slippery shoes).
Safety: Remember that at anytime conditions can change. Always carry a cellphone, money and if you can, an extra layer. They make jackets that can fit in the palm of your hand these days. And tell someone where you are going and when you will be back, no matter how well dressed you are, if you break an ankle, you're in trouble!