As we come closer to the depths of winter it’s time to start thinking about the right clothing and accessories to keep you comfortable and safe while out exercising. And if you’re running a spring marathon, you WILL be training during the cold spells.
You’ll want to keep yourself warm, but there’s nothing worse than setting out on a run nice and toasty only to find yourself overheating halfway round. It’s a clever balance between coverage and breathable fabrics, and lucky for you we’ve done all the legwork to find you some of the best key products for this winter’s running season.
Layer it up
In cold weather layers are key. They help to trap heat against your body, but if you do overheat you can easily remove a light layer and tie it round your waist.
This layer is there to wick moisture away from your skin. As you sweat the water turns cold and if left in contact with your body it will make you feel shivery quite quickly. To get the most effective use of this layer it needs to be a man-made fabric such as polyester-elastane mix (spandex!) and it needs to be tight-fitting.
This Nike long-sleeve base layer is perfect, and very affordable at just £18.99. It may be a men’s item, but can be worn by most women too. A small is the equivalent of a women’s size 8-10.
Alternatively, for a more feminine shape this short-sleeved women’s tee by Kalenji is a good choice, and only £12.99.
A middle layer is only really needed for very cold weather. This layer should be made of an insulating material, like fleece. Some sports clothes actually double up as a middle and top layer in one, which is useful for saving money, but be careful with these as if you do get too hot and have to remove it you will only be left with your base layer!
These men’s and women’s long-sleeve thermal tops by More Mile are an absolute bargain at only £14.95 and guaranteed to keep you warm.
Your top layer should be wind and water resistant to help protect you from the chill of winter breezes and gentle sleet or rain.
In all honesty, your legs are unlikely to really feel the cold, so a single layer is usually sufficient. If you’re running in really cold weather, you may want to go for thermal tights, otherwise a basic tight is great and will give you the coverage you need.
Hats and gloves
We’ve all heard the saying that “most of your body’s heat is lost through your head”, but this is a bit misleading. The study that this advice was based on was actually carried out by an experiment using US military volunteers dressed in Arctic survival suits… with only their heads left uncovered!
However, for extra warmth and comfort, a good pair of gloves and a beanie can make all the difference. Try these men’s or these women’s dri-fit beanie and gloves sets by Nike at £18.99.
And for those rainy days a baseball cap like this one for £12.99 can make all the difference by keeping the water out of your eyes.
Believe it or not sunglasses may be on your winter-survival list once you’ve gone out for a run of a daytime. With the sun low and bright it can be really difficult to see. These Daytona sunglasses by Bloc are the most cost-effective pair I have found. They are comfortable and stay put even at a good pace. Pretty good for £31.49!
For the ultimate in versatility try out a Buff. This tubular lifesaver can be worn as a neck scarf, headband, mask, hood, bandana, balaclava, beanie and much more! It’s made from a breathable, sweat-wicking fabric and can be utilised in summer as well as the winter months. You can find them here for £13. Personally, we like the Batman one, even if it is for “juniors”. Check out this Youtube demo for how to wear one.
To keep those lips protected from the winter chill, just slap on a bit of Vaseline lip therapy. This stuff creates a barrier between your lips and the elements, and also helps to re-moisturise your skin. Apply a little around your nostrils too to help protect delicate noses from the cold. This aloe vera also soothes and heals already damaged skin.
For dark nights a headtorch may come in handy. Ok, so no-one wants to look like a miner, but once you’ve tripped over uneven paving you may change your mind. Go Outdoors stock an affordable one here for just £35.99 (using their discount card which you can apply for instore free of charge).
And last but not least, for those extreme “all weather” runners out there this traction device by Yaktrax may just save your tush from a hard landing. Simply slip over the soles of your running trainers and you will have improved grip helping you to run safely in ice or snow. At just £10.49, these will definitely be on my Christmas wishlist!
So now you know what gear to get, what’s stopping you? Forget the treadmill this winter and get your legs out there on the roads, it’s so much better! And remember, as a general rule dress as if it’s around 5oC warmer, so if it’s 5 degrees, dress for 10 and when you get going you won’t feel too warm.
CC Image “Run” courtesy of Alfred Hermida on Flickr