Ask Coach Bradley - Dressing For Winter Runs
Whether you are part of our CARA training programs, working towards your next 5k PR, or a beginning runner CARA Sr. Director of Training and Head Coach Tim Bradley is here to answer your training questions!
Q: As the weather starts to get colder, how should I be dressing for my winter runs? Is there any special gear I should have?
A: As the colder weather slowly starts to take its grip on Chicagoland, investing in quality winter running gear can go a long way. While the initial price tag can be high, the materials and technology that have improved endurance sportswear are made to withstand many winters. No more old sweatpants or sweatshirts that can’t whisk away moisture and that quickly become worn down. With the latest in tech gear, it is possible to use the same clothes year after year without sacrificing their form or functionality. Choosing the right gear is a smart investment, and allows you to run as comfortably as possible in the winter months. Below are some key recommendations.
Upper Body (Three Layer System)
Generally, for most temperatures around 0-degrees and above, we recommend using three specific upper body layers to stay warm.
First Layer: Opt for clothes that are tight to the body and form-fitting, like a long sleeve technical shirt.
Second Layer: This should be a slightly looser item, like a long sleeve half zip or turtleneck. This layer should cover your neck, all the way up to your chin
Third Layer: Use an outer layer jacket to help protect from the elements; ideally, this should be rain and windproof. Jackets should zip all the way up and down to adjust for your body temperature changes during the run.
Keeping your legs/lower body warm during runs is critical to not only training but injury prevention as well. Gear items to consider:
Utilize technical underwear that protects from the wind
Wear form-fitting tights or running pants made of a technical material
Stay away from traditional sweatpants
As the winter weather ramps up, runners may want to make adjustments to their shoes as well.
Consider using a trail shoe with more grip if running across patches of snow or ice
Yaktrax can also be a good investment if running across long stretches of ice and snow
Consider using an old pair of shoes and using duck tape to keep out wind, cold, moisture
Use two pairs of socks when running in snow or single-digit temperature
Hats and Gloves
Because a large amount of body heat is lost through the head and our hands, it is crucial to keep these areas protected during winter running.
Use a hat that has a warm inner lining
Use gloves to keep hands covered and warm
Gloves that can convert to mittens make for an easy way to keep hands warm without having to carry extra gear
If temperatures are in the single digits or if you have poor circulation, double up and wear 2 pairs of gloves.
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