One thing we are both blessed and cursed with along the Gulf Coast is the weather.  We have more days of beautiful sunshine than just about any other place known making it excellent for outdoor running.  But we do have some brutally cold ones as well.  A reader in the North would argue that because we rarely reach below 20, but 20 degrees in Florida is not the same as 20 degrees in Colorado.

“If you don’t like the weather today, just wait three days.  It will change.”

There are two related problems with this.  One, your body has a hard time adapting to weather change  and two, it makes it REALLY difficult to plan what to wear.  In the summer it is so easy.  Every day is super hot and sweaty and you go as close to naked as what your mother will allow you to leave the house.  But in the winter, overdressing or underdressing is actually pretty dangerous.

Deciding what to wear becomes as personal as deciding if you want to wear a traditional shoe or a foot shaped minimal shoe.  What is good for your training partners, may not be good for you.  We have created a guideline of things that you want to gradually build in your closet that a panel of runners agree upon.  You don’t HAVE to head to the dreadmil because of weather change.  With this list to use as a guide, you can enjoy the great outdoors 12 months out of the year.  If you are new to running, this list will help you start planning the minimum.  When you run more and more, you may find that your running outfits outnumber your professional suits.

  1. At least three supportive running bras.  Handful, Anita and Brooks are our favorites to fit girls of various sizes.
  2. At least 3 singlets or short sleeves.
  3. At least 3 running shorts.
  4. 3 pair of socks.  Not cotton.  We love Balega, Feetures or Injinji.
  5. Ear Warmers
  6. A running hat or cap
  7. Neck warmer.
  8. Great gloves or mittens.  (I normally prefer gloves but when it is really cold my fingers miss each other and want mittens)
  9. 2 light weight long sleeved shirts (one with a zipper neck)
  10. one mid-weight long sleeved shirt
  11. one wind and water resistant jacket or vest.  I recommend not running with wind or water PROOF jackets or shirts because your body will produce so much heat it won’t be able to exit.  Then you will get wet and sweaty and then COLD)
  12. 2 pair of capri length pants
  13. 1 pair long leggings or run pants.  The great thing about run pants is that you don’t have to commit.  You can wear shorts under your pants and take off the pants after you warm up.
  14. LIGHTS AND REFLECTIVITY.  The days are shorter so unless you are running between 8a.m. and 3pm you are going to be hard for drivers to see.

Men tend to retain body heat better than women so women usually prefer to dress warmer.  Also keeping in mind what effort level you are planning to run.  If you are racing you are creating more body heat than a short, casual run with friends.  Start recording the temperature at the start of your run and what you wore.  Also as a general rule of thumb, if you are comfortable and not shivering at the beginning of a winter run, you are already overdressed.  Always dress like it is 15 degrees warmer than actual temperature.  For example, if it is 45 degrees outside at the start, you don’t want to wear a hat, neck warmer, gloves, long sleeve shirt and run pants at the start.  It is really hard not to do that but if you do you will be a sweat ball in 8 minutes as it will soon FEEL like 60 degrees.

Even the most experienced runners will often have a difficult time deciphering what to wear.  Start taking notes and exploring the great outdoors!!!