From May through September there is no easy guessing our run apparel in the South East.
Rule of thumb: Less is best. Men- shorts with MAYBE a singlet. Ladies- shorts, run bra and MAYBE a singlet. You are going to be soaked after the run no matter what: Easy jog and walking=wet. Marathon training work=soaking. Speed work or 5K race=might as well be swimming.
October through April presents extra problems. Our climate is a moist one and when you get chilly it goes to your bones. The rest of the country does not believe that we can be chilly. When it is 45 degrees, we are pulling the vacation ski suits out of the attic to wear on our group runs only to ditch the suit in a neighbor’s bushes 20 minutes into a run…not that that’s happened.
How should one dress?
Each body requires a DIFFERENT layering technique:
I have one teeny tiny running friend who gets it right most of the time. She has a high core temperature rate than most. In the summer she sweats more than most. In 35-40 degree weather she is wearing short sleeves, gloves and shorts even on a recovery run. She always feels great after the run. Another one of my friends hits it right every time as well. When it is 60 degrees she wears a hoodie and tights on even a long run. She loves summer running…never complains about the heat and does not sweat half as much as friend #1. They produce heat differently and the KNOW how to dress for it. What is right for one may not be right for the other.
How do you find your secret formula?
Start now by recording your runs; the temperature of your run including real feel, the type of run (easy, moderate, or hard), WHAT YOU WORE and how you felt. This way, as you start tracking the weather for the Double Bridge Run, you will be in the KNOW!!!
A few rules to go by:
1) Dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer for an easy run and as if it is 20 degrees warmer for a race or hard run. If you step outside on a chilly day and you are comfortable, you are going to get overheated on the run. You should feel a little chilly when you start.
2) Consider the work out. If you are going longer you will be heating up more. Wear layers that you can drop or tie around your hips or pack into your pocket. Or put your big kid panties on and be a little chilly at the start of your run and you will feel amazing during the run. If you are just doing a little shake out run, you still want to keep those muscles warm so bundle up slightly for that. Keep in mind that as the sun rises the temps do so as well…pretty rapidly I might add.
3) Never dress for a run of more than 15 minutes in the South East like you are going snow skiing. Never. 50%of your body heat escapes through your head. So if you wear a full hat…make sure heat can exit somewhere else like your arms or your legs. Unless you are going for a walk, your body is going to be producing a lot of heat when you are running. If you overheat on a cold day….and are soaking wet with sweat…a cool breeze is not refreshing. It can be frigid.
This is not Boston. When it is 5 degrees outside then you will want hat, gloves, even baclava (full face gear) mid-layer, outerwear, full tights. But that rarely happens in Pensacola. Invest in run specific pieces and you can experiment with them for 10+ years because you will rarely wear just one piece more than 10 days per year.
Here is a BASIC list of items to invest in to start your winter running wardrobe:
But don’t forget, experiment to find what works for YOU.
1) Run gloves (When it’s 30 degrees and a windchill, my digits get lonely, cold and crave protection)
2) Ear warmers. Some prefer a hat…whatever. Just get those ears protected because they don’t have body fat to warm up with.
3) 3 short sleeve shirts and or singlets to use as a base layer. The closer fitting to your body the better in most instances.
4) 2 mid-layer shirts. My personal favorite is Asics Thermopolis half zips or the Lux fabrics from Oiselle.
5) Light vest or jacket that is packable.
6) One tight and/or run pant and one capri. (or knee tight. Just a little something over those quads.)
I love active wear and have invested in many more pieces over the years…but this is the minimum that you should have in your wardrobe. Don’t be a slave to indoor running because you think it is too cold.
There is nothing more exhilarating than hearing Jack Frost whisper in your ears….play hard!