Winter is officially here and you’d be forgiven for dreading having to face the impending arctic-like conditions during your next workout. No one likes getting wet and cold, (except maybe Northern Mudders) but we’re here to tell you that you shouldn’t stop outdoor exercise – you just need to know how to dress for winter exercise. It may sound obvious, but all you need to do is dress appropriately for the conditions. Let us help you pick out your winter workout wardrobe so that you stay warm and comfortable, while you get some much-needed fresh air. Who knows, dressing right may even help you grow to love winter training.
It’s All About Layers
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that more layers keep you warm. But do you know how to properly layer your clothing to stay comfortable and dry during cold weather exercise?
By wearing clothing in a specific combination, you will regulate your body temperature more easily, keep moisture away from your skin, and stay warm and dry even as you are working up a sweat. When you’re getting dressed for the dreaded cold, we recommend that you consider three different layers:
- The base layer: Keeps moisture and perspiration away from your skin
- The mid layer: Insulates and keeps you warm
- The outer layer: Fights the dreaded winter elements
You will want to start with a base layer of tight-fitting compression material to keep moisture and sweat away from your skin. We’re talking running tights and long-sleeved tech shirts. It’s hard to believe, but you will still sweat whilst working out in the winter. There’s nothing worse than your skin getting irritated and uncomfortable whilst you’re trying to beat your 5K PB. We suggest that you aim for silk, polyester-blend, or synthetic fabrics instead of cotton. The latter actually absorbs sweat and will ultimately make you feel colder.
This is your heat blanket, your insulator, your protector of the cold. Basically this is the layer that keeps you warm. It should be a little looser than your base layer to offer a full range of motion, but still be tight enough to carry moisture away from your body. A fleece or polyester jumper are great, relatively inexpensive options. If you hate the cold, then this is the vital layer for you.
Your outer layer is all about protection from the elements. The weather in the winter is often unpredictable and more intense, with all forms of precipitation as equally likely. You therefore need to ensure that you have an outer layer that protects you from everything the winter weather throws at you. A windproof running jacket or loose-fitting running pants (to be worn over tights) will work wonders. The key here is to also choose a layer you can easily take on and off depending on the conditions.
Head, Hands, Ears and Toes
Finally, don’t forget about your extremities. These areas are often ignored, but are arguably more important to protect than the other parts of your body. Make sure you whack on a pair of warm, non-bulky socks and water-resistant running shoes with lots of traction to avoid face-planting the floor (a real workout mood killer). A warm, woolly hat and a pair of gloves should complete your outfit to keep the cold away from your fingers, head and ears and ensure that you’re ready to take on anything the winter weather throws at you.