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5 Ways to Stay Warm While Running in Cold Weather

Jan 10, 2011

Running in cold weather can be a necessity if you live in an area with inclement fall, winter and spring weather. Getting fresh air and sticking to your running schedule can be an important part of keeping up your level of motivation during your fitness program. Cold weather can make you reconsider whether or not you want to keep running. However, there are a few tips to stay warm while running in the cold.

1. Dress in Layers

Dressing in layers is key to staying warm while running in cold weather. Because your body temperature will rise as you run, you'll want to be able to remove a layer if you feel overheated. Layers can work better together to keep you warm than a single piece of warm clothing. Start with thermal underwear or a thin workout outfit. You can then layer your outfit with a sweatshirt if desired, as well as a jacket.

2. Make Sure the Inner Layers Wick away Moisture

Wearing layers while running in cold weather is often not enough to keep you warm. The layers should be intended to trap body heat and wick away moisture, because you'll be perspiring as you run and you don't want the moisture to stick to your skin. Water trapped against your skin can make you both uncomfortable and colder; the improper clothing can cling onto moisture, which will freeze when wet. It's most important that your long underwear and next layer of clothes are moisture-resistant.

3. Don't Wear Bulky Clothes

It can be tempting to to try to stay warm while running in cold weather by piling on bulky, large items of clothing. However, bulky items will work to your disadvantage. Bulky items are less likely to be moisture-resistant. They're also constrictive, which can make running more difficult or even dangerous, especially if you need good traction on potentially slippery surfaces. You'll keep warmer and retain your flexibility when dressed in layers.

4. Cover Your Extremities

Wearing gloves, warm socks and a hat or headband while running in cold weather is essential. Your extremities are the first parts of your body to lose circulation in cold temperatures, which can cause painful loss of sensation or even more dangerously, frostbite. As with your other clothes, you'll want thin coverings for your extremities so that you retain flexibility. However, you'll also want to look into moisture-resistant and thermal coverings, because basic thin coverings can provide little to no protection when the weather is cold enough.

5. Wear a Breathable Outer Layer

As your inner layer of clothing works to wick away moisture and retain heat, you don't want to trap all of that moisture close to your skin with a waterproof coat. You'd wind up clammy to the touch and overheated. Instead, look for a wind-resistant or water-resistant (not waterproof) lightweight jacket, which can help keep circulation throughout your body and keep the additional cold presented by chilly winds from affecting you.

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