The winter doesn’t have to derail your running. Layering for the cold weather can help you navigate harsh conditions and avoid common running mistakes. With the right pieces, you don’t have to change much about your running routine, even when the weather gets downright nasty! Let’s get down to it:
Your baselayer is the most important part of the operation. If you mess this one up, the other two cannot perform their important functions. The baselayer is made of a knit fabric, which gives it stretch in all directions. Your baselayer should be made of a poly or wool blend (no cotton) and fit closely to the skin. It will trap your body heat and grab sweat from your skin. Learn all about baselayers HERE.
Your midlayer will help further insulate your core. It should also be a poly or wool blend and will be a knit material with a lot of stretch. As the baselayer brings sweat off of the skin, the midlayer will grab it and bring it further away from your skin’s surface. A midlayer will generally have a half-zip for some ventilation, and will often have a pocket or two and some reflectivity.
This is an important part of your wardrobe in either extreme cold conditions or precipitation. The outer shell will generally be a woven material (less stretchy than a knit) and offer either wind/water resistance or insulation (or both). An outer shell will offer you a few pockets and some reflectivity, and sometimes will have a hood.
Layering is less of a factor on the lower body – keeping the core (where bloodflow originates) insulated will help warm the extremities. But a good pair of tights is still important during the winter months. In mild weather, go with a light or midweight – it’s just about coverage. In very cold weather, we’re looking at lined thermal material. Look for a brushed lining (feels fleecy) or a thicker material to insulate the legs. Tights will also provide a pocket or two and some reflectivity.