Now that we are in the throes of winter, and it seems that temperatures are finally dropping here in Southern New England, it’s time to break out the layering strategy! Since you tend to warm up quickly when running, dressing in layers is a great way to ensure that you are comfortable throughout your entire run (especially when it’s a long run!).
Layering for Winter Running
So, if you know you’re going to warm up, you may be asking “Why not just wear fewer layers?” While this may work for some of us, it isn’t as reliable for others. I live right along the water in New England, and the temperature can change pretty drastically depending on whether or not you are heading into the wind.
If I head out for a six-mile out and back, I may warm up on the way there, but face some serious wind chill on the way back! Wearing layers ensures that you will be warm and dry, regardless of the conditions you are facing (barring a natural disaster!). When the temperatures plummet, I opt for a base layer, mid layer and outer layer.
Your base layer is the clothing that is closest to your skin. Base layers are typically made from synthetic materials like polypropylene or polyester, or from natural materials like wool (especially merino) or silk.
Whichever material you choose, you want to make sure that your base layer is breathable and soft and moisture-wicking. Good wicking fabrics keep you nice and dry, so you can stay warm. There’s nothing worse than feeling damp AND cold!
Your base layer should be thought of as a sort of “second skin.” Make sure that it’s 1) close-fitting to avoid bunching up under the other layers and 2) soft, so you don’t experience any chafing.
The mid or middle layer is the layer between your base layer and you outer layer (jacket). Your middle layer should keep all of the warm heat you are generating during your run from escaping out through your outer layer.
For a mid layer, you will once again have your choice of synthetic or natural fibers, just make sure you don’t choose cotton! You want your middle layer to also be breathable. It shouldn’t be quite as close-fitting as your base layer, but not too loose either. A technical long-sleeve t-shirt is a perfect option (and something you probably already have in your possession!).
If it’s SUPER cold, you may even need more than one mid layer!
A good winter running jacket will be your go-to outer layer. Quality running jackets will offer wind AND water resistance–crucial for an outer layer that will be versatile for winter weather conditions. I like my running jackets to have a hood too, one of the many reasons I LOVE the GORE Running Wear AIR GORE-TEX® Active LADY Jacket.
The Active LADY jacket is lightweight, wind and water-resistant, and it comes with a stay-put hood. There’s a media pocket and a handy pocket on the back of the jacket. I love its look and its functionality!
Of course you don’t want forget to cover your head and your hands. You can read about some of my favorite running gloves HERE!