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Layering up for unpredictable weather

Winter-running-2_large
Don't be caught out by the colder weather. Get the right gear to keep you dry, warm and ventilated in winter.

It’s important to plan your outfit for all eventualities so no matter what the weather does, you’re always comfortable and can focus on your performance.

And that’s where layering comes in. When it comes to tops, layering is based on 3 main elements:

  • base layer – the bottom layer, which sits tighter to the body
  • mid layer – provides extra warmth on top of the base layer
  • outer or shell – this protects you from the wind and the rain

In unpredictable weather, you’ll probably only want to wear 2 layers – the full 3 is usually best reserved for the coldest days of the year.

Layering up on frosty mornings
Heading out for a long run on a cold morning poses 2 main problems:
  • cold starts – in cooler weather your muscles don’t contract with the same intensity as when it’s warm. You also burn more carbohydrates in the cold and become less efficient at using oxygen so you can tire quicker too.
  • warming up – as the sun comes out and you warm up, you run the risk of overheating. As you overheat, blood rushes to the skin to release sweat, meaning less blood is being pumped into your muscles. This can cause tiredness and, depending on how hot you get, dehydration too.

So start off warm with a base and a mid layer and as you get into your run, take a layer off to regulate your body temperature. Your base layer should therefore be a breathable fabric, with plenty of ventilation so you can avoid overheating once the weather warms up.

However you dress, building some flexibility into your outfit is key. If it’s cold, you can start out with a running tube as a scarf. It’s versatile so as you warm it can be converted into a headband or packed away if you no longer need it.

Running in the wind
When you’re running in windy conditions, the increased air resistance means you need to work harder to maintain your pace. And that can mean you sweat more.

But if it’s windy, this will also make you feel colder too as the wind hits the moisture on your skin. So your base layer needs to be quick-drying to remove sweat from the skin while your outer or shell needs to keep the elements at bay.

Protecting yourself from the rain
Just like with sweat, the rain can cool you down, not to mention causing discomfort with more chafing when running in wet clothes.

So if rain is forecast, your outer layer should be made of a water resistant material like Softshell or Ripstop. Unlike everyday raincoats, they’re specially designed for running and provide ventilation as well as wicking sweat away from the skin to prevent you from overheating.

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