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Preparing Your Wardrobe for Winter Running

Updated on February 2, 2013

As it begins to become cold outside, we runners have a serious task at hand. It is time to begin preparing your wardrobe for winter running. Unless you plan on running indoors on a treadmill for the duration of the winter months, it is time to pack away the short sleeve T-shirts and shorts and shop for the new proper apparel. The following article will explain everything you need to know about preparing your wardrobe for winter running.

The first item of clothing is the socks. One of the most important areas to keep warm on the body when running is the tips of your toes. Be sure to buy thick, cloth socks. Do not buy wool socks, as you will never be able to fit into a sneaker that is comfortable with wool socks. I never suggest wearing two pairs of socks either.

Another important item is legwear. Here you have a few choices. You can either choose tights or loose pants. Tights, obviously, are skin tight and act as compression shorts as well. Most runners wear tights and then a small pair of running shorts, just to cover up a bit. Never buy white tights. Darker is better. You can also choose to wear loose-fit pants. These pants are usually used as warm-up pants and have ankle zippers to easily remove them with sneakers on. These require that you wear compression shorts.

Moving up the body, the next item of clothing for preparing your wardrobe for winter running is the shirt. The shoulders are another one of those body parts that must be kept extra warm. Try to wear some type of Under Armour shirt, but be sure that it isn’t skin tight. For more information on why it cannot be skin tight, see this article. Once you have a base shirt on, the weather now comes into play. If it is extremely cold (below freezing), wear some type of light, brand name fleece or zipper-up. If it isn’t too cold, throw on any ordinary long sleeve shirt that is loose-fit. Remember, it is ok to be a little chilly when starting warm-ups or the run itself. Your heart rate will rise eventually.

The hands are probably the most important body part to keep warm. The key to keeping the hands warm, but not too warm, is the type of gloves. Wearing big winter snow gloves will force the hands to become overheated and sweat. Once the hands begin to sweat, the actual sweat will turn cold and freeze (if the conditions are cold enough, it will happen). Buy thin gloves. They are fairly inexpensive and easily obtainable through brand name companies.

Last on the list are the face, neck, and head. As a general rule of thumb, never cover your mouth or nose. Constricting breathing in any way, shape, or form will result in a non-fulfilling run. I usually don’t cover my neck, but I have asked people and the best way is to invest in a headband and wear it as a necklace. It isn’t skin tight, but loose and somewhat hanging from the neck. Pertaining to the head, two choices are available. Either wear a tight headband or a big wool hat (sometimes called a skull cap). Most ladies chose the headband because the skull cap either messes up their hair or gets in the way of their pony tail. Either way, just make sure the wears are fully covered.

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