For fans of exercising outdoors, January is arguably the toughest time of the year (unless you live in the South, of course!). The wind, the snow, the darkness, and the sub-freezing temperatures can all make you just want to tuck under the covers and never come out again. As someone who loves to run outdoors and loathes the treadmill, however, I can attest to the value of getting out there anyhow.
I learned a long time ago that winter is much more tolerable when I get outside for my run. Getting a bit of exposure to the fresh air, even if it’s not when the sun’s up, definitely boosts my mood. And when you dress appropriately, it’s really not all that bad.
Each person has to learn how to dress for their own personal comfort in the winter. My group of running pals has a wide spectrum of clothing choices at this time of the year. Speaking for myself, I tend to run a bit warm no matter what, so I try to balance that tendency to overheat with the chill in the air. My dog Connor, as you can see, also needs some extra layers in winter!
My general guidelines for exercising outdoors in winter:
35-40 degrees–Capri or full-length tights, a long-sleeved shirt and running hat. You may want to add a short-sleeved layer underneath the long-sleeved one. Lightweight gloves.
28-35 degrees–Long tights, at least one long-sleeved top and probably two. Here you may want to switch to a warmer hat or ear warmers. Warm gloves.
20-28–Here’s where I’ll bring out a shell usually. At the upper end of the range, however, I’ll still keep only one layer beneath it. Warm hat/gloves.
Below 20–I may consider adding an extra layer on bottom here, but usually keep that layer short. Two layers of shirts and a shell, warm gloves/hat.
You always have to consider the elements in addition to the temperature. If it’s windy, go with more. If it’s sunny, go with less. One piece of clothing that I have found indispensable has been my shell with removable sleeves. It has it’s own zipper pocket in back so that if I get hot, I can take off the sleeves and stash them comfortably in the pocket. A great piece of gear!
Experiment with your clothing options to find the right combination for your comfort level. Then get out there and enjoy the fresh air…you’ll be glad you did!
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