Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wrap It Up - How to Dress for Cooler Temps When Running

Well I wouldn't necessarily say Fall has fallen, but we did get what was forecasted for us and for the past several days the temps have been falling.  Its been downright Chamber of Commerce weather around here with not only much lower temps but much much lower humidity!

By the time I left for work this morning the temps were at 63deg and I was giddy!  Unfortunately due to me sorta overdoing it yesterday on the physical activity scale, I was beat down this morning and just couldnt bring myself to run before work.  I jokingly made a comment on Facebook that I should drive by Memorial Park just for the fun of it to see how many people I could spot with gloves on.

I would bet my last dollar that there was at least one person.  Texans for the most part are warm weather fans (no matter how badly they bitch about the heat/humidity), and typically will complain even more about how cold it is as soon as it goes below 70deg.

Now I am generally cold all the time unless I am outside when its hot.  And yes there are times in the Winter when I will complain about that too, however I would rather be freezing cold any day of the week as a runner than this crap we endure here every Summer.  I simply loathe the Summers here for that reason alone.

I still shake my head at the folks that wear capris, full shirts, long sleeves, whatever, if the temps are warm.  And by warm I mean over 70deg.  I realize that a lot of that is due to the self esteem issues and just not feeling comfortable with the exposure of whatever body type, but trust me you are more aware of it than anyone else around you is.  As much of an issue that I have when it comes to my own body image, that is just one thing I cannot do:  Wear clothing while running in any amount of heat.  It just boggles my mind how anyone does it.

Anyway, all this brings me to what I wanted to write about today, because a lot of boards/forums that I read I see countless people asking about how to dress for cold weather running/races. 

And to be honest its very subjective because just like every person handles the heat differently, so goes it with the cold. 

With me, generally it looks something like this:
  • 65deg and up = shorts and a jog bra sorta of top.  Sometimes I might wear a singlet but its rare.  And it won't be because its cold, its because I feel like something different and I know I won't self combust due to heat.
  • 55deg to 65 deg = shorts and a short sleeve shirt, but typically if its 60 I am still going with a jog bra top and a singlet. 
  • 40deg to 55deg = I am probably still going to be wearing shorts unless its windy, then I might wear capris just so my thighs don't get that numbing thing going on that the wind typically will do to me.  If I am running a marathon at that temp (40-45) no way in hell am I wearing capris.  Unless its brutal wind and the temp isnt supposed to rise much.  I will have on a short sleeve shirt if its a long distance (more than 10-13 miles) but if a short distance I might wear long sleeves.  I will typically start with gloves on but it won't last long as my hands heat up very quickly.  If its windy I will have earband on as well.
  • < 40 but > than 30 = I am probably going to wear capris.  I have been known to wear shorts at 40deg, but its for really long distance training run.  If its in the 30's, I will be wearing capri's, possibly full length pants depending on distance and I will have a long sleeve on.  Possibly 2 (short sleeve under), and will shed a layer if I get too warm and/or if the temps rise.  There will be gloves, there will be earband.
  • < 30 = If I can remember correctly I have only had to run 5 or so times when the temps were below freezing.  I definitely wore pants.  I definitely wore long sleeves and I definitely had more than one shirt on.  I will typically have 2 pairs of thin socks on as well.  There will definitely be gloves and earband.
    • I remember the weekend before Houston Marathon 2010, we had 8 miles to do and when Amber, Megan and I started it was 24deg or so and there was ice on the ground.  We had decided to start at 8am and do 8 miles on the cloverleaf.  My feet, even with 2 pairs of socks on, were like ice blocks and I barely could feel them.  I had 3 shirts on, a pair of pants, glove liners and gloves and of course an earband.  It was miserable.  :O)  And of course by the time the marathon rolled around 8 days later, it was warm again and it sucked.  :O)
I think the one mistake just about everyone makes (that hasn't figured it out yet), is to dress according to the end of the run rather than at the beginning.  If you are standing around waiting to begin a long run or a (long distance) race and you are warm?  Then guess what?  Your ass is gonna be hot by the end.  If you want to be warm at the start then dress in layers that you can remove easily and throw to the side.  Don't wear stuff you aren't going to be able to part with.  If you don't have anything like this, then go to Goodwill and buy some cheap long sleeves of some kind.  Hey even look in the mens and boys sections.  I have bought old sweats etc., because I didn't have anything in the pants area that I could feel ok with tossing.  Generally I will gut it out on the legs/pants thing because to me its not worth the trouble of crawling out of them with shoes on at any point.  I did at the start of NYC 2008 because I was out there for 3+ hours and you had time to get out of them waiting in the corral.

Here is what I typically suggest to anyone who asks:
  • Dress for 15-20 degrees Warmer:   Dressing for 15-20 degrees warmer than it is will allow foryour body temperature to increase and reduce the risk of overheating and excessive sweat.   You should feel chilled when you walk out the door.  If you are toasty warm, remove a layer.  Less is more.   Keep in mind though, this does not apply to any mileage under 8 or so miles.  If you are just doing a short 3 miler, its gonna be pretty much the same as when you start.  Your body isn't going to heat up that much in such a short period of time.
The one thing you will NEVER see me wear is hat while running (unless its raining or some sort of precipitation is falling down; its been known to snow/sleet here a time or 2).  However a hat is good for some that can tolerate it because it will help keep the warmth in your body since the majority of heat will escape from the top of your head.  This is also why I don't understand why people wear a hat in the Summer.  It does the same thing!  Keeps your insides boiling!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you must wear a hat in the Summer, might I suggest a visor instead? 

What advice do you have?  Do you hate running in the cold?  What is your typical attire on just an average day where you live (in the Winter)?  Are you too self concious to go the bare minimum when its a bazillion degrees outside?


jaimemc said...

I look forward to cooler temps...not really cold, but cooler:-) My first half marathon last November began at 7:30AM and it was roughly low 30's...wasn't much warmer when I finished a couple of hours later! I normally always wear shorts but I have on compression shocks or leg sleeves 98% of the time so not much skin is showing. Always have on an Under Armour mock turtleneck, a full hat (I'm a visor gal in the summer) gloves, and water belt....but after this past summer, I will rejoice the morning I go out to run and can see my own breath LOL!!

Tricia said...

I've found myself wearing compression capri's more and more lately, even in the heat. It may be all in my head,but I have less ITB pain when I wear them, so I go with it. I do wonder if people shake their head at me wearing capri's in the heat. :) Winter will be the same, capri and short sleeve shirt

Xaarlin said...

I always struggle with what to wear when it's cooler than 60 outside. You make a great point of dressing as if it was 15 degrees warmer- totally accurate because your body heats up! And throwaway clothes are so important! I also remember sitting around 3+ hours back in 2002 for the NYC marathon and it couldn't have been more than 30 out. Brrr!

And yes, there should be xaar sightings during CM weekend. I'll be at the expo on Friday- and perhaps we could get lunch on Saturday before the race. :)

Junie B said...

Yay! We will also be at the expo on friday after our 3rd girl gets there! 2 of us are arriving thursday morning.

we'll exchange numbers when its closer!

Lauren said...

Oh man I can't wait until it gets cold!

JunieB said...

I think its important for every person to do trial and error in all types of temps to determine what works best for them at different distances. However I stand by the add 15-20deg to the outside temp if your run is going to be 8+ miles.

And Tricia, I hear that a lot at the store. A lot of women have the chafing issues ESPECIALLY in the summer months and thats why they go for capris. I rarely have chafing and its usually caused by a certain thicker material on some of the Lulu shorts and especially sweaty run.