Confession: I grew up in Northern California where the weather is practically perfect all the time. Rude awakening when I went to college in Oregon, then moved to Seattle. Suddenly, I had to – you know – “dress for the weather.” Even though I still get teased by my Seattle native husband for not dressing appropriately when we go out, I’m all about the right clothes for the run. And it’s all about layers…next to skin, base, outer. Because when you’re wearing the right thing, you don’t have to think about it - and each mile becomes the fabric of this beautiful runlife.
SALLY'S FOUR RULES OF RUNNING IN ANY WEATHER
1. Know the rule of 20 degrees
First take the temperature outside, add 20° and imagine what you'd wear standing around. So if it's 40° out, imagine what it would feel like if it's 60°. At that temp, you’d probably be fine in a single layer, maybe a lightweight long sleeve.
2. Pamper your pre & post
Something that happens to me a lot in cold Seattle, is that I’ll be working at the computer and get cold. And once I’m cold, my running motivation plummets. The best way to un-slump myself is to get up, do some core, or maybe clean my office, to get the body moving. Post run, it’s all about having that dry change of clothes. Dry = comfort, regardless of temperature. But in the cold, it’s especially important to avoid hypothermia.
3. Go long, wear less
Longer, harder runs will get your temps up good, and you can keep the layering minimal, or wear things that are easy to shed. Short, easy runs, on the other hand, might require more bundling. If you’re going slower, you’ll be sweating less, and if it’s a shakeout run, some layers will keep your muscles warm. For workouts, wear layers for the warm up and drills, shed them for the hard work, get down to that sports bra on your last intervals! And then layer up again. Pro style.
4. Be the weather woman
Check outside temperature, and know your local weather patterns (cold/dry, temperate/wet, etc). In cold/dry weather, you want insulating layers and wind protection. In temperate/wet climates you want thin but performance-based layers that keep you dry and your core warm. In hot climates, you want layers that promote evaporative cooling and/or provide UV protection.
THE GUIDE - PICK YOUR BODY TEMPERATURE, FIND YOUR CLIMATE, SEE YOUR PICKS!
Cold & Windy:
Pre: Layer a Call Her jacket and Wazzie Wool Track Pants over your workout layers for easy warmth pre-run.
During: Protect wrists, necks, and ankles from wind chill with running accessories. Sport a technical tank or shimmel under long sleeves for extra warmth.
Post: In cold climates, a sweaty post-run sports bra is more than inconvenient – you run the risk of hypothermia. Don’t forget a fresh sports bra and base layer for dry warmth after your workout.
Cool & Rainy:
Pre: Work hard to stay protected / dry. Avoid getting wet (and cold) until you’re starting the workout.
During: Waterproof outside means water (sweat) also stays inside. Dress for comfort knowing no matter what, you’ll end up a little wet.
Post: A girls in the hoodie is the ultimate post-run treat. Fleece will keep you nice and warm, even when your skin is a little damp.
Pre: When in doubt, layered performance fabrics (flyte tank, lux long sleeve, etc…) are your best bet for staying comfortable and dry in any temperature or climate.
During: Think hands + head = these accessories offer maximum warmth and are easy to ditch / store if you get too warm. Packable, ultra-light outerwear (Vim / Vigor) is a must-have for long runs in uncertain weather.
Post: Wool base layers are a great option for variable weather - warm when you need warmth, breathable when you need cooling, pack a quill vest for extra insulation and you’re good to go.
Warm & Muggy:
Pre: Everything gets sticky once you start to sweat, so get your workout layers on first (don’t plan to change pre-run) and then work to regulate temperature while you’re warming up or in transit.
During: Pick breathable performance fabrics to keep you dry during the run
Post: Lightweight fabrics made from natural fibers (think graphics!) feel great on the skin after sweaty miles.
Hot & Dry:
Pre: Apply sunscreen first (before getting dressed) to maximize coverage and ensure you’re protected as you warm up / stretch.
During: Sun protection is critical: always pack a hat, lightweight sunglasses, and sunscreen!
Post: Baby wipes, a fresh hat, and a shimmel stand in for a shower post-run when needed.
So layer-up and head-out. You're a pro now!