Layers aren’t just important in British Bake off. When it comes to winter gym clothes, it’s time to layer up.
When the sun is shining and the birds are tweeting and you can throw on some trainers in a matter of minutes, it’s easy to be motivated to go for a nice run. When it’s blowing a gail, chucking it down with rain and all the birds have done the sensible thing and flown South for winter, it’s a lot harder to rustle up the motivation to get outside and pound the payments.
However, with the right gym clothes, your run doesn’t need to be half as painful as you're imagining.
Research has shown in just two weeks off training your running fitness can drop by up to 50%. So keep up your training to ensure you don’t halt your progress.
Layering up winter gym clothes is an essential way to keep your body temperature warm and comfortable.
A baselayer is great to help keep you keep warm and acts like an extra layer of skin, helping to keep you warm or cool when needed.
Heat is trapped between layers and so to add further warmth on cold runs and training sessions, add extra layers.
Base Layers are designed to fulfill four main functions:
- Wicking - Does the fabric wick away moisture and keep you dry? Being wet in the winter will keep you cold for longer.
- Fit - Does the fabric sit comfortably against your skin, without being too tight nor so loose that air can travel in?
- Odour - Does the fabric retain odour? No-one wants smelly gym clothes.
- Durability - How long does the fabric last when it is worn daily?
Thick Running Tights
Winter running requires insulation from the cold, however as your legs do the majority of the work when running, they tend to warm up quickly, meaning you're less likely to need so many layers. A good pair of thicker running tights such as Sundried Roteck Leggings will keep your legs warm whilst you are cold and then wick sweat to maintain your body temperature as you heat up. Often thermal running tights are paired with shorts for extra protection of sensitive areas and to help prevent wind chill.
Wearing Summer Gym Clothes During Winter
Just because winter has arrived, it doesn't mean you have to pack away all your summer training gear as a lot of the technical properties can cross over into your activewear for the winter season. For example, a technical tank works perfectly as a base layer for extra warmth, and your supportive sports bra is needed year round whether it’s worn as a stand alone garment in the heat, or under several layers during cold winter runs. The colder the weather, the more layers you will need, so it’s worth hanging on to all your summer kit for when you’ll need the extra layering.
When choosing clothing for a winter run, step outside, assess the temperature and layer up accordingly. Look for fabrics which insulate heat and protect you from the wind and remember it’s only cold at the very start of the run, you’ll soon warm up.
Brace yourselves…Winter is coming.
Pack away your trunks and bikinis but don’t you dare pack up your running gear, summer bodies are made in the winter and with the right attitude and the right training gear, your training doesn’t have to grind to a halt.
Remember how you used to do cross-country at school come rain or shine, sleet or snow? Now should be no different, except maybe, minus the p.e shorts!
Starting from the bottom up, here’s how to dress for winter running.
Start with socks which are going to keep your feet dry and warm. Whilst your synthetic socks were probably warm enough for summer, opt for wool which will keep you warmer - even when wet during sloshy snow winter runs. Another tip here is to remember thick socks need more room in your trainers, so try loosening your laces for a more comfortable run.
Most of the time, you should be able to run with your summer running shoes, however when conditions get super wet or icy, you’re going to need a little extra help. Opt for shoes without mesh uppers, as this will let in water. Where you can find water resistant uppers which will help protect your feet. Purchasing spikes for your trainers can help if you are running in icy climates, these provide aggressive grips to stop you falling over and slipping, but you need to be sure of your route as they are very terrain specific, running on concrete or tarmac will wear out your spikes - and shops will not let you in wearing them if you need a water break!
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Whilst you may feel that sweatpants are going to be the warmest option here, it is better to have a bottom layer with a closer fit. Cold air can travel up into jogging bottoms and they will also become sodden with sweat. Moisture retention can lead to chafing, which isn’t fun in the warm, let alone the cold. The problem with sweatpants here is that they also lack wind resistance, meaning your stuck with a cold chill.
Investing in a pair of full length running tights is essential. Look for materials which provide climate control keeping you warm in winter, cool in summer. The Sundried mens and womens leggings are crafted with a polyester blend which is designed to fit snugly against the skin and shield you from the cold and wind.
Another issue with your bottom layer is visibility. Whilst in the summer, it’s easy to spot runners in the sunshine, during darker winter months visibility becomes more of an issue. Sundried running bottoms have reflective linings which help to emphasise your visibility and keep you safe during lower light conditions, however it’s essential to keep visible with multiple visibility enhancing garments from vests to head torches and wristbands. Safety is crucial.
Winter months are also perfect for layering for that extra level of protection, try pairing shorts over tights to work as a windshield for more sensitive areas. Plus it will cover your modesty whilst it’s, ah-hem, cold.
Started from the bottom now we’re here. For warmer winter runs, a long sleeve top may be enough, but if you’re worried about being cold it’s always best to layer up, you can always lose a layer and tie it around your waist as the run goes on.
For men, adding a vest such as our Dom Tank underneath a long sleeve top can help to add an extra layer of heat and protection against the elements. Fabrics made with technical fiber’s are best, as though cotton will keep you warmer to begin with, when you start to sweat, cotton absorbs the heat keeping it close to you.
When the coldest temperatures hit, you’ll need a vest/underlayer, long sleeved top and then a jacket. Whilst a cotton zip up is fine, it offers no wind and wet weather protection so opt for a jacket designed specifically for running. These are crafted with sweat wicking fabrics, they are lightweight and can be wind resistant with extra details such as reflective lining and secure pockets. Opting for a jacket with thumb loops can help keep your hands warm if you don’t fancy wearing gloves.
In the summer months, it’s all about wearing as little as possible, but when winter hits you can afford an accessory or two, as long as it doesn't weigh you down too much.
Gloves: Avoid getting frosty fingertips by purchasing some winter gloves. Keeping your extremities warm can prevent discomfort during your run.
Hat: A lightweight hat will keep your head warm at the start of your run without giving you a sweaty head when you start to heat up. Keeping your hat lightweight also means it can easily be removed and folded into a pocket.
Balaclava or scarf: A balaclava is nice in the winter to serve three functions as a hat, neck warmer and to cover your mouth to warm the air you breathe.
Earmuffs: If you’re no good with a hat, try earmuffs, they’ll protect your ears without letting the rest of your head overheat- great for those with thicker hair. Warning: Whilst earmuffs keep you warm, you need to stay aware of your surroundings and having ear muffs interfere with your hearing can be dangerous, particularly if you’re running near a road and vehicles.Keep your training on track with all the gear and every idea.