Don’t Let the Weather Deter you from Running
The Right Gear for Every Weather Challenge
By Amber White
Buyer, Naperville Running Company
With the violently changing weather of the Midwest, it’s a wonder we have runners at all in this area! Yet, I am proud to say I live in one of the most concentrated areas of runners in the United States. I think we take it as a challenge – the wind, rain, sleet, snow, hail, etc. can’t stop us!
You may see people out there running in the worst weather and wonder, “how on earth do they survive that stuff”? Well, I believe that anyone can run comfortably in any kind of weather as long as they have the right equipment. The key is to know how to dress!
Here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years to make running in the Midwest a more pleasurable experience, no matter what the weather!
At 5am it’s already 82 degrees and 100% humidity, and I have my long run!
- Get a hat or a visor. Keeping your face and head covered protects against UV rays, helps keep you cool and keeps the sweat from running down into your eyes.
- UPF rated clothing will help repel the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. A number of brands sell UPF clothing; you just have to ask your running specialty shop which styles have it.
- Wear a top. I know, guys, in hot weather it’s an impulse to wear as little as possible. In reality, we actually stay cooler when we have a barrier between our skin and the sun. It helps absorb sweat and keeps our body cooler. Some tops even have “cooling” properties that give off a slight cooling effect once you start sweating.
- Get a good pair of running sunglasses. This helps to keep the sun out of your eyes and reduce your chances of getting a headache, not to mention they’ll prevent the gnats from making you blind!
- NEVER wear cotton – EVER. It absorbs moisture, doesn’t dry quickly, and doesn’t breathe very well. It will become scratchy and abrasive and almost always leads to chafing. If you do chafe, Bodyglide is your new best friend!
- Use sunblock – it actually helps keep your skin cooler too.
- Bring a water-carrying device – handheld, backpack, belt, etc. There are a variety of alternatives, but it is crucial to stay hydrated while training through those hot months. Start practicing your nutrition from the beginning so you are prepared by race day.
it’s getting dark, there’s a 99% chance of rain, and my training schedule says I need to run!
- Get a hat. A hat will help keep the water out of your face and it’s amazing how much better you will feel if you aren’t being pelted with raindrops.
- Invest in a packable, rainproof jacket. These are great at also keeping the moisture off your skin and keeping you from getting chilled without overheating. If the sun happens to come out, or it never actually rains, you can pack it up and carry it or tuck it in your belt/shorts with little inconvenience.
- Keep a light pair of gloves on hand. Even if it’s in the 40’s you will be amazed at how much better you feel when your hands aren’t chilled to the bone
- Wear shorts with sweat-resistant pockets to help keep electronic devices, gels, etc. dry. Shorts with a 2in1 tight short liner inside will help keep the muscles secure, warmer, and dry as possible, giving you another layer of protection from the rain.
- Again, never wear cotton! See above.
40 mph winds and I wanted to do speed work. Maybe I’ll just run with the wind?
- Wear a hat! It will help cut the wind and keep your face covered.
- A windproof vest will help keep the wind off your core without compromising your warmth. You can wear as little as a t-shirt underneath it if it’s hot and go up to a thermal base layer or full jacket if it’s chilly. They are often also packable so in the event you warm up you can tuck it and keep cool.
- Do smaller loops. It can make the wind more bearable. 3 loops of 2 miles against the wind and 2 miles with the wind is much more do-able than 6 with and 6 against it at all once. So, you may want to adjust your route and run in areas with taller buildings or trails to offer more protection.
Dramatically Changing Temperatures
I am running my longest run ever! But it’s only 36 degrees right now and will be 72 degrees when I finish!
- Wear layers! A light jacket or half-zip with a good zipper is great since the zipper can almost act as a thermostat. Once it really warms up you can take it off completely and tie around your waist.
- Capris or longer bottoms help with temperature regulation without overheating once it warms up.
- Wear compression socks or sleeves. Not only do they increase recovery of muscles and allow you to feel better during the run, they also keep you a little warmer without having to wear a long tight or pant.
- A light hat and glove set will also keep you warm for those early miles and are easy to tuck away once it warms up.
Here’s my list of a few must have items no matter what the temperature:
Ladies, a good fitting sports bra is a MUST! If you haven’t been measured lately, it’s beneficial to update those measurements as our bodies are constantly changing. A sports bra should not have a birthday, meaning it should never get to one year old. I recommend having 3 sports bras in rotation: one on, one in the wash, and one in the drawer ready to go at all times. Take the time to get properly fit and you will be amazed at how much more comfortable running can be! Naperville Running Company offers private bra-fit sessions where you can work one-on-one with a trained bra fit specialist to help you obtain to proper fit.
For both men and women, synthetic running socks can make or break your training program. As stated above, cotton is BAD! To prevent blisters, pick synthetic or wool socks for running. They won’t stretch out or slip down and they will dry faster and eliminate rubbing/blistering. Wool socks are actually good to wear year-round because they absorb moisture in the vapor state; so before you even start actually sweating they are already working to keep your feet dry. They also help regulate body temperature in both cold and warm temperatures.
You can find all of the items mentioned in this article at Naperville Running Company. We can’t wait to help you round out your running collection with the necessary tools to have a successful season of running no matter what the weather conditions. Hopefully, the right wardrobe will help you successfully train for your half or full marathon and accomplish your goals. At the very least, you will have one less excuse not to get out there and get moving!