Bythis time, it is safe to say that your passion for running is well established: you have learned how to take your first steps, how to choose the right shoes for you, and how to make less fatigue. Some time has passed, and it is likely that you started in a certain season and now find yourself in another: different temperatures, different weather, different needs to be met with the most appropriate apparel. If we have talked about technique and shoes so far, it is time to talk about how to dress. This time it’s not yet about aesthetics.
First of all.
A few tips that apply in all seasons.
The 10-degree rule
It is a very simple and very useful rule that allows you to figure out how to dress for going out for a run. To apply it, just add 10 degrees to the outside temperature: the value you get is the temperature you will feel while running. Knowing this, you can adjust accordingly, for example, by not overdressing even if it appears to be cold outside.
When you run you have to be comfortable. How can you tell? It is as simple as that: you have to forget what you are wearing. That’s why you have to choose apparel that is as seamless as possible to avoid chafing and thus irritation, and above it must be in technical material. Why? This is because you need the layer that protects and wraps you to also work by carrying sweat outside and drying just as quickly. Cotton fails to do this: it stays soaked, leaves sweat on you and gets cold, becoming unpleasant to wear.
What has just been said is related to the quality of technical garments: the principle that the more you spend, the more quality you get is especially true here. Technical running garments are the result of research and development and serve a practical function before they serve an aesthetic one (plus they look great too, which doesn’t hurt!). That is why they are expensive, the higher the technical components, fabrics, and processing required. Never forget that another saying applies: the more you spend, the less you spend. An “expensive” apparel lasts longer. You’re at a crossroads: buy lots of inexpensive items that will individually last a short time or buy fewer that will last more than the sum of the cheaper ones. Do you still have doubts?
I’m not just talking about the type of fabrics (recycled, partially recycled, organic, etc.) but the entire life cycle of the product you use to run. Buying environmentally friendly and more durable technical apparel means buying less and using them for longer, resulting in less pollution. Just think about it before you do it, and forget about it later, because you will use them for a very long time.
How to dress for running
After this long introduction let’s get much more practical. For each season I will recommend the most suitable clothing starting from the head and moving down to the feet. Let’s get going!
Like all mid-seasons, the main problem is to be unprepared for sudden changes in the weather. This is why onion dress is a good idea, even if it’s very few layers: usually a lightweight windbreaker that you can roll up and put in a pocket or on your wrist (there are several like this) solves every problem.
Head: always protect it with a cap made of technical material that allows breathability and protects you from heat and sun. The head is the part of the body that exchanges the most heat with the outside and should be especially protected.
Neck: a buff will be your ideal running companion in this area of the body.
Torso: jersey (always technical) with short or long sleeves, also depending on how well or poorly you tolerate different temperatures. On top, as mentioned before, a windproof/rainproof that you can eventually take off if the heat bothers you.
Legs: shorts, obviously technical. In early spring, temperatures may still be a bit cold so long or 3/4 pants may still be welcome.
Feet: high socks, partly because they give some thermal protection that can be nice, and if it’s a little warmer they don’t bother you much.
Head: technical cap to protect against the sun’s rays and to allow sweat to evaporate quickly from one of the most sensitive parts of the body, as well as one that is particularly susceptible to sunstroke in this season (it is superfluous to strongly advise against running in the middle hours of the day, isn’t it?).
Torso: jersey or technical tank top. One caution is to choose them as snug-fitting as possible, especially for men: you sweat much more during this season, and a shirt that is too loose can still get heavy and rub on the nipples, irritating them and causing them to bleed. Second tip: Always use sunscreen, even at dawn and dusk. Runners are more exposed to solar radiation because their workouts are prolonged and all take place outdoors.
Legs: shorts, obviously technical.
Feet: high or low socks, as you feel most comfortable And don’t forget the shoes!
A note that applies to all seasons and almost all shoes: one question that arises is why there are no summer or winter models. The reason is quickly stated: running shoes have a time-limited use (i.e., that of training) so in summer the foot does not get so hot to be uncomfortable, and in winter it does not get so cold to require winter models. This is why running shoes are generally “for all seasons.”
As an intermediate season (assuming they still exist!), the same advice applies as for spring. The only variation is to prefer a rain jacket over a simple windbreaker because it is statistically more likely to encounter showers.
Head: Technical caps/beanie solves the problem of keeping the head warm while still allowing perspiration and elimination of any sweat. Especially in very cold climates, much of the physical well-being comes from having hands, feet in particular and head especially warm.
Neck: a buff or sleeve or tube to protect your throat and to bring it in front of your mouth to avoid breathing air that is too cold.
Torso: long-sleeved technical jersey with a thermal layer (sometimes referred to as a “shell”) on top that is thicker than the jersey in contact with the skin. One variation is the thermal layer in direct contact with the skin and over a waterproof technical jacket.
Hands: gloves, technical ones of course, and possibly with some fingers that are sensitive to cell phone screens, so you don’t have to slip them off if you need to take a call, assuming you train by carrying it. For colder climates, a thicker glove that is as snug as possible is preferable because any air pocket inside cools quickly and can chafe.
Legs: Winter is the perfect time for long pants, in varying thicknesses depending on the severity of the weather. Personally, I don’t wear them until temperatures drop below zero degrees, partly because in running, the legs are the most stressed part of the body and therefore also the one that warms up the most. Temperature perception is also a subjective matter, and the most important thing, as mentioned above, is to forget about the apparel you wear while running.
Feet: long socks (especially if you run in shorts even in winter, to still have half your legs protected) and on your feet your favorite running shoes. At this time and since you may encounter rain more frequently, using waterproof or GORE-Tex shoes may be a good alternative.
I would say this is everything you need to run in total comfort and in every season.