Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Forget about what to wear for the office Christmas party, or for the big wedding you've been invited to. Your most important wardrobe decision occurs whenever you decide to go outside for a run.

Let's face it, running is hard work. There are no time outs, no breaks in the action. Comfort is the key.

One of the biggest mistakes beginning runners make is overdressing.

When we run, the body produces an incredible amount of heat.

What happens when we overheat?

We sweat.

We sweat because water has a cooling, temperature regulating effect, something we don't want on a frigid winter day.

The quick-wicking fabrics of today are fantastic, and are a must for every runner. From socks to hats to base layers, spend the extra money and invest in staying dry in order to maximize comfort while on the run.

What's more, create a vast wardrobe of running clothing to fit your needs for 365 days a year of potential running.

You can start with your feet, which are fairly important components of your running frame. Rarely are your feet going to get cold when you run. Constant movement keeps them warm, but they must be kept dry. For that reason, a dry-wicking material is essential.

Let's move up to the legs. Again, constant movement keeps our legs relatively warm. We all know a few runners who NEVER wear anything other than shorts, and that's fine if it works for them. For me, the 40s is the benchmark. If it gets below about 45 degrees, I'm wearing tights.

As we move up the body, guys, be careful in the area of the shorts. When temperatures drop to the single digits, I always wear undergarment shorts under my running shorts. You know how much it hurts when fingers get numb, then thaw out...well, private parts feel the same, and it's not pretty!

Today's temperatures are in the 40s. For my run today, on top I plan to wear an Under Armour turtleneck, covered by a t-shirt. I'll  wear tights as well. When temperatures drop to the 30s, I'll add a vest, and in the 20s I'll go with a full jacket.

Back to the "vast wardrobe" concept. I know which of my shirts, jackets, and tights are warmer and which are lighter in weight. I select the proper one based on the conditions of the day.

On the coldest of days, I will only wear the aforementioned three top layers.

I wear a hat when the temperatures are below freezing.

In Polar Vortex conditions, I'll wear a face mask of some sort. (avoiding banks and convenience stores)

My hands are always cold, so I'll war painter's gloves when it's under 50 degrees, heavier gloves as it gets colder, and mittens in bitter cold conditions. Gloves separate your fingers, whereas mittens keep them together, sharing heat from finger to finger. Therefore, mittens are the best in frigid conditions.

Long sleeve compression shirts get me through days in the 60s. Short sleeve compression shirts take me to about 75 degrees, and above that I'm shirtless.

In rainy conditions, again, invest in good, waterproof apparel, and you'll remain comfortable throughout your workout.

Keep a close eye on the weather conditions prior to your workout, dress accordingly, making the proper wardrobe decisions and you can comfortably run outdoors every day of the year.

For more advice, blogs, books, and coaching, visit: www.muldowneyrunning.com