by Seth Taylor, #road2boston ambassador
10 weeks until Patriot’s Day! The sun is out…for now.
You live in the Northeast, how do you run outside?
It’s 20 degrees outside, what do you wear?
These are very common questions I receive from friends, family, and fellow Bostonians that want a break from their cabin fever – but need some help.
The answer: Layers, all the layers, and mental flexibility
Snow, Ice, Cold, Rain, Mist, Sun, and WIND. Yes, that covers all the weather bases, and we RAN around them several times last week!
This is my first year to maintain an average of 30 miles a week throughout the winter, well besides three weeks that included a wedding, a hurt foot, and the FLU. With that said, I have really worked at understanding essential clothing from “maybe I need it, maybe I do not” clothing.
A couple of essential clothing guiding principles:
- Windy out? Throw on a breathable (hopefully packable) shell.
- Crisp air? Hat and gloves, preferably each allowing some air flow.
- Have a pack? Wear it, not to carry more clothing, to put layers (and water).
Quirks, we all have them. I for one am thankful for this because it would be boring if we all looked alike out there!
With that said, I suggest taking a mental note of the things that make your run most enjoyable and uncomfortable. For instance, do you prefer to have your legs covered, regardless of the weather? or do your toes and fingers freeze?
My biggest quirk: I would rather wear less clothing and be cold to start than wear a lot of clothing and start sweating before I get outside. Sweat catches up with you though if it doesn’t evaporate and/or leave your skin quickly.
In my opinion, this three-layer system works best for temperatures less than about 28* F with a 5-10 mph wind. As temperatures rise, one layer can be lost and the rest is fairly self-explanatory.
There is good news; lower body layering is fairly easy. Running pants are sold with layers built in, so having a few pairs with different features is very beneficial. Shoes and socks also offer the ability to use in different combinations depending on your needs.
18 miles on the Boston course Saturday with sun, 25* F, and a light wind was a great test for the thought process outlined. It was tricky though, since we took an Uber out to Framingham to run back into the city and it warmed up a bit by the time we started.
These adidas layers worked great. My favorite piece is the Primeknit Wool Hoodie as a base layer. It is super comfortable and the hood was great to pull up every so often for a little extra warmth, and my B.A.A. Half-Marathon long-sleeve shirt with the Supernova Half Zip over the top as a shell was superb.
By the time we were finishing, the sun was setting over the city, so a wind shell would have been nice to throw on once we stopped. I typically do not have to wear an extra layer on my feet, so normal running socks and my Pureboost DPR shoes worked awesome. The climaheat fleece lined pants were fantastic and covered all three layers perfectly.
One final point before you get back on the #road2boston.
Mental flexibility and consciously improving it is very rewarding. The mental game of running involves listening to your body and accepting the unexpected. For instance, I usually have a vision for how a workout will go, what the benefits will be, or what pace will be achieved. However, I have found that winter training requires a great amount of mental flexibility. More often than not, I have set out on a run and ended up increasing the distance and decreasing the pace to get good work in. I will expand further on this point next week!