﷯What to wear whilst training or running outdoors... by jon "Onions have layers and so should you" We've had a fantastic summer, but as the hint of rain and a temperature drop came this weekend, I thought that I would put a blog together that covers what you should wear, so that you can continue to train outdoors even when the it starts to get pretty miserable out there. The whole principle is very similar to how you would dress if you were doing adventurous activities in the hills or on the slopes and also it's no different from the method that is used within the military. The whole principle is to use various layers to give you an adaptable system if the weather/intensity were to change - so yes the actually choice of clothes would be different depending on the activity, but you would still layer your clothes in a similar format. The issues: > Visibility > Over-heating > Freezing > Wind > Rain NONE of these is a show stopper - think more about it as a bonus as that means you'll have more of the park or trails to yourself as the 'weak' opt for the sofa! Visibility - Be safe, be seen! As the amount of hours daylight reduces please think about wearing high visibility and reflective clothing and also wearing lights. You can buy very lightweight lights that clip to the back of day sacks and using a head torch is paramount if running off-road in poor lit areas - just don't shine it in other people's eyes (pet hate of mine!). Most running specific clothing comes with various reflective patches or logos, just make sure if putting a jacket on that it too has these reflective panels too. Over-heating - Don't overdress! Ok, back to being running and outdoor exercise specific and how hot should you be? I'm a big believer at starting any physical activity as cool as possible as your body soon warms up. Also, I believe that the majority of the energy that you use should be directed to aiding the muscles and helping you perform as opposed to fighting to keeping your body cool, because you are over or inappropriately dressed and then not being able to perform at your optimum - definitely not achieving what you intend let a lone being able to get the most out of your exercise routine and then not progressing as quickly as you hoped. The other reason not to overdress is that if you're training or running in the rain you are going to get wet, so the more layers you wear the heavier and more uncomfortable you're going to get and feel! Freezing - Onions have layers and so should you! Being aware of what the weather is doing and also what it could do means that you can layer your clothes appropriately so that you can adapt it to what ever mother nature throws at you. Very simply - base layers are worn against skin, mid layers on top of base layers and outer layers are worn on top, although some mid layers you can wear as base layers. Wind - Never pleasant on the nose! Windchill is the perceived lowering of air temperature felt by the body due to the flow of cold air. For example (this would be significantly lower if damp or wet): 10℃ with a 10mph wind is going to feel like 8℃ 4℃ with a 15mph wind is going to feel like -1℃ 0℃ with a 20mph wind is going to feel like -7℃ For this reason you must ensure your extremities, which aren't being given very much blood, due to it being sent to the muscles to help propel you a long, are going to get cold very quickly, leading to frost nip or in very extreme conditions, frostbite. If you do get frost nip or have a slight loss of feeling in an area (I'm talking mild cases in safe environments as opposed to extreme symptoms and environments!), do not rub or massage the effected area. Firstly remove yourself from exposure to the elements and get out of any wet clothing. Hands placed in armpits can help to increase the temperature in your fingers and hands. Never get into a hot shower or place hands or feet under warm or hot water as this will lead to pain and extreme itchiness - not pleasant! Rather place in cool water, which will feel warm initially, until the water starts to feel cold and then very gradually increase the temperature - take your time doing this! Passive rewarming is the way to go, so using extra layers and blankets, avoid direct contact to heat pads and radiators. Rain - if it isn't raining, we're not training! If you're running in the rain you may stay dry, but as mentioned earlier, if you're circuit training in the rain, you ARE going to get wet - so ensure that you avoid cotton and that any clothes that you are going to wear do not chafe at all, because when wet and against soft, damp skin they will quickly become uncomfortable and sore. Also, as mentioned above, windchill will significantly increases when wet (through rain or sweat) so anticipate this before you go out and dress appropriately. Compression clothing: I'm not going to talk about compression wear in this blog apart from saying that it is definitely a good idea that works, especially post exercise. Footwear: I'm not going to mention footwear apart from saying that make sure that you have the appropriate grip for the terrain that you're going to be training on and also if it's torrential rain or you are going to be running through deep puddles, Goretex/waterproof linings in your trainers won't stop the water from going over the top of your trainers, soaking through your socks and then not draining away, but waterproof socks are fantastic, again as long as water doesn't go over the top - try SealSkinz. Nice! The layering system and clothing choices: Lower body options: Base - Loose/tight shorts - short and mid length Base - 3/4 length tights Base - Full length tights Upper body options: Base - sports bra/crop top (women only, as not a good look for any man!) Base - Loose/tight vest Base - Loose/tight t-shirt (for running I prefer one's with a zip so that i can manage my temperature a bit more) Base - Long sleeved loose/tight t-shirt (thumbholes can help to keep wrists and hands warm) Base/Mid - Long sleeved pull over with 3/4 length zip (again, thumbholes can be useful) - can be worn as a base or mid layer Mid - Windproof and/or shower proof gilet Outer - Windproof and/or shower proof long sleeved pull over (3/4 length zip) or jacket (hoods can be useful in extreme weather to help keep head and ears warm - look for those that can be zipped away as otherwise can be annoying in the wind) Extremities: Base - Broad width head band for ears Base - Arm sleeves - forearm/whole arm (Nike's included phone/MP3 player pocket) Base - Appropriate socks for the temperature, distance, terrain and also for problem area injury prevention (for example achilles protection and blisters) - not cotton! Base - Long socks covering the calf muscles Base - Thin running gloves Base - Windproof gloves Base/Outer - Waterproof gloves - try the Ultra Grip gloves from SealSkinz Base - Thin beanie hat (think about material choice and fit - ear covering) - I like the Skullcap from Sealskinz Base - Cap with visor Base - Buff (can keep neck warm, pulled up over the mouth to stop you from breathing in cold air and even used as a hat or ear warmer, during long runs I will wear one on my wrist so that I can also wipe sweat from my eyes) General comments: > If you carry a day sack look for jackets/gilets whose pockets sit above the belt strap so that you can still gain access and for comfort, also avoid tops that have stitching on top of the shoulders to avoid chaffing > Look for gloves that enable you to use your smart phone and tablets without taking them off as you will at the very least get very frustrated with having to remove your gloves or worse, loose the removed glove! > Regulate your temperature/comfort on the go - use zips to increase/decrease airflow (some jackets have underarm or back panels and zips), add/remove hats and gloves and also add/remove mid and outer layers too - most training/running outers stuff small enough to fit in a pocket > Try and pre-empt the terrain and your effort level. For example, if approaching a steep incline think about unzipping or even removing a layer, hats or gloves, before you get there in order that you avoid over heating and the inherent drop in performance and comfort level > Removed clothing, depending on what it is, can be put in a pocket, day sack or tied around your waist > If training outside and can't shower and change immediately after finishing, ensure that you have at the very least a dry base layer and an insulating mid/outer to put on as you will quickly cool, especially if damp through sweat and/or rain > Buffs can be used as a makeshift towel to remove sweat and rain before putting dry clothes on > Base layers come in hot or cold climate options and sometimes even differ in level of intensity > Gaiters can be an extremely effective method of not only helping to keep feet dry, but also for stopping debris from entering your shoes. Essential if running on muddy, sandy and rock strewn terrain > Most sports wear is made from synthetic materials due to them being lightweight and their quick drying and sweat wicking capabilities, however, merino wool is also becoming increasingly more popular. I would say to avoid cotton as it takes a long time to dry and also can be quite abrasive once wet - sore nipples is never pleasant!