Saturday, January 29, 2011

What to wear running in 50 degrees Part 2

Temp: 52 degrees (15 C)
Humidity/Precip.: high/none
Wind: 8 mph (light breeze)
Terrain: Rolling hills
Distance: 3 miles

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about running in 50 degrees. I wore tights, a t and light jacket and said I would have been too hot if I'd gone much further. Taking that advice, today...

What I Wore: Puma shorts, Road Runner Sports very light-weight, long-sleeve shirt, the usual brimmed hat.

Did It Work: Yes, with my sleeves pushed up for the last half. Except for one woman in sweats and capris, other runners were dressed similarly or wearing t-shirts (men). My core warms up pretty quickly, but my arms and hands can stay cold far into a run at these temps, so I like a sleeve.

What I Mean by "Light Weight": When shopping for tights and tops, test the fabric "weight" (aka warmth due to thickness) by:
1) reading the label
2) rubbing the fabric between your fingers
3) feeling the lining (a soft, brushed lining is warmer)
4) comparing the actual weight of similar items by hanging them off of a finger and doing mini lifts and
5) checking for vented panels.
Today's shirt is "very light" because it:
a) has thin fabric that is not brushed  on the inside
b) weighs less than my other long-sleeve tops and
c) has the nice, wide vented panel in the back displayed in the photo. This vent makes it better at these temps, when a heavier shirt would be too much.

Happy running!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Too cold to run in shorts?

When is it too cold to run in shorts? For every person it's different, but here's my rough guide...

It's too cold if everyone else is wearing ski gear. Even if you run warm, protect your skin on cold, snowy days with tights.

It's ok to have goose bumps at first. Being cool when you start will help keep you from sweating too much, which can lead to abruptly cooling down. It also will prevent your heart rate from jumping too quickly. Even though it means a cold start, I wear shorts down to about 44 degrees (~4 C).

It's not ok to have goose bumps at the end. If you don't know if you run hot or cold, do a short (1-2 miles) test run on a 45-50 degree day. Try wearing shorts and a long-sleeve top. At the beginning, middle and end of the run (not the "stopped running" end, but the "homestretch, last push!" end), think about how comfortable you are.
  • A little chilly throughout the run? Try adding gloves and/or a warmer hat. 
  • Cold with goose bumps, even at the end? Move up to tights. 
  • Totally Goldilocks (aka Just right!)? You've found a sweet spot and can adjust accordingly as temps rise and fall.
Hope this helps and remember: none of us gets it right every time. I might make fun of you in my head if I see you out there, in sleet or snow, in shorts, but I'll still be glad to see you. Happy running!

Monday, January 17, 2011

What to wear running in 45 degrees

Temp: 44-48 degrees (7-9 C)
Wind: Calm
Humidity/Precip.: Moderate/None
Terrain: Rolling hills
Distance: 4 miles

What I Wore: Dri-fit capris; Road Runner Sports light-weight, long-sleeve shirt; Asics mid-weight, long-sleeve outer layer and a fleece-lined running cap.

Did it Work: Yes, with a twist: I was running in the hills of Boise, which means 1) the altitude was kicking my behind! 2) the temperature at the foot of the hills was about 4 degrees cooler than up higher, so...
I warmed up easily but was glad to have the layers at the end of the run when the air cooled down.

Travel Tip: I visit my mom in Boise three or four times a year. It's a short flight from San Francisco and very easy, as long as I don't check luggage. A simple way to pack light is to leave a pair of running shoes at her house.
If you have a parental home or timeshare that you visit often, find an out-of-the-way place to stash a pair of running shoes. That way, you don't have to make room in your luggage for another pair of shoes and can't make excuses to not run!

Happy trails (and travels)!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Running in 42 degrees (aka Hiding My Behind in Running Tights)

Temp: 42 degrees (6 C) and sunny
Wind: Calm
Humidity/Precip.: Moderate/None
Terrain: Rolling hills
Distance: 3 miles

What I Wore: Nike light-weight running tights; Asics light-weight, long-sleeve, wicking T-shirt; Nike heavy-weight running jacket; Asics gloves; and Nike running hat.

Did It Work: Yes. In the sun, I was comfortably warm and in the shade, which there's a lot of during this time of year, I was perfectly neutral. Plus, I've been sick, so I wanted something that would cover my neck without the weight of a balaclava.

A rare shot from the rear
Most importantly, I haven't run in three weeks, which means that, in my opinion, my bum does not need to be seen in running tights. Because running and cotton go together like pickles and ice cream, I don't train in baggy sweats, so I pulled on wicking running tights and then subtly covered up with the running jacket. It has a long tail, to cover my rear, and zip pockets in the front to hold my Kleenex.

Happy trails!