Let me rephrase that: I'll share what every Floridian (or southerner) needs to know about dressing for the cold.
All the northerners take for granted winter apparel, kind of the same way we Floridians take for granted how you're only suppose to worry about a Cat. 3 or above hurricanes.
When I moved to Ohio for two years, I had to learn how to dress for the real cold (as opposed to cold in the morning, short sleeves in the afternoon). Snow boots, scarves, thermal tops/bottoms, ear muffs... all these things were new to me.
I learned quickly!! And with a little help from my newly-acquired snowbird friends.
When I decided I was finally going to run through the winter (here in NC), I had to educate my thin-blooded Floridian self on the dos and don'ts of winter running apparel. So here's what I learned:
1. Start with a warm, sweat-wicking base layer. I almost always wear a long sleeve tech-fabric top. If it's in the 30s or below, I'll put on running tights as well. I've also worn cotton leggings, but I've never done that for long runs. Never underestimate the benefits of sweat-wicking material for when it's cold! It will keep you dry, which ultimately keeps you warmer!
2. Put on multiple light layers. For me, this includes running shorts over my tights ('cause I'm modest and all) and a short sleeve tech tee. If it's really cold, I'll throw on another lightweight long sleeve shirt.
3. Some kind of baggy, breathable jacket that covers up the upper chest and neck area. No matter how many layers I have on, if my neck isn't covered, I'm miserable (and I inevitably lose my voice later that day!)
4. If it's windy, I'll throw on a headband to keep my ears warm (I inherited my father's lovely Dumbo ears, so they really catch the wind). My rule of thumb: if it's cold enough for the headband, it's cold enough for gloves (though the opposite isn't necessarily true). I like cheap gloves from Walmart because I don't feel bad if I lose one or if they get really raunchy from sweating (or failed snot rockets). Note the gloves come up high on the wrist- very warm!
(You can see a live modeling of the above outfit if you watch the finish line video of the Huntersville 5k. I'm around minute 18:45.)
Recently, I've started wearing a "throw away" jacket when I start my run. When I warm up enough, I take it off and stash it in the woods or on the side of the road/trail. If it's there when I come back, great. If not, I'll go buy another $2 jacket at Goodwill.
You'll notice I have nothing displayed for my feet. I haven't quite figured that part out yet. I guess I could try double-layering my socks, but that doesn't keep my feet warmer when I'm not running. I usually wear regular socks and my toes thaw after about 3 miles.
So there you have it- a Floridian's opinion on how to dress for winter running!
How do you stay warm in the winter while you're running?
What kind of socks would you recommend to keep feet warm? And are they really worth the $$$?