Another fun topic – another great reason to go shopping. Since I started running my focus on a shopping tour has drastically changed. I now seek out sports shops like Intersport and in big malls I’m looking for the brand shops like Nike, Under Armour or Adidas. However there are also quite a few running brands online that are more specialised and very worth it.
Tip: Google what you want a couple of times, like the social media accounts of the brands or shops and you will start seeing appealing advertisments that show you the full range of what is out there – that way you make marketing automation work for you 😉 (of course your third party browser cookies need to be enabled)
General rule: Always go with fabric that is moisture-wicking and fast-drying. It makes a huge difference and you don’t want sweat-soaked cotton shirt fabric clinging to your every move, getting cold during your run. It’s extremely uncomfortable.
As with every outdoor activity, there is no bad weather, only wrong gear. You can run in every weather.
Clothing & accessories recommended for every weather:
- Sweat-band for the wrist
It’s hugely practical for wiping things quickly off your face. Sweat, rain, flies, dirt, spiderwebs, snot…
- Elastic breathable panties
- Sports bra. I recommned to go with a size smaller rather than larger than your normal size. It needs to sit really tight to stop the bouncing.
- Sports/Runner’s socks that differentiate between left and right sock. I thought it makes no difference – it does.
Clothing & accessories for Spring/Summer – temperatures between 15° and 40°C
- Running leggings 3/4 length, shorts or even a scort. Just make sure it’s long enough to cover the upper part of your thighs that touch, otherwise they chafe which is uncomfortable. Every runner’s leggings you buy should have one secure pocket for your keys or a hotel key card.
- Running shirt. It’s up to personal taste if you like sleeved shirts or sleeveless. There are even tank tops that leave the belly free. I personally prefer sleeved shirts to avoid chafing.
Alternative: You can buy arm sleeves. They avoid chafing and they put compression on the arms. This is helpful when you feel your blood overly much collecting in your hands and fingers, making them heavy. However this only tends to happen when you drop your arms during running or when you run very long distances.
In very hot temperatures you can simply run with your runners bra of course, and enough sun screen.
- A lightweight cap, ideally with netted material at the side. It has three advantages. First, if you have long hair that parts, you can get a really nasty and painful sunburn on the skin of that parting.
Second, it’s great if the sun is blinding you. Even with sunglasses, it can start to become uncomfortable after a longer time. You can pull the cap lower to shade your eyes. Also it protects your head from over-heating. If you get one with the proper moisture-wicking and breathable material, it won’t feel too hot. Runner’s cap also have a headband on the inside to collect sweat and stop it from flowing into your eyes.
Tip: For women with long hair there are caps with a hole in the back for the pony tail.
- Sunglasses for runners. They have to allow for air circulation so they don’t steam up from the inside and they need to have special material over the bridge of the nose so they don’t slide down with the sweat on your nose. There are several brands who do glasses specifically for runners, here is an example: www.sziols.de
Clothing & accessories for Autumn/Winter – temperatures between -20° and 15°C
Test: When you leave the house it’s ok to feel a bit cold or cool, it will pass quickly as you start running. If you instantly start to shiver and still feel cold and uncomfortable after the first 5-10 minutes, you need to put on more layers.
- Runner’s leggings. Watch out for the material description, they should be described as warm/winter/midzero/thermal tights with “brushed interior”. I started running in October and ran all through winter in up to -15°C and I simply wore two long runner’s leggings together until I got a proper pair of winter tights.
- Layer 1: Runner’s shirt, long-sleeved. It can have the same material as the summer shirts, only now it serves as an undershirt.
- Layer 2: Breathable sports-fleece vest. Your body’s torso is what needs to stay warm at all times, a vest gives that extra bit of protection and warmth. Ideally it should cover your bottom as well, so you can be sure that no cold or rain reaches your kidneys.
- Layer 3: Breathable runner’s jacket for added warmth for the full upper body, incl. the waist
- Layer 4: Water-resistant runner’s jacket with reflective fabric and a hood.
You won’t always need all 4 layers, but if you have them, you can face any constellation of weather by mixing them in the right way. At -15°C & icy wind, I wore all 4 of them and it was cosy. In the in-between times I often only used layer 1 and 2 or 1 and 3 (or 4 if it was raining).
I opted for rather dressing too warm, and if I got hot, I simply pulled down the zipper of my jacket/vest.
- Loop shawl. They have two big advantages: First, they don’t slide down or off and second, if the frontal wind gets too icy, you can pull them temporarily over your mouth and nose until your airways are warm again. They should be thin enough to breathe through it obviously.
- Gloves. They should be wind-tight but still moisture-wicking, otherwise the sweat will collect inside of them. Normal winter gloves are not made for sweaty hands.
- Head & ear protection. In autumn your earphones and a sweat band or a light beanie are enough, but in winter you will need some added warmth. The easiest way to combine that with music is to get really good over-ear bluetooth headphones and wear them on top of a thermal material beanie.
Yes, with the headlamp you’ll look a bit like a dork, but I never cared and those judging you are secretly envious, because it is you who is running in sub-zero temps!
Our head gives off a lot of heat and you need to conserve that during a winter run and avoid an ear infection. This is more important than looking cool!
- Headlamp. The days get shorter in the winter and your run may start while it’s still dark. Don’t let that stop you. There are headlights especially for runners, that light not only your way, but also your surrounding and automatically dim down when a car approaches you, so you don’t blind the driver, but they still see you. The most commonly best one for runners is considered to be the ones from Petzl.
- Reflective warning stripes to wrap around both legs. Yes, most winter clothing has reflection, but to rather be safe than sorry, add those warning stripes. Their movement on your legs will not only identify you as a pedestrian but also as a runner – somebody considerably faster than a pedestrian.
Once you’ve put all of that on, only your eyes will be bare to the weather. I already decided to get a pair of glasses for winter, because I remember my eyes getting watery sometimes last winter in the cold wind. However, once you start running like that through the deserted snowy landscape, while being all warm and cosy, listing to your music – it’s a special kind of magic. To run into a crystal-clear, blood-red sunrise in winter is one of the most exhilarating moments I’ve ever experienced. And it never gets old!