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John's Running Tips

Layering for Winter

Colder temperatures are here, and sleeveless tanks have given way to long-sleeved tops with thumb holes in the cuffs. As you probably already know, the key to cold-weather running is to dress in layers. But, did you also know that there are specific types of clothing and fabrics that should be chosen for each layer?

For your top half, here is the recommended three-layer system, comprised of a base layer, thermal layer, and outer shell.

Base Layer

This is the most important layer, and its job is to keep you warm and dry. Look for form-fitting long-sleeved shirts made of technical fabrics that wick away sweat and allow evaporation. Since keeping warm in the winter is all about staying dry, avoid cotton shirts—they will hold moisture and cause you to become wet and chilled.

Thermal Layer

The premise of layering is that the air between the layers provides you with much-needed warmth. An insulating thermal layer is optional, depending on the weather conditions and your personal preference. Fabrics like Polar Fleece and Arctic Fleece add warmth without weight, in contrast to traditional bulkier options like thick cotton and wool. Again, choose a moisture-wicking fabric, otherwise you will dampen the effectiveness of your layers.

Outer Shell

This is not an everyday necessity, but definitely an asset on cold, windy days. A proper shell should prevent the winter wind from reaching your damp base layer, as well as allowing moisture and some heat to escape from inside. A windproof, breathable shell is your best bet. Purchasing a high-quality waterproof jacket will allow you to make use of your investment in all seasons.

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