How to transition your running apparel for cooler weather
By Luke Paulson
Fall in Western North Carolina means many great things – vibrant foliage, crisp mornings, apple picking, and, some of the best running conditions around. Fall foliage can turn the seemingly mundane neighborhood route into one of true splendor. Fall temperatures can turn the unbearably hot and muggy Bent Creek trail run of July into a comparatively effortless cool and breezy run just temperate enough to break a sweat. The transition from the long, warm days of summer to shorter, cooler fall days also brings an entirely new set of challenges that must not be ignored. The frosty mornings and dimly lit evenings of fall can necessitate additional layers, headlamps, and reflective gear that we, at Jus’ Running, can help with!
While having a complete wardrobe of apparel and accessories is a prerequisite to fully take advantage of all this season has to offer, you don’t have to break the bank in the process! Assuming you are properly dressed, you will not sweat as much and thus can get away with fewer items of each type (shorts, shirt, gloves, etc). Re-using a pair of running shorts during the summer months without having washed them can lead to bad smells and agonizing chafing, but this is less of an issue in cooler weather as you will be sweating less.
One must consider the outside temperature, wind, and time of day when deciding what to wear. Not only that, but the general rule of “starting cold” will prevent you from having to shed a layer before getting out of the neighborhood. “It’s hard to predict just how warm you will get when running in temperatures below 45 degrees,” states Jus’ Running employee and avid runner Joe Ainsworth, “I always assume that it’s 10-15 degrees warmer than the actual temperature and I dress accordingly. I hate getting 1 mile into the run and I’m already overheated because I opted to wear running pants when I should have worn shorts.”
Cold fingers can quickly make a run miserable! Ainsworth suggests erring on the safe side when it comes to your fingers. “When it comes to gloves, if you’re deciding to wear them or not you should always wear them. I’ve learned my hands can get really cold easily and even if I don’t end up needing them on my run, they are so simple to tuck in my waist belt. However, if I leave them at home and my hands get cold then I’m stuck with a pretty uncomfortable run.”
As for running tops, multi-sport adventurer Natalie Sayre cites the benefit of half-zips and hand covers, “fall temperatures often feel so much colder before you start running, but I’m always amazed at how quickly I heat up. I have a warmer pullover that has the built-in hand covers and a half-zip that easily allows you to cool off after starting your run at the right temperature.”
In addition to layering, the utilization of proper materials such as windproof fabric and wool are key to enjoying the entirety of a cool-weather run. I endured countless very uncomfortable runs back when living in Colorado Springs before learning the magic of wind-resistant layers. Including wind-resistant layers during physical activity – jacket, tights, and gloves – was a huge game changer for me. Rather than letting the wind rid the warmth away from one’s body, the very thin and lightweight wind-proof material found in some tops, bottoms, and headwear act as a barrier between one’s body and the outside.
Jus’ Running maggot Evan Narburgh highlights the importance of natural fiber-based clothing. “Wool is often an overlooked cool-weather running material, states Narburgh.
In addition to dressing smart, it is also imperative to consider visibility when running in the fall and winter months. “Making sure you are visible is key when running this time of year. With our days becoming shorter many of our afternoon runs will end in darkness. Be smart and run with a headlamp or at the very least a blinker so you can notify others of your presence on the road and trail,” says Joe Ainsworth.
Still unsure what to wear? Stop by Jus’ Running today to get yourself properly outfitted for the seasons! From insulating North Face running jackets to rechargeable Petzl headlamps to wind-resistant Salomon gloves, we have you covered!