Ah yes, winter has come early this year in many areas of the US. Tis the season to find out if you are a man or mouse, a woman or a wimp. With colder weather comes the never ending quest to find that perfect combination of layers to combat the elements.
Today’s workout is really more of an experiment with clothing and finding out what works and what doesn’t. For me, when the temperatures drop, I need more motivation to get out there. I mean who really wants to bike or run when the thermostat says it’s 30 or below. For most of my younger years I simply didn’t have the proper clothing to really battle the elements.
As most people know, the body will generate its own heat and any exercise has the capacity to raise one’s core body temperature. The harder you workout, the more heat is generated and in turn can raise your core temperature several degrees. Since the body likes to maintain a steady temperature, the body will cool itself by producing sweat. If the body is working optimally, the harder one works out, the more sweat will be produced.
I must have one of those really optimal systems, because I sweat a ton. For me and those like me, who are big sweat producers, you really need a good layering system. My material of choice is Merino wool and my companies of choice are Rapha, SmartWool and Ice Breaker. You really can not go wrong with any products these companies produce.
For the upper body I like to wear a base layer and a mid layer when the temps are moderately cold and add a outer layer to block the wind or to increase warmth. Having the option to choose from a vest or jacket is always nice. Another great option to have are arm warmers. These are typically worn by cyclists on cool days and are equally as effective for runners.
Your base layer serves as vessel to transport sweat from the body to the next layer. Not having the right base layer can mean feeling clammy and cold. Wool excels at keeping the body warm even when wet and is the perfect base layer. My favorite base layer is the Rapha Merino Base Layer (Short Sleeve), it drys fast, it doesn’t get stinky and it feels great.
The mid layer serves as a sponge to soak up sweat and pull it away from the base layer as well as act like thermal barrier. Using a vest or jacket helps you retain heat and block the outside chill. I really love many of the Ice Breaker offerings. Ice Breaker has various material weights (120, 150, 200 and 260) to choose from.
For the lower body, I think I found my favorite set of tights by SmartWool called PhD® Run Tech Tight.
For the feet, SmartWool has a host of great socks.
For the head, I am a big fan of beanie type hats. Depending on how cold it is, you may also opt for some extra ear coverage.
Lastly for the hands I will either go with mittens or some type of runners gloves.
Now is a great time to experiment with what works for you. Having a great set of cold weather gear will make your workouts so much more enjoyable.