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What To Wear Running: Pro Runners’ Tips for Every Season!

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There is no such thing as bad weather, just poor preparation. If you gear up with the right running clothing in the winter and summer months, there’s no reason that you can’t hit the pavement 12 months out of the year – no matter where you live!

I live in an area with super cold winters and hot and humid summers, so I know a thing or two about running in not-so-great weather.

Below, I wanted to break down the best running clothes by season. 

1. Summer Running

The key to running in super hot and humid temperatures is to keep your clothing light and moisture-wicking. Fabrics such as nylon or spandex won’t absorb sweat and will help to keep your skin cool and dry to prevent chafing.

It’s also super important to gear up with tools to protect your skin from the sun, where the UV rays are shining at their very brightest. 

Tops: Many runners opt for a basic sports bra for women, and men shed their shirts entirely. Suppose you’re apprehensive about showing a little skin (like me!); stick with lightweight nylon tank tops that fit tightly to your skin to prevent rubbing and chaffing.

With all of that exposed skin, it’s also super important to lather a layer of sunscreen to protect your skin. Sore muscles are enough to deal with; the last thing you want is a sunburn!

Bottoms: Again, nylon is your friend here. To keep cool, I suggest investing in a pair of nylon running shorts (like biking shorts) that will prevent your thighs from chafing and keep your skin nice and dry. 

Accessories: Hats, sunglasses, and moisture-wicking socks are three of the must-have accessories for running in the summertime.

These tools will help to keep you cool while also protecting your head and eyes from the sun.

It’s also super important that you bring along a water bottle of a hydration vest because you are sure to lose a lot of water on those hot weather runs!

2. Springtime Running

The weather in the spring is all over the map. If you are tracking the weather forecast on the hunt for a day that isn’t raining, you might be waiting for a very long time.

As long as you gear up with rain-ready clothing, you don’t need to be sidelined by a little bit of rain. 

Tops: A good rain jacket can make all of the difference in the world. Look for running jackets made from waterproof materials (rather than moisture-wicking), and use lightweight and breathable fabrics.

The Gore Wear R7 is an excellent choice because the Gore-tex shakedry tech protects your body from wind, rain, and cold. 

Bottoms: Capri running pants are my go-to for springtime running. I like to wear capris made from moisture-wicking materials such as nylon to avoid chafing or pants with a bit of extra insulation built into the lining to keep my legs warm.

Capri running tights are great because they cover your legs but won’t drag the cuffs of your pants through the mud. 

Accessories: A good hat will help with the rain, or even a jacket with a good hood will suffice. Also, be sure that you grab running shoes with a good grip.

Sidewalks and trails are likely to be wet (and stay wet!), so maintaining your footing is key. Shoes like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS are an excellent choice for the summer due to the super-grippy rubber outsole. 

3. Autumn Running

The leaves are changing, the air smells crisp and clean, and the temperatures are slightly schizophrenic! The key to running in the fall is to dress in layers. You will likely end up shedding most of your layers by the end of the run, but it’s always essential to get started on the right foot. 

Tops: I like to break out my running vest in the autumn. Running vests are lightweight and breathable but do a great job keeping you warm. Be sure to pair your vest with an excellent moisture-wicking base layer to keep your skin nice and dry.

Bottoms: I like to stick with nylon capri pants in the fall. They will help keep your legs nice and insulated and wick away moisture to prevent chafing. 

Accessories: The key to the perfect autumn run is to utilize light layers. Accessories like hats, running gloves, headbands and even scarves will keep you warm at the start of your run and are super easy to pop off once your internal body temperature starts to rise. 

4. Winter Running

Layers, layers, layers! Running in sub-40-degree temperatures is tricky, but it can be done with the proper clothing. Leave that giant puffy coat at home, and instead equip your body with a good base, mid, and top layer to hold in the heat without weighing you down.

By simply utilizing the 3-layer system, winter runs are back on the table!

Base layer: Your base layer should be a tight-fitting long-sleeve nylon top that works to wich moisture away from your skin. When sweat hangs out against your skin, it will make your skin quite cold. A good base layer should keep your skin nice and dry. 

Mid Layer: An excellent mid-layer works to insulate your body heat. It needs to hold your body temperature against your skin but still offer a little bit of breathability so that all of that heat doesn’t cause your body to overly sweat. It should fit a little bit loosely while also wicking away moisture.

I love full-zip fleece mid layers because they’re comfortable and easy to remove as needed. 

Top Layer: The top layer is designed to work as a shield to protect you from cold weather. This layer is often made from waterproof and windproof materials that shield your body from the wind and rain. Even though it’s cold outside, your top layer doesn’t need to be big and bulky.

The Under Armour Storm is a great choice because it boasts three layers of softshell materials, and it’s incredibly lightweight and flexible. 

Helpful Advice

The most important piece of advice I could give you when gearing up to go out for a run is that it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. If you are overprepared, shedding layers is easy. You can take any type of running gear off in the middle of a run, but you can’t add clothes you left at home.

Keep your layers light, always reach for moisture-wicking materials such as nylon, and ditch the cotton clothing!

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