Although you don’t need to buy specialised clothing to train outside, a few extra bits of kit can make battling against the elements all the more pleasant. Here are a few things that I’d recommend, especially for those winter months:
For your extremities
Your hands are the usually the first to feel the chill, and a pair of old gloves (you don’t really need to buy a specialist pair) will help prevent numb pinkies. I find that my hands warm up pretty quickly, unless it’s really cold, so I prefer to wear tops with long sleeves that I can pull down over my hands until I start to warm up, then I don’t have to carry gloves around with me.
On your head
You loose most of your body heat through your head, so a hat can make a huge difference. Again, unless it’s really cold, I prefer to wear a hoodie, so that when I warm up, I can just pull the hood down and don’t have to worry about carrying a hat around.
A rain and wind-proof outer layer is really important for those wild and wet days. The best ones are breathable, so that you don’t get too sweaty on the inside. I prefer the really lightweight versions, which you don’t actually notice you’re wearing. These are a lot more expensive compared to a basic pac-a-mac, but are well worth the investment if you’re serious about training outside.
Underneath this, a layering system is the best option. Try to avoid cotton next to your skin as this just soaks up moisture and will leave you feeling cold and damp. Your base layer should be a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat away from your body. If it’s really cold, thermal tops (like those made by Helly Hansen) work really well. You can then wear another layer on top of this for added warmth, either a t-shirt or fleece, depending on the weather and intensity of your workout.
Look after those legs
It’s important to keep your legs warm, especially when you set off, as cold muscles can pull. Running tights or tracksuit bottoms are a good idea (wear both on a really cold day!). Try a few different styles on to see what feels more comfortable, and suits your body shape!
Best foot forward
If you plan on doing lots of off-road running, it’s worth investing in some off-road or trail shoes. These have a much better grip in the mud, are usually waterproof (to a certain level!) and offer much more protection against rocks and rough ground.
Keep your lips kissable
Avoid weather-beaten sore and cracked lips by slapping on some lip balm before you head out.
Experiment to find out what suits you
A lot of this is down to personal choice, and you’ll soon learn what works you, as you get more experienced. The most important thing is to avoid overdressing. You’ll just overheat and sweat a lot, which will in turn, make you cold!