With the start of October, we are in the midst of my absolute favorite running season, autumn. The temperatures are cooler but there isn’t snow and ice covering the ground yet. Humidity is finally at bay, but daylight is slowly decreasing which means more runs are done in the dark. What to wear for running in fall is a question of what will keep you warm but not overheat you and what will keep you visible before sunrise or after sunset.
A lot depends on personal preference, but overall this time of year is when you want to start adding layers to your running clothing. You want to wear enough to keep you warm, but not enough to overheat. Once you start running and your core body temperature rises, it can feel as if it is 15 degrees warmer than it actually is outside. Because of this, you don’t need to wear jackets over long sleeve shirts just yet (unless you live really far north). Some runners may still be comfortable wearing shorts and can simply switch their short sleeve shirt for a long sleeve shirt. Capris and running tights offer warmer options for those who live farther north or get colder easier (both of which apply to me).
When Ryan and I head out on our morning runs here, it is usually about 40-50 degrees and still dark. He usually wears a long sleeve shirt such as the C9 technical long sleeve, shorts, and a hat to keep his head warm. Since I tend to be more sensitive to the cold, I will wear running capris, a long sleeve running shirt, and a hat and gaiter if my shirt doesn’t have a hood (which my favorite ones from GapFit, as seen below, have).
Hats, gaiters, and hoods provide extra protection from the wind this time of year. I also like them because they prevent the wind from tangling my hair (which I wear in a braid when I run). Gloves can also be used to provide additional warming, especially if your hands tend to get cold easily. My shirts usually come with thumb holes so the sleeves cover most of my hands, so I don’t wear gloves yet – usually I start wearing gloves once it’s in the low 30s.
Warmth is not the only factor that should go into your decision of what to wear for running in fall. If you are running in the morning or at night, you need to consider visibility. Visibility is essential to runner’s safety, as it helps you be seen by cars and bikes. In addition to gear such as lights (which I will discuss in an upcoming post), reflective gear and bright colors are great ways to increase your visibility. Most of my running wardrobe is bright pink or purple, so that always helps increase my visibility when it’s dark outside. Many running clothing brands offer reflective jackets, such as Brooks Nightlife line. Other running clothes have reflective strips on them, and some running shoes now come in reflective and bright colors for increased visibility.
Even though it’s not as hot and humid as the summer months, you still want to wear clothes that are appropriate for sweating. Cotton does not allow your skin to breathe and actually traps sweat between your skin and the clothing. This means that the sweat will stay on your body and can cool you down too much. When it’s chilly outside, you can the combination of the cold air and the sweat trapped on your skin can actually lead to hypothermia – not good. You want to wear fabrics that wick away sweat and allow your skin to breathe. Most running clothes now are made of technical fabric that wicks sweat while keeping you warm, and these are the fabrics you should choose for fall running.
You can also risk hypothermia if you run in the rain without appropriate clothing. If you live in a climate that tends to be windy and rainy in the fall (like I do!), consider investing in a running windbreaker/raincoat. Most running clothing brands make them – such as Brooks and Saucony. I have the one pictured below from GapFit and I love it – i keeps me warm, the hood stays on while I run, and it has pockets that I can keep my phone and gels in.
And now I want to go shopping.
(Note: I am not affiliated with or sponsored by any of these brands. These are merely personal preferences. I did not receive any reimbursement for this post).
Questions of the day:
What’s your favorite running season?
What running brands have your favorite clothes?
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