It is far better to continue running during the winter months than to take three months off and risk losing fitness and gaining weight. But all too often, we do not want to brave the cold weather or go out when the mornings and evenings are dark. The good news is that you need not be cold when exercising during the big freeze. There is plenty of winter gear available now for runners, and much of it in bright or high visibility designs so you can be seen by car drivers during the dark times of the day.
The most important thing to consider when trying to keep warm while running is that you need to wear several thin layers. One big jacket will keep you warm initially, but after you have been running for a while you will get too hot. At this point you cannot really take off the coat if you have only a light t-shirt underneath. Instead, opt for a base or compression layer with your regular long-sleeved running shirt over the top. You should wear a lightweight and preferably breathable jacket over the top of that. These garments should be made from moisture wicking materials to enable you to regulate your temperature properly, and not feel soggy and uncomfortable.
What you decide to wear on your legs will be dependent on the local weather conditions where you live. For some, snow will always be a danger, and in this case it is best to go for a pair of jogging pants, tracksters, or running tights so that your legs are completely protected. In other places, sticking with a pair of shorts is fine as the leg muscles will get warm after a few minutes of running.
A few other items are extremely useful for cold weather running, and these include a pair of gloves and a beanie. There is nothing worse than suffering with freezing cold hands or ears during a session and either of these problems can be the last straw when it comes to winter training. Aim for lightweight, moisture wicking materials which will allow you to regulate your temperature and prevent you becoming wet as you exert yourself.
Whatever you decide to wear to keep warm during your winter running, it is essential to make sure it is brightly colored and that other people can see you easily, especially if you run in urban areas with a lot of traffic nearby. Ideally, you should also aim to run in places that are well lit so you can spot any hazards in front of you and avoid accidents.
If you follow these simple tips you will retain much of your fitness throughout the winter and when the spring season starts, you will be raring to go run a 5K, safe in the knowledge that you will not have to start from scratch.