Photo: Nathaniel Wilder/TandemStock

Tips for Running in Every Kind of Weather

Tips for Running in Every Kind of Weather

While ideal running conditions may be cool temperatures under a blue sky with a slight breeze (at your back!), running outdoors in all conditions is not only doable, but it can be enjoyable. With some strategic timing, gear selection and smarts, you’ll soon laugh in the face of adversity as you lace up your shoes and head out for a run. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

HEAT

When: During the dog days of summer, the time of day that you run matters. Rising early and running before temperatures rise can make the difference between a pleasant run and a test of survival. Late evening runs, especially after the sun goes down, can also be an effective strategy to avoid the heat.

Where: Choose shady locations, like trails or paths through dense tree cover, against hillsides that block sunlight, or between tall buildings. Opt for routes that cross water—either road or trail runs that cross creeks, streams, or pass by lakes. On urban runs, consider how and where you might pass water fountains or spots for refilling hydration.

What to Wear/Bring: Choose lightweight, breathable fabrics. Cover your face and eyes with a hat or visor. Carry water/hydration fluids.

HUMIDITY

When/Where: In some places, it’s tough to escape humidity, but choosing shaded routes or routes near or by water can help with the heat aspect of summer humidity.

What to Wear/Bring: Sweat-wicking fabrics are your friend. But since you’ll likely end up drenched anyway, make sure those fabrics are also lightweight and quick-drying. Carry hydration/fluids, as runners lose exponential amounts of sweat in humid conditions. Wear hats/visors with sweat-wicking headbands, or a headband on its own, to help keep sweat out of your eyes. 

WIND

When: If you have flexibility in your day, check weather reports for predicted wind gusts and run when they’re lowest.

Where: Choose sheltered routes, like between tall trees or tall buildings, to utilize their windblocking abilities. Also, consider which direction the wind is coming from: If it’s coming from the north, for instance, choose a trail-running route on a south-facing slope to utilize the hill or mountain’s wind-blocking ability, if you’re able.

What to Wear/Bring: Billed hats or caps can go flying in gusts of wind, so leave them at home. If it’s a cold wind, choose a windshell or layer with windblocking material on the frontside (most running apparel items with windblock have breathable materials on the backside).

RAIN

When/Where: Again, if you have flexibility in your day, check weather reports and opt for times when lighter rainfall is forecast over heavier precipitation. More densely forested areas, or tree-lined paths, can offer added protection.

What to Wear/Bring: Depending on the temperatures, you may be fine in shorts and a tech tee, plus an readiness to embrace the moisture. If it’s cool or cold, opt for capris or long tights—just make sure they’re thin and made of quick-drying fabric. (Thick tights turn to saggy, heavy tights when wet.) To stay somewhat dry, opt for a jacket that’s been treated with Durable Water Repellency (DWR), or made of Gore-Tex or other waterproof material that also breathes well. And to keep rain off your face, choose a hat with a brim.

SNOW

When/Where: If you run trails somewhere that snow might melt throughout the day, consider runs earlier in the day than later. Running on fresh, crunchy snow is more enjoyable (and better for preserving the trail) than running on a mix of wet snow and mud. 

What to Wear/Bring: To stay warm, opt for brushed or fleece-lined tights or pants, a heat-regulating baselayer, and a breathable running jacket. Softshells work well in snow, since they shed snow while offering breathable warmth. Beanies and gloves keep extremities warm, and long socks that bridge the gap between shoes and tights keep ankles protected, especially in deep snow. Since snow can turn urban roads to trails, and the hilly nature of trails makes grip on snow critical in icy, snowy conditions, traction devices—toothy metal accessories that slip over regular running shoes—can come in handy. 

Whatever the weather, embracing the conditions and heading out for a run (instead of hopping on a treadmill or, worse, skipping your run) can be fun. And it makes you tough. You’ll likely return home with a true sense of accomplishment, looking out the window at whatever Mother Nature has served, and knowing you did that!

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.

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