How to Create the Perfect Spring Running Wardrobe with Three Items
Wearing the wrong clothing on a run can be miserable. The wrong types of fabrics and layers can mean the difference between a great run and an unhappy one. They key to running in the spring, when the weather is oh so unpredictable, is versatility!
Recently, I headed out for a long run on a chilly, windy, cloudy spring day. During mile 5 of 17, the clouds parted, the sun came out, and the wind was completely gone. It’s the day you dream of after a record setting cold winter! It was perfect weather, except I was dressed as if it were 20 degrees colder. I failed to follow the advice I’m about to give you. When you’re carrying more layers than you’re wearing, clearly something is wrong.
Add these three simple items to your running wardrobe, and you’ll be versatile enough to handle just about anything spring can throw at you.
The Base Layer
First – your base layer is the most important layer on your body. It establishes the foundation for everything. When temperatures are 40 and up, a fast drying, technical t-shirt and shorts should be adequate to serve as the base of whatever else you’re wearing. When combined with the items below, it will set you up for a comfortable spring run in temperatures ranging from 35 – 55 degrees.
The Running Vest
My running vest (unfortunately discontinued, but similar to this one) is one of my favorite, and most versatile pieces of running clothing I own. Adding it over a variety of base layers allows me to regulate my body temperature for a wide range of conditions.
It stops the wind! While temperatures may be in the 40’s, the wind can cut right through and chill you to the bone. You want something that’s windproof, yet highly breathable. It’s not rocket science… by stopping the wind from getting to your base layer, your running vest will keep your core warm.
Conversely, vests are also great once you warm up on a long run, or if you get out there and it’s warmer than you thought. When unzipped, air can move through and cool you down significantly.
I can’t say enough about arm warmers. I own two pair – Pearl Izumi Elite ($26) for really cold days, and an inexpensive pair, similar to these by Asics ($10) (but actually the Fitsok brand that came in a swag bag one year at the Twin Cities Marathon). I wore them during last years Marathon, with a racing singlet, when temps hovered in the low 50’s. I was perfectly comfortable. I’m also loving these from a MSP company, Louva.
They really help on those runs that begin chilly, but turn warm. Arm warmers take the sting out of the cold, without the added bulk of a heavier long sleeve shirt or jacket. They’re also easy to stash. You can push them down around your wrists, or slip them off and easily carry them.
I typically wear gloves (or bring them along) on the majority of my spring runs. Until the temp is consistently 55+, I grab a pair of cheap knit gloves that I’ve gotten from some former fall race (also in the swag bag).
Knit gloves, while terrible during the winter, take the early morning spring chill away at the beginning of the run, and are easy to carry if it warms up (sound familiar?). They are warm enough to be useful, but not so warm they make you uncomfortable.
They’re also super cheap – especially since mine were free. If you really hate carrying them, you can always toss them (they cost about $1 – unless you’re a spectator, in which case you can pickup a pair that has been tossed by someone else).
Your Spring Running Wardrobe
What have you found most helpful for the unpredictability of spring running?