Tips for runners to stay warm

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

I have to hand it to the hard-core runners who I still see out on the bike path. They are out there getting in their daily miles despite the fact the temperatures have taken a drastic dip recently.

I know there is a group of dedicated runners here in town who never take a day off. To them, it doesn’t matter how high or low the mercury goes—they keep on doing what they love to do.

For those runners who continue their outdoor regimen, even on the coldest days of the year, they rely on having the proper equipment. Keeping the extremities warm and dry is a key to surviving the extreme elements.

It’s a well-known fact that much of the body’s heat is released through the head. A warm wool hat is essential, and many cold-weather runners also choose to wear some type of facemask. I’ve been told that neoprene, fleece and wool are some of the preferred materials.

A neck gaiter can also be extremely valuable on a frigid, windy day to protect your neck and face. You can also pull it up over your mouth to warm the air you’re breathing.

Warm gloves and socks are also a key component to maintaining warmth and comfort when it’s cold outside and ice and snow are covering the ground. Never wear cotton socks (in cold or warm weather) when running because they won’t wick away the moisture. Instead, be sure to wear a good pair of wicking socks made of fabrics such as acrylic or wool. Some cold-weather runners prefer mittens to gloves because the fingers will share their body heat.

Under Armour has a complete line of cold-weather running gear that promises to accelerate the evaporation of moisture and at the same time aids in the increase of blood circulation, which helps keep the body warm.

If you’re going to run outside during the winter, it’s best to do it safely. That not only includes wearing the proper gear, but also making sure you keep your eyes open for those patches of ice along the way.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Dec. 15-21, 2010

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