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T³ #009: Underdress So You Don’t Overheat

This Week on Trail Tip Thursday…

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With the colder weather approaching rapidly, adding hats, gloves, jackets, and scarves to your outfit is a necessity to stay warm battling the elements. Bunding up all nice and toasty is great for driving, running errands, or playing in the snow; you should NEVER be too old to make a snowman or have a snowball fight!

But if you want to prepare your attire for winter activities like a hike in the snow, taking on a run, skiing, snowshoeing, or ice skating, the last thing you want to do is bundle yourself up. And before I go on, a question probably just ran through your mind…

Won’t I Get Cold If I’m Only Wearing a Little Bit of Clothing?

To answer that fairly, it is both yes and no. Yes, the first few moments after stepping into the elements can feel like a bit of a shock, simply because you went from a warm, cozy house or car into the cold atmosphere. Rather than standing there shivering and complaining about how cold it feels, move your body! The best way to stimulate heat is to increase your heart rate, stimulate blood flow throughout the body (especially to your legs and arms) and try to ignore the fact it is cold.

If you are wearing 2 pairs of socks, long johns, pants, long sleeve, short sleeve, sweatshirt, jacket, gloves, hat, and facemask, it won’t take more than 2 minutes to feel like you are in a sauna. Have you ever tried to exercise in a sauna? The excess heat has nowhere to escape, so you retain too much of it within the layers of your clothing, causing you to have decreased performance, or just feel very tired, very quickly.

Which leads us to no, you won’t get cold only by wearing a little bit of clothing, as long as you move! Since you are able to heat up so quickly by moving your body, the type of outfit you wear for physical activities will be different than leisure or comfort situations. As an example, on a 30-degree weather run (after a big snowfall, not during it), my outfit looks like this;


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Wool socks, tights and shorts are worn out of the frame, and underneath that Baselzip-upip up is a dri-fit long sleeve. Buff to protect my nose and mouth from the cold air, and gloves for my wittle fingers


Also, it is a good idea to invest in yourself by picking up some quality baselayer clothing options;

  • Wool Socks: Keep your toes warm, but also helps avoid obtaining wet socks
  • Baselayer Tights: Outdoor apparel companies make thermal performance leggings that are lightweight and breathable, but offer more than enough warmth to prevent your legs from getting cold.
  • Cold Gear Tops: This is a big upgrade from a regular long sleeve shirt. They are designed to wick away sweat and are tighter to your body to retain heat (doesn’t need to be an Under Armour though). 1 of these puppies will give you the warmth of 2-3 shirts, but the freedom to move like you are wearing none.
  • Water Resistant/Repelling Jacket: Nothing is worse than a damp, heavy jacket that weighs you down while trying to move. Since you geared up with efficient and effective underlayers, you don’t need a puffy winter coat to be warm now. But what you do need is to repel water so all of those layers stay dry, keeping you warm and nimble
  • Hat, Gloves, & Facemask: Most likely, you have these in your winter gear arsenal already. They don’t need to be anything too crazy or specialized (unless you have some extra cash to spend, or really want maximal comfort). The facemask can be a buff, ski-mask, or anything that can protect your mouth and nose from breathing in ice cold air.

It takes some trial and error to determine that ‘sweet spot’ of wearing just enough, but not too much. The only way to figure that out is to battle test it! The next time you have to do some activities outside, flirt with how little you can wear, rather than how much, and that will help give you a better idea on how to be warm and functional while staying active this winter.

If you missed last week’s Trail Tip Thursday, you can read from the link below;

T³ #008: Fast Mile or Slow Marathon?

I am always looking for new routes, running partners, and ways to increase my own enjoyment of the outdoors. Does this sound like you too? If you live near the Hudson Valley and want to meet up for an outing, reach out to me on social media and let’s make it happen! If you are further away but still want to enhance your outdoor adventuring, I might know someone in your area that can help guide you, and if not, I’ll do my best from here!

Thank you, and I hope you enjoyed this week’s Trail Tip Thursday! If you want to stay up to date with my coaching, writings, and personal journey, be sure to follow me on social media! Thank you for your support.



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