Living in Nashville can create a challenge for us runners through different seasons. One day I'm running in shorts and honestly, the next day, I have on three layers because it is snowing outside and the temperature has dropped to sub zero climate. This year has proven to be even a greater challenge with the change of weather patterns. We are just getting through one of the coldest winters in history. I have had many runners tell me they took off during the winter months because it was just too cold to bear the elements. This is unfortunate. Running inspite of the weather can provide a greater sense of accomplishment and even deeper satisfaction. Don't let the weather dictate your runs.
As a runner, there are certain elements of clothing that should be a must for every season so one is well prepared for all seasons.
Winter running is all about layering. A runner needs to start with a good pair of wicking insulated underwear, top and bottom followed by a light-weight long sleeve shirt for the top and a thick pair of running pants for the bottom. As far as the socks, normal weight - knee high or ankle high. Don't be tempted to wear wool socks! This third layer ideally will be followed by a fleece lined vest and then finally a thicker running jacket. Gloves and a hat are essential gear. Your body heat escapes through your extremities so when running sub zero weather, it is always better to wear a hat instead of a headband and I prefer mittens to gloves. A light-weight scarf or mask is also a good item to include on the cold, windy, blustery days. A good rule of thumb do not sweat before the run begins. When the runner first walks outside, it is perfectly normal to feel a little chill before the run starts. The body will warm up within the first mile.
Spring running is an awesome time to experience the outdoors. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing and life is good! But as it goes, April showers brings May flowers! It's easy to talk oneself out of a run when waking up to pouring rain. This again can be an awesome experience, providing the runner is dressed for the elements. For running in rain, a light weight rain jacket, with a hood is a necessity. Don't be tempted to invest in a heavy duty jacket. The lighter the better. Depending upon the temperature will determine how many layers are necessary under the rain jacket. Also it is important to go with a little larger jacket to accommodate layers if necessary. A pair of nylon running pants is also helpful during heavy rain. I would never recommend running in lightening but a downpour is totally acceptable. This is one of those runs that a runner has to resolve before he/she ever gets started, they are going to get wet! Take along a towel for drying off at the end and perhaps a dry layer. These are some of the most rewarding and satisfying runs because the ones that are out there doing it are few and far between!
Summer running can be more challenging than running in the winter. The heat is brutal. While the clothing is more simple and less constricting than winter running, it is more important that runs are completed early morning or late in the evening, avoiding the hottest time of the day. A pair of running shorts and a light-weight tank is all that is needed! Moisture wicking running gear is the best and loose fitting clothing will move easier.
Finally as the weather starts to cool down, the shorts are replaced with long pants and short sleeves are replaced with longer sleeves. We ease into Fall. I personally have a rule of thumb when I wear pants vs. shorts. For me, the cut off temperature is 45*. Determine what your own personal cut off temperature is. As the weather gets cooler, the layers increase.
All in all, even though Nashville weather can play havoc on our runs, from one extreme to the other - I love that I get to experience running in all four different seasons and welcome every challenge as well as the delight they bring! Happy running!