Austin had a bit of snow last week, and it’s been pretty cold out since then. Should that hamper your running? Not at all. Cold weather running is some of the best, and can be really fun. From a physiological standpoint, it’s been documented that the ideal temperature to run a fast marathon is 45 degrees.

Don’t let cold weather deter you.. Dressing the right way makes all the difference.

There are a number of tips to make cold-weather running more enjoyable, and—you guessed it—most of them start with knowing how to dress properly. Ready to Run can help you with that, so here are some tips:

  • Dress in layers. You’ve heard this a million times, but it works beautifully. Even in 45-degree weather, a short-sleeved shirt, when layered with a singlet over it, provides surprising warmth. The same principle goes for your lower body. Try wearing a pair of stretchy, bicycle-style shorts under your regular running shorts to provide extra warmth. This combination will work nicely down to about 38 degrees. After that, you probably want to go for tights (with an optional layer of shorts) and a long-sleeved shirt. Ready to Run Christmas gift hint: tights.
  • Use the right materials. Tech clothing that wicks your sweat away not only helps you in warm weather, but is ideal for cold weather as well, because you stay drier and are less likely to get chilled. Most of the time, you won’t need a jacket. Light-weight running vests are superb at deflecting the wind and chill of early morning winter runs. Ready to Run Christmas gift hint: half-zip crewneck long sleeve tech shirt.
  • Keep your hands ands and head warm. It’s been said that up to 25% or more of your body heat may be lost from your head, so wearing a hat is important. A tight-fitting beanny-style cap is best. In fact, your body will lose heat through any exposed skin, so hands are the next line of defense. Again, fabrics can play an important role here—choose tech materials that don’t soak up the sweat. Ready to Run Christmas gift hint: running cap and gloves.
  • What about your feet? Unless you live in the snowy, north, where you might need “YakTrax” for traction on snow and ice, your regular running shoes should be fine. However, there’s nothing like new socks to make your feet feel good. Typically, anklet-style running socks made out of dry-max fabric do the trick, but consider longer socks for really cold weather. Ready to Run Christmas gift hint: choose from a wide variety of socks and colors.

That should do it to keep you toasty in runs and races this winter. A word to the wise: don’t over-dress. In cold weather, a good rule of thumb is to add 10 to 20 degrees to the actual temperature outside, and then dress accordingly. Remember: exercise alone generates significant heat.

Upcoming Races: Sunday, December 31. Rockin’ Resolution Race 20M, 10M, 5K at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock. Races start at 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Monday, January 1 at 9:00 a.m.,  Kickin’ It 5K at Wallace Middle School, 1500 Center Street in Kyle.