One of the best things about running is that you can do it year-round in basically any weather. It’s nearly Christmas, Austin’s heat is just a distant memory, and yes, it’s getting colder out (for the most part!). While cold weather running can be a bit daunting (31 degrees at 5:00 a.m. anyone?), it can also be very rewarding. For starters, you’re going to train and race faster when it’s chilly out.

But running in the cold does require some attention to dressing right if you want to run comfortably. The trick is to layer, but NOT overdress. Runners from the northeast who live in Austin often chuckle when they see native Austin runners bundled up in full blizzard gear when the temperatures drop below 55 degrees. But Yankees do know how to dress for the cold. Here’s the scoop:

Layer it up. When it’s in the 40s, use a tech T-shirt and pull a singlet over it. Several thin layers of clothing help trap warm air between each layer, and that goes a long way in keeping you warmer than one layer, even a thick one. Try adding a pair of compression-style shorts under your running shorts for extra warmth.

Protect your head and hands. During a cold-weather run, your body sends blood to its core, leaving your head and hands vulnerable. Even a thin pair of gloves will do the trick for your hands. And cover your head. Believe it or not up to 50% of your body heat can be lost up top!

Take advantage of today’s tech fabrics. Running gear made of polypropylene, polyester and other synthetic blends works well to wick moisture away from your body keeping you warm and dry during long runs.

Take it to the next level when needed.When the temps drop below 30 and the wind picks up as it did just a few weeks ago, you’ll want to up the ante. A long sleeve tech shirt, running tights, two pairs of gloves, and a running beanie will make all the difference. When it’s bitter cold, try adding a half ski mask—the neoprene ones with a shaped nose with open tip, and breathing holes at the mouth. You won’t regret it!

Yes, Christmas is coming, and you can find all of these great cold-weather running items for the runner(s) in your life at Ready to Run! Here are some of store manager Jen Hall’s favorites:

  • New Balance Impact tight— “Warm enough but not too tight and I love the side pockets for my phone.”
  • Brooks Notch Thermal Beanie—”I love the colors and it’s really soft!”
  • Feetures Elite Max Cushion socks— “They keep my toes warm!”

Upcoming Races: Saturday, December 8 at 9:00 a.m., the Sights and Sounds of Christmas 5K at San Marcos Plaza Park at Hutchison & CM Allen. Sunday, December 9, 8:00 a.m., the Decker Challenge Half Marathon at the Travis County Expo Center 7311 Decker Ln Austin. The Decker Challenge is the third race of five races in the Austin Runners Club’s Distance Challenge.