This Marathon Life

by a passionately stubborn runner

Perfect The Art of Fall Layering

  • It's that time of year!

Trail running through the colorful fall leaves.

Runners Rejoice! Fall is the absolute best time for running because the colder temps allow you to run faster due to reduced stress on your body. Most marathons are held in the spring / fall for this very reason. With any weather change there is always an acclimation period - so be mindful that 50°F now may make you feel like you need way more clothing then you actually do. After a few weeks you should be more in tune with what amount of layers works best. These are my picks.

First off, it's all about keeping your core warm. If your core isn't warm then your body decides to sacrifice your fingers and toes and it will hurt, a lot. Crafting a perfect core warming outfit takes time and a lot of testing. When it comes to temps below 50°F - I'm all about the layers. The most important thing is to stay away from cotton. Cotton holds all your sweat right against your body and seemingly never dries. Basically, cotton ensures that you will be miserable and cold your entire run. Stick with running or outdoor specific technical fibers like polyester.

The first piece of gear that I'm going to suggest is arm warmers. They're great because you can wear them with a tech tee for temps between 40 - 50°F. If the weather heats up above 50°F then you can just pull them off and carry them. I find that a tech tee and arm warmers end up being warmer and more adjustable than a long sleeve tee.

The second piece of gear that I'm going to suggest is a light weight nylon jacket. I've tried a few different brands and my personal favorite is Salomon's 100% nylon jacket. It's incredibly lightweight and packs up into a tiny pouch in case you want to take it off and carry it. I wore this jacket for my 50 mile race this past spring and it rained almost the entire time and after the race I was still dry. Nylon jackets also are great insulators and help with blocking the wind.

The third piece of gear that I'm going to suggest is a hat. I run in hats year round mostly for protection from the sun and they're great at catching sweat from dripping on your face. I think hats help out in the fall for the same reasons along with the additional reasons that they're great for keeping rain out of your eyes and offering a fabric barrier between your head and the cold air. Again, stick with technical fibers here as well.

For the bottom half of clothing - I typically wear shorts until it hits November. Then I'll start wearing full length leggings. For 40 - 50°F shorts generally work just fine but if you want to take the bite off a chilly wind then some light weight tights can do just that.

Pair a tech tee, arm warmers, shorts and hat for those brisk fall runs. If rain or wind seems likely, add in a nylon jacket. Perfect the art of layering and you can focus on your runs and not how cold you feel. Let me know your favorite fall layers in the comments! :fallen_leaf: :fallen_leaf: :fallen_leaf:

Written on October 4, 2015