How to dress when training in the winter

Friday, January 4, 2019

Mornings and nights during the winter months make it tough to hit the pavement (regardless of the temperature outside).  For those signed up to a spring marathon, your training has just started.  It is important to dress appropriately when training outdoors in the early mornings or late evenings so that drivers and cyclists can see you. Nobody likes a run or ride that ends in injury. 

Here are my 5 tips on what to wear when exercising outdoors in the dark:

Light colours or high vis- This one is a no brainier. Your mom has been telling you this since you were little. Unfortunately, many sports brands limit the colours of their clothing with black being a staple choice.  If you don't have a top or bottom that is white or a bright colour, look for hi-vis accessories- such as an ear band, gloves, or Velcro straps that hold pant legs slim against the leg (typically used by cyclists).  Nathan makes a skinny high vis vest so that you can be seen without overheating.

Ragnar Relay makes you wear high vis when running at night.  I finished at sunrise.

ID bracelet- This bracelet is a must for anyone who exercises on their own. A reflective canvas strap holds a piece of paper that has your essential details- date of birth, allergies, emergency contact info, and anything else you feel is pertinent.  That way, if you are found unconscious, you will be cared for properly.  You can also laminate a small card and keep it in your wallet or pocket for easy access.

Reflectors/lights on shoes and zips- Hi-vis accessories and small flashing lights are a good way in increase your visibility.  I keep some in my workout bag in case I unexpectedly am out after dark.  Velcro reflective strips are light to carry and work well around your ankle or wrists.  You can also loop them easily around ruck sacks or on your jacket.  Small flashing lights can go on your zipper pull or shoelaces so that you won’t forget them.  Check out my post highlighting a few different types of lights that I wear.  I have been know to sport a head torch as well!


This jacket has reflective piping along the zipper.
Be mindful of layers- Layers are important in the winter to maintain proper body temperature.  You don’t want to overheat or be too cold.  When selecting your outfit, you will need to have light coloured clothes as base layers in case you remove your outwear.  Always think about what outfit you may end up in at the end of your run and if it will still be dark out.

This white down jacket is perfect for running in winter as it stuffs down small.
Does it snow where  you live? If so, a white top may camouflage you.  Fog or mist? Again, white or grey might not be the best colour choice. Think about your environment and aim to clash!  Bright colours are great, as well as flashing lights and reflective material.

These are just a few ways you can ensure you are seen when exercising in the winter months before or after work.  Stay safe and keep hitting the pavements on foot or on your bike.  You can’t be too bright in your outfit choice or too lit up (go on and put Christmas trees to shame).  The other people on the road will be grateful they can see you and avoid near collisions.

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