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If you’re going out for a run in the cold, layering up with the right winter running gear is absolutely essential. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as throwing on your puffiest winter coat, your warmest hat, and your thickest socks and hitting the road, because if you’re not careful, winter runs can go from frigid to uncomfortably hot once your muscles start to get warm.
Cold-weather running gear isn’t just about comfort, either. Keeping warm during chilly runs actually decreases your chances of getting injured, explains Dave Ringwood, a USATF-certified running coach. A higher body temperature increases blood flow to your working muscles and promotes good form. “Maintaining warmth helps your stride remain smooth and in control, keeping muscle pulls and strains at bay,” Ringwood tells POPSUGAR. Ringwood also recommends doing your prerun warmup indoors so you’ve already worked up some heat before you head out into the cold. Once you’re running, make sure to start at a slow pace and speed up gradually. Going out fast before your muscles are fully warm can result in muscle strains and pulls, Ringwood explains.
So what about winter running gear? Ringwood says layers are key, especially ones that you can pull off and stow in your leggings or tie around your waist once you get warm, such as vests, jackets, hats, and gaiters. Plus, you’ll need some good winter running shoes that can stand up to potentially slippery, wet conditions. We can help with that part. Keep reading for our favorite winter running gear guaranteed to keep you comfortably warm and dry (but not too hot!) on your next winter run.