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Dressing for fall running

Runner during the fall.

Runner during the fall.

It’s the start of fall and across the country there are hints of colder weather (in Calgary’s case, more than a hint). With the new season, it’s always nice to know you have the right gear for the grind.

It can be tough dressing properly for fall running because of the wide range of temperatures to expect, jumping from single-digit readings to 20 C overnight and evenings being much cooler than during the day.

The first addition you will likely need for your fall wardrobe will be a long-sleeve, microfibre T-shirt. Most companies offer multiple styles, but look for a fairly light option. Your body produces enough heat that, even on cooler days, just a single layer may still be warm enough if your arms are covered.

What changes a bit more during the fall is what you wear on your extremities, where you lose most of your body heat.

Gear Gloves HatsA good running toque is vital for the fall and winter months. You won’t need it all season, but some days it will be nice to have. You could use any toque, but investing in a good hat is worth the money. Thick, winter toques get warm really fast when you run and you’ll find yourself too hot, especially in the fall, but taking the hat off means you’ve exposed your head, where you’re likely sweating and will get colder more quickly. You lose a lot of body heat through your head, which means you need to keep it warm, but not so warm that you’re uncomfortable. A good running toque will be made of a stretchy, thin fabric that covers your ears but breathes.

Another area where you’ll lose a lot of body heat is your hands. Like the toque, you won’t need them every run, but on some days a pair of light gloves will be handy. Most of the usual suspects make winter running gloves or shell mitts for cold weather, but it can be tough to find the right pair for fall.

Beyond the long-sleeve shirt, a tough aspect of dressing for fall is that, because of cooler temperatures, other weather factors become more pronounced. Wind feels colder, rain is more of a deterrent and there may be an occasional snowfall. To deal with this, you will sometimes need a jacket that isn’t too warm to deal with these. Look for a thin, light jacket that breaks the wind and is water resistant. It shouldn’t be very thick, or you’ll be overheating after a few kilometres, but it will provide a shell from the wind and rain. It should also keep in enough extra warmth for the days when temperatures are closer to freezing.

On your lower body you may not need a lot of extra clothing. Legs produce lots of heat and it takes a more to make them cold. Many people run in shorts until low in the single-digit temperatures, but you might prefer a pair of running tights. You won’t need much more than that for the fall. A single layer of spandex should be lots to keep your legs warm even once it’s below zero outside.

Overall, when you run, temperature on the day will matter a lot when considering what you wear. During the winter you always know it’s cold and in the summer it’s hot, but for the few months between, take time to consider the time of day and what the current temperature is. If you’ll be out for longer than 30 minutes, also consider if the sun will rise or set while you’re outside, which can swing readings pretty far in either direction.