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Running Outside? Here's What You Need in a Running Outfit

The best layering tactics for every type of outdoor run.

Running Outfits
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Sneakers? Check. A pair of headphones that's blasting your pump-up playlist? Got it. Plenty of layers to keep you warm during your outdoor run? Well, not yet.

Whether you're running in the freezing cold or enjoying a mid-summer jog, it's important to wear layers that will keep you at a comfortable temperature and easily strip off as you clock in more miles.

But it can be confusing to know which layers and fabrics you need to wear for each type of climate. To help, we're breaking down the best layering tactics for every type of outdoor run. Now all you need to do is lace up your sneakers and hit the open pavement.

Running Outfit for Cold Weather

Cold-weather run

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, which is exactly why you need to layer up in running gear with care. After all, who wants to run in the bitter cold with minimal protection. While a lightweight jacket, hat, gloves are all required, the key to your layering success boils down to your base pieces.

When the temperature begins to drop, pull on a pair of thick, thermal leggings, which trap heat and keep your legs warm. As for a top, choose mid-weight or heavy-weight merino wool. While merino wool might be best known for socks, the material is known to regulate heat by absorbing and releasing moisture. And if you want to layer a thick jacket or fleece over your merino wool, invest in a piece that has mesh paneling. That way, you can let Mother Nature's winter chill cool you down mid-run.

Warm-weather run

When it comes to your warm-weather workouts, your first inclination might be to ditch all the superfluous layers and exercise in the bare minimum. Go for tops and shorts made of lightweight, breathable fabrics. Bonus points for moisture-wicking materials that pull sweat away from the body but without getting soaked.

The one layer you shouldn't avoid is a sweatband. Unlike a hat, a sweatband will absorb moisture and keep sweat from dripping down—and stinging—your eyes. And don't forget to apply the final, most important, layer: sunscreen.

Running Outfit for Warm Weather
Running Outfit for Night time

Late-night run

Want to clock in some miles once the sun sets? You'll have to layer up accordingly.

Ultimately, the type of layers and materials you choose will boil down to the weather. While you'll want to pile on the layers for a late-night, cold-weather run, a warmer climate might call for a lightweight merino half-zip and some loose mesh shorts.

Regardless of where you're running, the one layer that's not up for debate is your reflective gear. Come nightfall, drivers can't see you as clearly, so it's important to make yourself stand out.

Leggings, shirts, and running shoes with reflective paneling are a good start, but we encourage you to up the safety ante with a headlamp.

Marathon training

Whether you're about to step up to the starting line or just beginning to train, one thing's for sure: You're in it for the long haul. If you want to make those 26.2 miles as enjoyable as possible, it's important to layer up accordingly.

Dressing for a marathon isn't as easy as you'd think. Even if you're running in a cold climate, you'll heat up over the course of the race. Of course, you also want to keep layers to a minimum so you're not weighed down by clothing.

While wearing shorts or running tights will depend on the race's climate (and your personal preference), pair a breathable, mesh top with some arm warmers, which will keep you warm without weighing you down. And remember to have a friend bring you a dry top at the end of the race, since you'll likely be drenched in sweat.

Running Outfit for a Marathon
Athleisure Outfit for Hiking

Hiking and jogging

While hiking and jogging aren't for the faint of heart, if you're taking things slow, chances are you won't break a sweat as quickly as you would during a five-mile sprint. That's exactly why it's so important to layer up.

Trekking in a cold climate will require the works: grip gloves, a wool hat, and a water-resistant jacket in case it starts raining. It's also a great opportunity to get some extra mileage out of those aforementioned thermal leggings and merino top.

If you're hiking in a warmer climate, opt for long yet lightweight layers. Not only will some extra coverage protect you from bug bites and the sun's harsh rays, but it'll also keep you slightly warmer should a gust of wind come breezing through.

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