As the weather starts to get cooler, one of the most important pieces of your running kit will be a good baselayer and other thermal gear to keep you warm. Some of the thermal tops and tights are pricier than others, in this article I will try to explain the differences between some of the tops and tights and what you are getting for your money. First do remember good quality thermal gear should definitely long outlive your running shoes. As they all wick the moisture away quickly they also dry really fast so you can wear it, wash it and it will be dry to wear the next day.
An absolute MUST HAVE for any outdoor activity – running, hiking, cycling, skiing, etc. Wear it as the very first layer against your skin. A baselayer has great moisture-wicking properties and odour control – nice! The worst thing is when it’s cold and windy outside and your top is soaked in sweat… a good baselayer prevents that from happening. It also regulates the temperature – keeps you warm but without overheating.
Women's Odlo Performance Eco Baselayer
Women's Helly Hansen Lifa Active Baselayer
Women's Odlo Performance Light Baselayer
Men's Helly Hansen Lifa Active Baselayer
Men's La Sportiva Artic Baselayer
Men's Compressport 3D Thermo 50g Baselayer
WOOL BASE LAYERS
There are many base layers made with wool – it’s a great option for a winter day when it's a bit colder. Usually the top combines wool with another more technical fabric, for better moisture management. Don’t worry about sweating – a good quality wool base layer is thin, light, warm and dry. Wool is a great fabric for rainy and cold days, because even though it gets wet, it still keeps you warm. It should also last a few seasons, so it’s a good investment for the future!
Women's Montane Primino Merino Baselayer
Women's Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Baselayer
Women's Montane Primino Merino Half Zip Baselayer
Men's Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Half Zip Baselayer
Men's Helly Hansen Lifa Merino Baselayer
Once you have a baselayer you can layer up with another top – a midlayer. How much warmth you need from a top of course depends on how much you feel the cold, but it will also be influenced by what time of day you are going for your run and where you are running. If you run in the early morning or late evening you will obviously need to wear thermals more than if you always run at midday. Likewise if you are running in the hills you will also need a warmer top. Thermal fabrics have become lighter and lighter while still retaining that all important warmth factor so it doesn't and shouldn't feel bulky.
Women's Brooks Notch Thermal Hoodie
Women's Crewroom South East Fleece Top
Light Blue £65.00
Men's Ronhill Tech Merino Top
Men's Crewroom North West Hoodie
Always remember the wind-chill factor. Even if it isn't raining, it can be important to wear a wind-resistant jacket or a gilet, as well as a thermal top. One of the great advantages of running like this is that you just don't feel nearly so bundled up as you do in a jacket. I always remember when they first appeared on the scene, getting one and feeling it was so extravagant having it as well as a jacket. Then I wore it almost all winter and my jacket was only worn in the rain! Of course, a jacket is also useful, so check out some of the running jackets. They are divided up into windproof and waterproof. Another great option, if it is not a dry cold day is a thermal top with some wind blocking material added in. Unless it is really cold you will probably be fine just with the one top on.
Women's Adidas TX Xperior Vest
Berry £68.00 £85.00
Men's Adidas Terrex Hybrid Insulation Vest
Men's La Sportiva Zeal Jacket
Men's Compressport Hybrid Pullover
One of the great things about some of the most recent thermals is the number of wee extra things that come on the tops. Many of the thermals now come with flat lock seams to add extra comfort and prevent chafing. There are now a number of thermal tops with pockets. The other great thing is having a thermal top that has 'mitts' or some sort of cover for your hands. Most running jackets will have some reflective on them, but some of the thermal tops have this as well, so if you are running without your jacket you will still be seen.
It is of course very important to make sure your legs stay warm. I generally find I need a thermal top before I need to start wearing thermal tights, but again if you are in the hills or when it gets colder you will definitely need warm legs. Here are some of this year's newest thermal tights. They all have a pocket with a zip for keys or a gel. They also have at least some reflective on for better visibility in those dark evenings or early mornings.
Hats and gloves are of course also essential for running in the cold. A great thermal option is the fun Ronhill Bobble hat. It's really cosy with 50% wool, and the bobble has some reflective material in it for extra visibility. Wool is being used more and more in running kit, thanks to its amazing moisture wicking and antibacterial properties. How about a cosy neckwarmer? Or a thermal headband to keep your ears warm and toasty? Remember, ‘there's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing!’
Buff Lightweight Merino
Purple Stripes £23.00
Salomon Bonatti Waterproof Mittens
Odlo Yak Warm Hat
Odlo Velocity Ceramiwarm Headband
So if you usually just go to the gym in the winter because you really feel the cold, why not get a couple of thermal pieces of clothing? Try running outside on those clear, crisp autumn and winter days – soon you'll wonder why you even bothered with your gym membership!