Should You Run with a Hat and Gloves in Winter?

Should You Run with a Hat and Gloves in Winter?

If you have ever trained for a spring marathon, you know that there are strong chances you’ll be knocking out the bulk of your miles in the inclement weather. Have you protected yourself with a hat and gloves?

winter running-wearing hat
Only about 10% of the body’s heat escapes from an uncovered head, much lower than the 40-80% we have been told.

Provided that winters can get quite cold, you’ll be wanting to reach for anything that helps protect you from the weather: after all, we lose most of our body heat through our heads, right?

Wearing a hat

In fact – although our head and chest are particularly sensitive to temperature changes – no body part loses more heat than any other. Only about 10% of the body’s heat escapes from an  uncovered head, much lower than the 40-80% we have been told (and have told others) since the army released the claim in a survival guide in the 1970s.

Still, wearing a hat can make a long run in freezing temperatures more bearable. Likewise, you might also want to put on a hat with a visor in the summer to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays and to reflect the heat (providing it’s  a light colour), although some find that this makes them hotter and impedes their bodies’ capacity to sweat. It’s also plain uncomfortable.

Safe Winter Running_wearing gloves
For runners with poor circulation, gloves are an important part of a winter wardrobe.

Wearing gloves

Gloves are very much a personal preference. However, for runners with poor circulation, gloves are an important part of a winter wardrobe. Many people discover that their hands heat up too much when wearing  gloves and they’re forced to throw them at an unsuspecting friend or tuck them into their shorts (not always the most comfortable option).

Avoid risk of hypothermia

During the marathon  race, you’ll have a fairly high core-body temperature and you might be wearing just a singlet and shorts. But because the race wears on and you lose energy stores, especially if conditions worsen (i.e. increased wind), your body can’t keep  that higher temperature and you can become hypothermic. Some runners will keep on gloves and a hat throughout the race to protect against this.

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Written by Jenny Nickelson

Jenny Nickelson has been a sports enthusiast since childhood. Because of her deep love to water, she started training swimming in early years. Today she swears on variety and does it all: from swimming, running and cycling to fitness, skiing, dancing and mountaineering.

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