Let’s talk about long-johns.

When it comes to surviving winter running, it’s all about slipping on the right stuff before stepping out to brave the weather. OK, there’s a certain amount of slippery road and trail acrobatics, along with some occasionally exciting traffic dodging. But cold-weather gear is a daily issue for active runners in climates that face real winter weather.

Does anybody really love winter running?

Sure, it’s awfully pretty out there, but it can also be pretty awful when the wind blows clear through whatever you happen to be wearing on the run,

Can we just agree to tag winter running as a necessary evil?

Hey, those holiday sweets and treats aren’t exactly gonna burn themselves off. And there’s only so much treadmill running any of us can actually stand. So we garb out and get out there.

What’s your best base layer?

Personally, I have a few critical criteria for choosing what goes under the running clothes anyone can see.

  1. function – Here’s a little secret. I have different long underwear for certain sports (like skiing, skating, or snow shoveling) and for running (and horseback riding). Bumpy thermal layers go fine under snow bibs or farm overalls, but sleek thinner duds are essential under fitted half-zips, running tights, compression pants, or riding breeches.
  2. fabrics – Warmth is important, but so are wicking and weight. Thin, but cozy, new technical fabrics make this a breeze without adding bulk. A smooth texture is ideal, especially when slipping on the outer layers.
  3. features – I don’t really care what my under-layer looks like, as long as it works well. I have some unusual colors and patterns, but I’m not telling.
  4. fit – This is critical. No sagging or bagging is allowed, when it comes to a base layer for running. I can’t stand long underwear with a too-loose waistband, droopy crotch, or too-short arms or legs. Everything needs to stay exactly where I put it, once I slip into that stuff. I don’t feel like tugging or adjusting on the run. Fit counts for plenty!
  5. fortitude – What I really mean here is durability (but I needed another F-word). My running long-johns have to stand up to tons of launderings. They’ve gotta go in the washer and the dryer and still remain sturdy and useful. If they shrink or sag or pill or pull, they’re toast.

What’s my go-to pick for a winter running base layer?

Depending on the depth of chill in the air, I usually choose either my thin Cuddl Duds Softwear or my UnderArmour base leggings and base crew.

Winter runs await!

This product reviewer purchased the products described and evaluated here, and the reviewer has no prior or existing relationship (either familial or professional) with the creators, manufacturers or marketers of the products.
Adapted from public domain artwork.

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