The other day, the early morning temperature was about 20 degrees cooler than what the day’s high would be. If you live in a climate where the high temperature would be 50, then that might seem like a good day to bundle up and make sure you wear something to keep your hands warm as you go for a run. Of course, if you live in a climate such as mine where the high for the day would be in the upper 70s or low 80s, then you might get an odd look from your wife as you head out the door for a run wearing gloves.
Perhaps 50-degree temperatures are not typical glove-wearing temps for everyone, but not freezing at the start of your run makes a big difference in how you feel about the rest of your workout. As temperatures continue to dip lower and lower it is not only important to layer the clothing on your body so you can peel off heavier layers as YOU warm up, but it is also important to cover the parts of your body that you don’t even consider covering on warmer days, namely your head and hands.
In cooler weather your extremities are going to take longer to warm up than other parts of your body. A hat will definitely keep the heat from escaping and help keep you warm, but after a few minutes of running, that hat might keep you too warm. The same can be said of any gloves you may wear on your hands. Obviously, both hat and gloves may be removed to let off some of the excess warmth you no longer need once you have warmed up, but a hat is not as easily carried on your body as are gloves.
The beauty of gloves is that you can easily remove them once you warm up, stuff them into the waistband of your running shorts or pants, and if necessary, put the gloves back on your hands if you get cold again. Hanging onto your gloves is much easier than hanging onto a hat. And if you are running in a race, there is no need to toss your gloves to the side of the road as many runners do leading to the ubiquitous warehouse of gloves strewn along the side of the road of many a cooler-weather marathon. Keep your gloves in your shorts. You never know what the weather has in store for you or whether or not you end up having to walk with your body cooling off as you slow down.
Another tip when it comes to wearing gloves while running is to save a buck or two – or much, much more – and avoid purchasing running gloves which you will likely find on sale at running shoe stores. My local running shoe store sells a pair of gloves for $24.99. A quick look online has prices ranging from $12.99 to $50.00.
Do yourself a favor and save your money. There is absolutely no reason to purchase expensive running gloves. An argument in favor of these high-priced gloves is that they wick away moisture like a good running shirt is rather silly because if your hands start to sweat just take the gloves off and stuff them in your waistband. Instead of buying gloves at your running shoe store, visit your local drug store and you will likely find a pair of inexpensive gloves. The most money I ever spent on running gloves was $2.99 and that was for a pair of white cotton gardening gloves I purchased from a hardware store when I was out of town running a marathon and forgot to pack gloves.
Of course, if you want to be incredibly frugal, grab a couple socks from your laundry room which no longer are part of a matching pair due to the dryer having eaten one of them. For my first marathon I had to improvise as the idea of keeping my fingers warm did not occur to me until the morning of the race. Luckily, I had an extra pair of socks and was able to keep warm with a pair of thumb-less mittens.
Richard Stark is the founder and head running coach of Running Arizona with more than a dozen years coaching experience and the pleasure of having worked with and learned from nearly 1,000 runners in that time.