Winter running. It’s all what you make of it right..?
Wrong. I don’t think that the perspective flip applies when the temperatures are best suited for snowmen, it takes 10 minutes to get dressed and your bottles freeze solid within minutes of the run start.
Okay, I kid [well, kind of]. You can make the most of a cold winter run. Because, well, you are running. And, we have to express gratitude for that act alone. But, I’ll make it clear to you, I like one running season – and, that’s sports bra and shorts season, so it takes all of the dedication, positive self talk and gear favorites to get me out the door for the winter run. To make it simple, “baby, it’s cold outside..” isn’t really a good excuse not to run.
As we were reminded last week, we are only half way through winter [half empty or full perspective here..?] in New England, so here are a few of my favorite things that make winter running a little less miserable.
GoatHead Gear Sole Spikes: If you are going to run through the winter months, you are going to need some sort of traction device for your shoes. I have fallen in love [NOT to be confused with falling] with Sole Spikes – these screws are like magic. This is the only reason I am able to run our trails right now – because, if you want to picture the conditions, the trails are much more reminiscent of an ice skating rink than a running trail. Sole spikes screw directly into your shoes and provide all the traction you need to make up distance on the trail or [snow/ice covered road].
Headbands: Keep your ears warm. Seriously. I always opt for a headband over a hat – I need a bouncing ponytail. But, not any headband will do. Make sure to find one that actually covers your ears and stays in place. My favorite: Hoo – Rag Bandanas. Amazing prints, moisture wicking and you can double these as a neck warmer/face mask too.
Face Mask: If it’s below 15 degrees [and, sometimes even 20 degrees], make sure to bring a face mask along. When your face hurts because it is so cold, you’ll understand why [and, let’s be practical too, frost bite is no joke]. I use the Saucony Drylete Neckwarmer. It fully covers your nose and mouth [….you will resemble a ninja more than a runner] and has a breathable mesh cut out. Yes, you can still breath. It stays in place with moisture wicking technology for comfort. This mask has been life saving during those Arctic runs this year. And, if by some miracle it warms up mid-run, you can slide the mask down and wear as a neck warmer.
Topo Terraventure Trail Shoe: This was a love at first run shoe. You can read my full review here. But, in the meantime, you should know these shoes stand up to the elements [better known as snow and ice] — this shoe works – it’s light, it has a narrow body and wide toe box, aggressive grip and the colors are spot on.
Shoe Hoodies [for road miles]: Throw away the duct tape, Shoe Hoodies have come to the rescue. Made from ski jacket polyster, shoe hoodies afix to the toe box of your shoe with velcro and keep your toes toasty warm. Application was super easy too! On the days I have been forced to the road, Shoe Hoody has made sure that my feet are happy. And, that’s a start [for the road].
Hand Warmers: Buy a case. It’s worth the investment. On the coldest days, you can bet I have hand warmers in my gloves, shoes and the pockets of my bottles on my hydration pack. Did you know your bottles freeze solid within in minutes on cold running days? Well, they do. And, just because it’s cold, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to hydrate [you do!]. So stock up, and use wisely. Note: Get the flat, peel and stick warmers for inside your shoes – they don’t bunch and your toes stay warm.
Jackets & Layers: Your laundry basically triples in the winter months. Another perk of winter running right? Think base layers, moisture wicking materials, warm socks and a good pair of gloves [better yet, opt for mittens]. On days of 30 degrees and below, you bet I have a base layer [love Lulu Swiftley’s] and a jacket. On days of sub 20 and single digits and maybe even negative temperatures with windchill – the layering pattern goes like this — sports bra, tank top, long sleeve base, jacket [usually down for warmth]. And, yes, it’s still cold – but, it’s bearable. Winter run tights – well, there is no such thing as warm running tights [correct me if I’m wrong], so layer if you dare [I hate this feeling and will suffer through the cold before I put on two layers]. If it’s REALLY cold, and you can stay inside…stay inside.
Layering Favorites –
Socks: Darn Tough
Tights: Long Legs by Runin Rabbit
And, if you are going to embrace the weather made for snowmen, here are a few more tips & tricks to think about…
- Move inside when needed. The treadmill [dreadmill] suddenly has a purpose.
- Flexible training. Work with Mother Nature, not against her.
- Know running routes and alternatives. Always have alternatives. [This morning the plan was to run the baby mountain in our town. Well, said baby mountain had other plans and required ice climbing gear].
- Hydrate. It may be cold, you still need water [electrolytes].
- Make run dates with friends. Friends don’t let friends run alone.
- Plan late Spring races. […then you don’t have to run so many winter miles :)]
Cheers to winter running. I’ll embrace it, I guessI. Make sure to leave your favorite tips and tricks in the comments too.1