I went for a 12k run yesterday, and while I realize that a lot of Canada has been socked with more snow than they know what to do with, the East Coast definitely… hasn’t. So it was my first actual nippy run. Even my feet were cold!
Despite the fact that it feels that winter is never going to arrive (and especially not in time for Santa, which has many children dismayed, I’m sure), the reality is that surely it will, and surely it will be cold.
Personally, I’m a big winter running fan. Back when I was a fair-weather runner, I would have never considered running in the cold or snow. But my first half marathon (way back in 2004) was in May, and it required some chilly runs. I fell in love… and honestly? haven’t suffered many winter blues since. But that’s beyond the point.
So as I was running yesterday, I started thinking about what one would need for a winter running kit. I’ve decided to share some of my faves, and while it’s too late to add these things to your list for Santa, it’s always fun to shop the sales in January. A gift to you from the one who loves you the most, as my grandmother used to say (hint: that’s you).
What you’ll need:
Shirts: a combination of a short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirt, either layered together or by themselves, depending on how cold it is
Pants: a warm pair of leggings underneath your running tights/pants (some people swear by the wind-breaking pants, although I’ve never tried them)
Jacket: You’ll want something that breaks the wind. Personally, I wear an actual winder running jacket (that I bought at MEC in 2003 and is only now starting to become less water resistant), but I tend to get cold. I know my dad just wears a shell and is fine with his layers underneath. It really depends on your internal body temperature. But it *must* cut the wind, or else you’ll be cold.
Feet: I wear two pairs of socks. One super thin moisture wicking pair and then another thicker pair. For the type of weather I’ve been running in (damp, and just above freezing), I find that the thicker running socks (mine are from the Running Room) are fine. As it gets colder, I’ll switch to my longer Smart Wool socks, which are super cozy. Often through February, it’s impossible to run without getting cold feet, so on my very long runs, I stick skinny foot warmers on the bottoms of my socks.
Hands: I don’t actually have a pair of good running mitts and am kind of hoping to score a pair in my stocking. But I’ve tried many pairs over the years. Right now, I’ve been wearing old-school magic minis. Medium weight gloves or mitts are usually fine, and the Running Room sells a neat pair of gloves that have a mitt flap to cover your fingers. I definitely have to invest in a good pair, as I’ve signed up for the Hypothermic Half this year.
Heads: Toque! Toque! Toque! Both my husband and I swear by Smart Wool toques. Pricey, yes, but they are comfortable, slip off or twist as you run and very warm. Plus, they’re cute. I highly recommend them. Once the mercury drops a little lower, you’ll need something on your face, too. Under Armour makes an amazing balaclava. I don’t own many UA things because I find it offensively expensive, but my husband bought one before boarding the Rockies a few years ago, and it was really worth the $40-ish that it cost. We’ve both used it for our running, although since we`re both training for the Hypo Half, I think I`ll need my own this winter.
That`s all I can think of, but I“d love to hear about any of your personal must-haves.