Thursday, November 16, 2017

Winter Running Must-Haves


Let me just start by saying, "BRRRRRRRRR!"

We still have another five weeks before the calendar officially says winter is here, but the recent temps tell a different story. Thankfully, there has not been any snow accumulating on the ground (though there have been some flurries blowing around in the wind). That means it's time to assess the running gear and get ready for the next few (or several) months of chilly weather running.

Living in Iowa, I'm no stranger to winter temps (even when they arrive several weeks in advance). As a runner, though, it's not just a matter of grabbing the nearest fur-lined parka or snow boots. There are some items that I deem necessary for winter survival (whilst in my running shoes), and some not so much. Also, a lot of warm weather running gear can be used in the frigid temps if you know how to tweak it. 


Here are my favorite Winter Running Must-Haves: 

***Fleece-lined running tights
Oh, do these feel ever-so-toasty! You can pay top dollar for name brand ones (which start at upwards of $75), or you can find comparable ones at discount stores (Target or Old Navy, for example), which are about 1/3 of the price. If it's really cold (like in the single digits, with wind chill), I've been known to layer an extra pair of (unlined) tights over the top. 

***Thermal-lined base layer
The layering gig takes a little practice and experimentation, and it still is not fool-proof . What works (and feels comfortable) for one person, may not be an ideal fit for another. That said, a warm base layer is usually one thing most of us will agree on. I prefer a long-sleeved fleece-lined, fitted tech shirt. Often times, I'll even layer a tank top underneath or a 1/4-zip jacket on top. I prefer a more fitted cut so there's no loose fabric flopping in the wind. 

***Wool socks
I'm a big advocate for wool socks, and I wear them year-round. In the summer, I usually only wear them for long runs or races. In the winter, though, they are worn for almost every outdoor excursion. Believe it or not...even in the cold, your feet still sweat and wool socks will not only wick the moisture from your feet, but the the wool itself will help to keep your feet warm.

***Neck/face protection
Truth be told, I have never worn a face mask. I usually have a scarf or a neck gator at the ready, though, if it's an especially windy day. Not only will a scarf or gator keep my neck warm, but it also gives me the option of pulling it up over my mouth (or even over my nose) periodically.

***hat or headband
It's a scientific fact that heat rises, and that includes your head. There are many options available, but I prefer a stocking hat (with a big, beautiful pom pom) or a fleece headband. A fleece headband can also be used as a "base layer" if you want to layer a funky (and/or colorful) light-weight headband over it..

***BONUS***Don't forget your hands!
There are many options for keeping your hands warm. Many shirts and jackets have thumb holes now days, which will keep the majority of your hand(s) warm. You can also layer gloves or mittens over the thumb hole-covered hands. Another trick is to wear gloves but keep your hands in a "fist" position inside the fabric until you've had time to warm up...then spread your fingers into the the individual finger slots.

Now, let me add that these are all basic items. Often times, I have to include some add-ons...like a puffer vest (warm, but not as bulky as a full jacket) or arm sleeves (for an extra layer on the arms).

Of course, worst case scenario...there is the (dreaded) treadmill or an indoor track. I much prefer to be outside, though, even if it's only for a quick 2-miler. Call me crazy (you wouldn't be the first), but the great outdoors offer a lot of tranquility, ever-changing views, and the benefit of varying terrain underfoot. There's also a little dose of vitamin D from the sunshine!

How about you? Do you run outside year-round, or do you take it inside when the temps plummet? What's your favorite cold-weather piece of running gear? 

I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0. Please join us!! Today, we're talking about being thankful...and I'm thankful for all of these cold-weather items!



42 comments:

  1. I need to get some fleece lined tights! I have plenty of warm layers, but somehow my butt can still get cold. It will be nice to have a treadmill option this year but honestly Im not sure how much I will use it. If its snowy/icy then theres no way Ill want to drive 20 minutes to the gym. It did work out when on one of the really windy days this year.

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    1. The fleece-lined tights are nice to have, but I sometimes just layer a couple pairs of regular tights for a similar effect.

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  2. Winter is DUMB, girl!!!! All the clothes. Freezing toes. And my nose!!!! (See what I did there?)

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  3. I just ordered a pair of Spandits' new Icelandic tights. Their fleece lined (and on sale!) and I can't wait to try them!

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  4. I have a couple pairs of Athleta fleece lined tights that I scored at Marshalls. They are warm and cozy but my only issue is that they don't stretch/give like non-lined tights. So I only save them for the coldest, bitterest days.

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    1. I agree...the fleece-lined tights I have also do not have much give, either. Like you, I save them for the extreme cold days as well.

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  5. You are a beast for running in single digits!
    I have a good pair of fleece lined running pants/tights and I find they are even too toasty to wear during the winter unless it gets in the 30's. Are those cheaper versions of fleece lined tights you speak of the same thing? I have fleece lined leggings that I will wear at home but do you think they are suitable to run in? -M

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    1. The fleece-lined leggings probably will work. I have found with the ones I have, the elasticity is not the greatest....they get a little stretched after a few miles, so I don't wear them for long runs. The fleece-lined tights, on the other hand, do not have much elasticity at all...so it's like one extreme or the other LOL

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  6. Sometimes I run outside when it's cold, and sometimes not (like today). Just depends on how I feel & the day.

    I have a lot of warm weather clothing, though, and my Thermoball is definitely one of my favs (which is why I rarely use a fact mask). I do have this godawful fleece one that I sometimes use, but rarely since I got the thermoball. More likely to use it for shoveling!

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    1. Honestly, the face mask thing kind of creeps me out LOL I'd think my face would get too sweaty underneath it (?)

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    1. I know the feeling....one can never have too many of those ;-)

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  8. I could use some more tights....and wool socks...and new gloves :)

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  9. Wow, you look warm AND stylish!!!!!!!!! I will say I am warm on my runs but not stylish at all. :) At least it is dark when I run.

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  10. I run outside year round, but it doesn't get nearly as cold here as it does in Iowa. :)

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  11. I bought two pairs of fleece lined pants last year at Costco and LOVE them!! Best investment ever!

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  12. The weather is so random, but I have my treadmill as a backup if I need it. I do have my limits, and after living in Texas, those limits aren't as strong as they once were.

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    1. I have my treadmill, too....but that doesn't mean I plan to use it LOL

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  13. You always look so stylish! I love all your outfits!

    I need to get a few more shirts with thumbholes, those are golden for winter long runs!

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  14. I haven't had to deal with super cold weather yet but I think I have all the gear somewhere.

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    1. Our super cold weather is early...we don't usually have these kind of temps until January

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  15. Fleece-lined leggings? Who knew?! I have a good amount of cold-weather running gear; an absolute necessity in Chicago--but I might just be on the hunt for some of these leggings!

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    1. The fleece-lined leggings/tights are a must in Iowa

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  16. I love thermal running leggings, but I have a hard time finding them long enough. Right now I only have one pair. Any suggestions on brands that aren't too expensive?

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    1. I'm tall (5'9) and have great luck with the C-9 Power Core tights at Target...the fleece-lined ones are less than $30, I think, and are often on sale

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  17. I wear everything except the neck gaiter. I have one but cannot find it. Now I must look for it. It is getting cold here.

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    1. It's not only cold, but windy! The gaiter comes in handy.

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  18. You're really prepared! Luckily, it doesn't really get THAT cold here in Northern California, but I should invest in some fleece-lined tights!

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  19. Ha. I'm a fair-weather runner (if I run at all). If I need something to cover my face, I will not be heading out ;)

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    1. Well, I have a bad relationship with my 'mill, so I'm outside most of the time.

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  20. We've had a few cold days but we're not quite in the super cold temps yet...but I do need to buy some more fleece-lined tights and wool socks!

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  21. Yes, its so important to make sure that all extremities, including the hands, neck, and head, are taken care of it when it comes to cold weather running. I tend to wimp out when its cold and head straight for the treadmill, but I'm trying my best to push myself to run outside more when its cold.

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    1. I just cannot do the treadmill very often. I always feel like my form is compromised on it because of my long stride.

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