Cold Weather Running Gear

I normally don’t do a “what to wear” when it get’s cold post.  So many bloggers do and I try to avoid redundancy when you can find what you need in every corner of the blogosphere.  However, Chicagoland has been blasted with cold, wind and sub zero temps for weeks now and I’ve been feeling as if I need to address it.  If you are part of the F’N Running Club or follow me on the TTF Facebook page then I glanced over it when it was 6 degrees last weekend but here is a full length version in the event that you or a friend need some additional guidance. 

Temps Drop But Running Wont Stop

Base Layers – Possibly the most important cold weather investment.  Super important.  Don’t skimp here and go to a discount retailer, I buy the real stuff from Under Armour because they “do” cold weather and they “get” the fact that we are going to be OUTSIDE doing what we love, no matter what.  I personally prefer the mock or turtle neck style to get a little coverage up on my neck.  Under Armour ColdGear Fitted Mock Neck ($49) below.   I also wear a long bra top (form fitted running tank with shelf bra), any brand.  I have a ton and buy them everywhere from Target to Kohl’s to various online retailers. I put those fitted tanks (or a tee would work) UNDER the Mock Neck when it’s super cold, like now.  

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Outer Layer – Preferably a wind jacket or heavy-duty, quality half of full zip.  My wind jacket is from Athleta, the Headwinds Jacket ($99), which I think is on clearance now ($85).  I’ve had it for probably 5 years and every time I wear it people think it’s new.  Love it and it really holds in the heat and keeps out the wind.  I’m sure other wind jackets would work, I’ve heard that New Balance has an amazing WindBlocker line but this is what I own, mine is red from who  knows which year:

image   Waterfall Glen_Black FRI_2013-me

I also own an amazing heavy duty Under Armour Base 3.0 quarter zip ($79) which really fights the cold!

Me Susan Nicole_2-3-13

Legs – This super tricky for me because I have LONG legs.  Only long tights fit me.  I’ve tried various brands but always come back to the fact that if I want every part of the tights to be where they need to be, then I have to go with long length.  Athleta is the only place that I buy long tights.  I just purchased a pair of the Polartec Power Stretch tights ($79) in long and am IN LOVE with them.  I wore them in 6 degree weather last week, as a single bottom layer, and didn’t feel cold at all.  They are super soft and cozy without feeling bulky.  In the past, I have used thinner tights like the Athleta Relay Tights ($79-$89) and then added a second layer with the Runabout Pant ($69).   Photos below:   Polartec Power Stretch Tights, Relay Tights & Runabout Pants (all from Athleta cuz they have Talls!). 

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Gloves  – Don’t forget the gloves!  I wear Manzella Sprint gloves.  I have 3 pair and just ordered my 4th pair this week cuz I wipe my nose on them and need to wash them a lot.  I love the fit, and the reflective prints on the palm of the hand for night running, plus they wick sweat fast.  I can wear them from 20 to 40 degrees without anything else on my hands.  Once it dips below 18 or so, then I add another layer of gloves or go to a heavier version.  Some people like mittens, it’s kinda about personal preference but your fingers are super sensitive so pay attention and keep them warm!!

Kankakee River State Pk_ Fence_Nov 2013  image

Don’t be afraid to add hand warmers to your gloves if you have poor circulation or just can’t keep your fingers warm.  I picked up a few at Walgreens this morning, a 2 pack is $1.

Hot Hand Warmers

Headbands & Hats – My gosh, don’t think you’re too cute for a hat or ear/headband or you might get frostbite on your ears.  This is serious business.  As you probably know, the majority of body heat is lost thru the head so COVER IT UP!   I have a couple ear/headbands, one from North Face that’s pretty heavy-duty and one from Athleta that I wear most of the time.  The pink ear/headband from North Face is on the left, the Athleta Polartec Power Stretch ear/headband is on the right.  I’m good with the thin one from Athleta most of the time til it drops down under 18ish degrees, then I go heavier and add a hat!

image    Schubert Woods_me_athleta headband_Dec 2013

When it super cold, I wear both a hat and an ear/headband, and you may even see me add a balaclava to protect my face.  Trust me if you see my face covered,  recognize that it’s cold, windy and “possibly” dangerous! 

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Socks – Please cover those ankles!  I like to move to a crew length sock that will protect my skin and cover the gap between my shoe & tights.  Smartwool, or socks with more natural fibers do best to keep you warm.  Here is what Athleta has in Smartwool socks but you can get them just about anywhere.

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The bottom line is that you CAN run outside in the cold but you need to be smart, have good gear and also know that if you just can’t get warm after 2 miles, pack it up and go back home.  Never be afraid to call it quits if you don’t feel safe no matter how crazy everyone else may be.

Did I miss anything?  What’s your go to cold weather gear?  Please share! 

** Run Smart & Safe In The Cold ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

10 Degrees….

Ten degrees……the coldest it’s been so far in Illinois for the start of winter 2011-2012.  Wow, it was hard to get my ass out of bed  “up and out” this morn.  The thing that propelled me forward was actually the fact that I had the time, the kids and hubby were out of the house, and I really WANTED to go for a run…… regardless of the temps.  I would have gone had it been below zero.  Yes, I am  a freak weirdo like that.  It was also an added bonus to have a little accountability.  Although my running partners were quickly dropping like flies with the falling temps, there was still several who made an appearance.  Me, Suzanne, Kate, & Maggie – Run For Pi(e)

Today we were joining up with the Yankee Runners as they came south, out of  the Palos Hills, to run Old Plank for a change.  When I hit my usual parking area, which is quite desolate at this time of year, I was pleasantly surprised to see it was filled people…..not just people but RUNNERS!  I bet there were 25+ people out there for a run today!  AWESOME.  But I still was slightly tentative about leaving the warmth of my car.Wow, 10 degrees.  I can do it.  I have this new face mask….it will keep me warm!

There wasn’t any a lot of chatter or introductions, basically we just jumped out of our cars and took off running before we got frost-bitten.  However, I did see Judy F., Frogger, Mark C., Scott B., Cindy T. and a few other people I recognized from Running For Kicks functions or the Park Forest Running & Pancake Club.  Once we were moving, the photos blurred as the lens on my camera phone fogged.  But I still tried!

It was really beautiful out.  We had a dusting of snow, the sun was just coming up and did I mention it was 10 degrees?  The wind was low, we had a headwind going out but coming back in a full sweat I realized I was overdressed like always but it was just a beautiful day.  And as always, I was super glad I went out and got in a few miles with my friends.  On a random side note, I want to thank all of you who continue to come out and meet me to run.  It is sooooo much more fun trying to hang on to Suzanne & Kate’s coat-tails running in a group verses going solo.  Thank YOU!

“Run”way Fashion:  Reebok Compression base layer, long bra top, Athleta long sleeve lined with fleecy flannel which has thumb holes and fold overs for hands (they don’t make it anymore!), then I had a light running jacket on which is a generic off brand I’ve had for years.  On the bottom I had CW-X compression tights plus Athleta Run About Pants in TALL.  I was very bundled without too much bulk, everything fit close so that air didn’t get in to allow the sweat to freeze.  I also wore an ear band, hat, gloves and the new Seirus Innovation face mask (picked it up at Dick’s Sporting Goods last night but couldn’t seem to find it online to link it up here).  So I was really quite toasty after we got running!  You CAN run outside in the winter if you want dress appropriately.

10.03 miles – 1:34, a few stops for photos, a stop for fluids at the 4 mile mark, and a few road crossings but mostly kept it moving.  On days when its this cold, please keep moving so your sweat doesn’t freeze.  That would be bad for your skin.

Happy WINTER Running!                                                                                           Amanda – TooTallFritz