What to Wear ….. Winter Running

Baby, its cold outside!!  And I don’t mean maybe!  Our long run last Saturday was a “feels like” temperature of –11.  Windy.  Cold.  Eyelash freezing kind of day.  And my girls had 14 miles on their schedule.  What to do?  Well, run, of course!! 

Its only Cold if Youre Standing Still

The key to running in the cold is all about having good gear.  And using it.  Don’t worry about looking cute or messing up your hair.  This is a safety thing.  If you go outside to run for hours in below zero temps, you must be smart.  I want you to go back home with all your fingers & toes & WITHOUT frost bite.  And always, if you don’t feel like its safe, then stay home.  It’s all up to your discretion. 

1)  Base Layers are key.  If you want to save money, look for last chance offers or clearance deals but bottom line, buy good base layers.  My favorite & an undeniably one of the best is Under Armour Cold Gear Mock Neck.  Its fitted.  Sits next to your skin & has a soft brushed fabric on the inside.  Its long.  Base layers either need to be tucked into your pants or long enough that they don’t ride up.  This top has a thin band of a rubber like substance around the bottom hem to help it “stick” to your clothes.  No exposed bellies that can get frostbitten!!  $49.99 from the Under Armour website.   Well worth the investment. If you want to save a little come, create a free account thru Ebates & get cash back for shopping online.  I’ve done it for years and its free $$ that not a lot of people know about.  Under Armour is currently giving 6% cash back if you shop thru the ebates site.  Super cool.

image

2)  Pants.  Must protect your legs.  If they have a wind block, even better but I’ve had great luck with the Polartec pants from Athleta.  I pretty much only buy pants from Athleta because they offer TALL sizes.  I have the old version of the Polartec tights.  Aby has the newest ones.  Athleta is currently 2% back on ebates & they are having an Extra 20% off sale items with the code:  EXTRA20   Since most of the winter stuff is on sale now, you may be able to grab a pair for cheap, if you can find your size.  Great pants & tights for COLD weather.   I wore just the Polartec tights, without any other pants, last SAT in –11 wind chill & my legs were cold but not frozen.   Love, Love, LOVE them.

image

3)  Jacket.  A good jacket that is wind & water resistant is worth its weight in gold.  I have a couple old ones that aren’t being made anymore.  However, I just bought Aby the Saucony Nomad Jacket off the clearance rack at an expo in November.  Her friends then went & found the same one on eBay.  So 3 of them have the same jacket.  It’s a good one, if you can still find it!  Its wind and water proof and she has gotten a lot of use out of it.  This is a bigger ticket item.  Expect to pay over $100 for a new item, from this year’s winter line.  Or shop the clearance rack at expos, the local run store or check out the Last Chance clearance deals at the big name running company online stores:  Saucony, Brooks, Mizuno, Nike.  Brand isn’t important, quality is the goal. 

AW - ABC - AMC_1-7-17  IMG_2147

4)  Gloves.  Everyone is a bit picky about their gloves so you’ll need to look around and find what you like.  I personally have 4 different pair of Manzella’s.  A few of the Sprint and a couple in the Ultra line.   I have different thickness from barely there to a real lining.  Some people need mittens.  Others need gloves with the mitten flip top.  Figure out what keeps you warm throughout the season.  And if all else fails, don’t be afraid to use a pair of Hot Hands to keep you toasty warm!

image image hot hands

5)  Earband/Headbands, Hats, Neck Gaiters, Balaclavas & Face Masks.  So much stuff, what to wear?  Well, I pretty much own & wear all of these things.  Once the temp dips below 40, I usually wear an ear or “headband”.   This keeps my ears warm when the wind is whipping, even if the temps aren’t real low.  Its lightweight, wicks sweat & stays put.  I have one from Athleta from years gone by.  The girls have a cute one from Under Amour that was on clearance at an expo.  I also use the headband under hats (caps & beanies) to make sure my ears always stay covered.    I usually buy from a sporting good store in the Ski section cuz skiers know cold.   I’ll use a headband & beanie for most winter days. 

image image

Once the weather breaks into the “unspeakable cold”, you may or may not decide to stay indoors for running.  I still like to go outside.  It makes me feel tough to get out in the cold and put in a  few (or more) miles.  When people are talking about the wind-chill and how cold it is outside, they’ll also be talking about us running outside.  We need to make it back home safely so that they are talking about how crazy we are rather than our stupidity.  This is where the neck gaiter, balaclava & the face mask come into play.  Keep your skin safe!!

image  image  image

6)  Socks.  Last but certainly not least, we must have good socks.  If its below 30 degrees, I don’t want to see any ankles.  That inch of skin between our tights and “no show” socks is important too.  Move to taller socks in the cold temps.  Some with wool properties that will wick sweat & help keep you dry might be a good idea.  Warm, dry feet are HAPPY feet.  I prefer Smartwool & Injinji socks but once again, this is all about preference.  In the winter I do my cold, snowy runs in my Injinji trail socks that are a midweight mini-crew style.  Keeps my toes toasty warm!  Injinji now has a nuwwol line too that has an Outdoor Midweight Mini Crew in Nuwwol.  I just ordered a couple pair of these since Aby & I share some of these winter run items.  Its hard to keep up on the laundry! image image image

The bottom line is that you CAN run outside all winter long, if you want.  There are very few conditions, short of ice, that you can’t dress for and tolerate.  I understand that its easy to use the excuse that its too cold but let’s be honest, usually that’s just an excuse.  Bundle up.  Keep moving.  And learn to enjoy running in EVERY season, even winter.

I’ll see you on the trail!

** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

Advertisements

15 Miles …. in the Snow

Week 13 of Lansing Marathon training closed out with a 15 miler.  Actually, if we are going to be honest, it should have been 17 miles but I knew I was by no means ready for that so I improvised!  As with all things in life, sometimes its more important to cover your ass improvise than it is to actually follow directions.  The last three weeks have been slow due to Ragnar recovery, the flu and my bum foot.  15 miles was plenty.

As it is, my weekends tend to bear the brunt of any training and life schedule so by the time the weekend hits, I’m trying to make up for whatever I couldn’t fit into the normal work week.  This week was no different, Friday night I hit the treadmill for a short speedier run, then did some core/strengthening work that the doc ordered.  I was also trying to break in a new pair of Brooks Ravenna 3s that showed up on my door step last week.

      me_core-ball work               Brooks Ravenna 3_ball work    

Then Saturday was long run day; however, hubby had to work in the morning so the run was broken up into 3 segments.  5 miles on the treadmill while screaming at the kiddos at the designated training pace (9:15ish).  Then hubby arrived home, I dried off and changed clothes to immediately head outside.  I had 5 miles on deck with a buddy, we were close to my training pace of 9:15 but I was starting to die out cuz I apparently wasn’t fueled properly so lagged the last mile.  I returned to my car to refuel only to realize I didn’t have any of my normal fuel, the AdvoCare Rehydrate Gel.  I dug into my bag of tricks to find an alternate fueling option, then took off on my own for the last 5.  By this time, I pretty much felt like crap.  The 5 on the treadmill felt okay but I could tell I was dragging a little cuz it certainly wasn’t as easy as last week, the middle 5 felt tough on the snow covered path.  Not a lot of snow but enough to screw up my already damaged foot strike. 

OPT_snowy_1-26-13

me_snowy run_1-26-13

And well, let’s just not talk about the last 5 or the fact that the alternate fueling option caused digestive distress which resulted in my having to abandon the trail in search for a bathroom.  By the time I returned to my car, everything hurt including my pride.  However, nothing could take away the fact that I still covered 15 miles, in the dead of winter, when I would have rather been huddled on the couch drinking beer cuddling my babies.

So it may not have been a marathon training win but it was still in the done column.

“Run”Way Fashion for a snowy day with temps in the low 20s:  Athleta Reflective Relay Tights (in Tall), Under Armour Mock compression base layer, Brooks Infiniti Hybrid Windshirt (on sale for $62), regular socks with Brooks Ravenna 3s, lightweight Manzella Sprint Gloves & Athleta Base Miles headband.

image     image      image        

Brooks Ravenna 3_snow image  image

As the temps decrease and the wind picks up, then I add more layers (pants over tights and tech shirts over base layer, possibly tall compression socks, hat in addition to headband)  but this type of gear will get your thru most cold winter runs.  Winter isn’t the time to skimp on good gear. You don’t need a lot, just a few key pieces, then wash them by hand & hang to dry for tomorrow!

Happy running, regardless of the mileage, don’t be afraid to get out and hit the trail even when the conditions aren’t perfect.  Just take it easy so you don’t slip and if its icy instead of snowy, hit the streets or stay inside.  Don’t mess with the ice or you’ll regret it for months.

** Amanda – TooTallFritz **