Thursday, November 14, 2013

Running Cold...

Winter dropped in with a bang here in Michigan. One day it was mid-50s and sunny, the next it was below freezing, windy and raw. Our first snow wasn't pretty and fluffy, it was rain that changed over to snow, driven sideways by the wind as the temperatures plunged 20 degrees.  Not to worry though, in true Michigan fashion, it will be int he 50s again this weekend. And then the 30s by Monday.

Weather FTW...

There is a great thing on Twitter every Sunday night called RunChat. It alternates between 8pm EST and 10pm EST. Let's be honest, I usually miss the 10pm one. Girl's gotta sleep!  A cool thing happened when I found RunChat... I tapped into a community of fellow runners, and I learned that the conversation keeps going 24/7 via the hashtag #runchat.

One of the most common topics of conversation on #runchat lately is running in the cold. Specifically what to wear.  I'm still maintaining... marathon training officially kicks off in just over a week (oh, holy panic attack!). So I am out in the cold, and I know it's getting colder. Thank goodness I started my running journey in January. I actually know what to do, what works, and I'm figured it would help to share with you the gear that works for me!   I've included links to same or similar products where I can...

Let's start from the ground up, shall we?

My biggest shortfall is socks... I just use normal running socks. I'm going to try SmartWool this year, since I love them for skiing, but I do not have any amazing go-to, which is sad since my feet are ALWAYS COLD.

In temps anywhere between 40 and 10 degrees I wear Nike running tights. They might not be warm when you step outside, but they are warm as soon as you get moving. Mine are at least two years old, but this is the most similar model: Nike Thermal. Once temps drop into or below single digits, I top my tights with a pair of Under Armour pants similar to these: UnderArmour Fleece Team Pant.  Mine are a bit different... picked up in a ski shop several years ago, but they are so warm and comfy, they are my go-to post-run pant, and well-worn at this point!

For gloves, I have one brand. Swany. I don't need a tech glove... I run with a iPod shuffle, so I just press buttons. No need for touch screens.  Until it gets very, very cold, I swear by the Suprasilk Liner. Being a liner, it is obvious thin, which I love. But the material wicks sweat away while trapping your own heat inside. My hands are always cold... they'll go numb in my own house, but these often get my hands so warm I have to pull them off for a bit!  (I also always wear these under my mittens while skiing).  For those of you looking for face masks, check out Swany!

When it's a bit colder, or when I'm driving or walking to the ski slope, I use these Stretch-Tec. They are a bit thicker, a bit fleece-ier, and have grippy palms.

As far as tops, this is where I have the most wiggle room.... it all depends on the temperature and wind. When it's mild... like 40s, I have a Nike Colts Therma-Fit similar to this (mine is thinner)... 1/4 zip, thumb holes, all the good stuff, plus I show team pride!

20s and 30s, I use Nike Dri-Fit. I have hoodies similar to this and a full zip fleece Dri-Fit jacket. I've been very impressed with how warm Dri-Fit keeps me.

And once the temps really really drop, I put on an UnderArmour ColdGear Compression top under one of the previously mentioned layers. These are perfect for skiing, and almost too warm for running! They've recently come out with Cold Gear Infrared, and I hope to try it soon!

As for my head, unless it's really, really, really cold, I don't wear anything. Running with anything on my head (visor, sunglasses, hat, headband, etc.) makes me crazy, and I'm ripping it off pretty quickly, no matter how helpful it is! If it's frigid, say a blizzard, I have a SmartWool hat I will wear until I can't stand it and yank it off!

How do you deal with running in the cold and snow? What gear do you recommend?

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