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Winter Running Essentials

It's officially been winter in Minnesota for a month! The temperatures are decreasing and all of my winter running clothing is coming out of hybernation. So many people shy away from outdoor running when the weather gets blustery and cold. There are many reasons to stay indoors, BUT there are so many better reasons to bundle up and get outdoors. Here's what I do. I bundle up, I set my mind right, I have my run/workout planned, I meet up with friends who hold me accountable and I get outdoors. The fresh air does a body good and it's better for your legs to run on the pavement than it is the treadmill all winter. Let's face it, MN winters aren't going anywhere and off-season training is crucial to our spring and summer success.

Winter running essentials:

- Warm tights. Yes tights. They don't blow in the wind and they stay snug to your body. I have a fleece lined north face pair and a couple CWX pairs. Hint: When it gets below 15 degrees I wear a pair of spandex underneath to keep my quads and butt warmer :)

- Sweat wicking top for the first layer. I like the Smartwool Merino 250 base layer. It is the best on ALL winter running days. You can go half zip or no zip. It's a great product for the base layer. I've had mine for 6 years!!

- Second layer on top when it's between 10 degrees and 25 degrees is one of my winter running jackets. I have a craft running/xc ski jacket and I have a warmer nike jacket. If it's windy and colder, I go for the warmer nike, if it's calm and between 15 and 25, I go for the craft jacket. Anything under 10 degrees with a cold wind chill, I will wear a second layer between the smartwool and the jacket. Usually a 3 quarter zip nike run long sleeve. This is COLD weather you guys and the pace will be a bit slower, so I bundle up and go for it!

-Head - it is very important to keep the heat in so I wear a tight fitting winter running hat when it's under 25 degree. There are so many to choose from at your local running store. Try them on and make sure they're snug and sweat wicking.

- Socks: You need a thicker pair that cover your ankels when it's below 25 degrees. I like smartwool and coolmax. Just make sure your feet don't slide. If you get really sweaty feet, make sure your socks don't rub on your feet otherwise you'll have some nasty blisters.

-Gloves: MITTENS are a must! I have these awesome Saucony gloves that a ton of runners have!

- Head Lamp with flashing back lights: I never used to wear a head lamp, but in the winter it's impossible to see and it's slippery and dangerous. This is a must have. Check out this link for a guide. I have the black diamond sprinter and I swear by it!

- Shoes: I try to wear my older shoes that don't have a ton of miles on them because I don't care about getting them super dirty and they still have some good tread on the bottoms. Nike makes a great trail/snow type shoe with thicker treads on the bottom if you don't want to wear Yak Traxs on your shoes to prevent slipping. Do not wear the Saucony fast twitch shoe in the winter! There is a nice vent underneath that snow can get in. :) I learned the hard way.

- Yak Traxs: If you're running in snow and ice, you will want a pair. It's like studs on a snowmobile or fourwheeler on the lake. You don't want to slip and fall. Protect yourself.

- Face: If it's between 5 and 25 degrees without a lower wind chill I'll just wear Warm Skin lotion on my face. It keeps your skin moist and warm. :) If it's below 5 I wear a BALACLAVA. It protects your head and your face from the elements. You'll be sure to make it back home with frozen eye lashes too. :)

If the weather is below 0 and has a nasty windchill, opt for the treadmill. It's safer and warmer and you'll get a better workout than trying to stay warm outside. When you have the right gear, running in the winter when it's warmer than 5 degrees can be easy with the right gear. The fresh air is second to none! Your pace will naturally be a bit a slower then spring, summer and fall running but you have to rememember you're carrying more weight in your clothes! There is nothing better than a fresh snowfall and a nice jog when the temperatures permit. Happy winter running!


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