We were warned: winter is coming. But now it’s official, winter is here. Although it brings many things we all look forward to, like the holidays, skiing and the winter Olympics, it also brings freezing cold weather, snow and wind gusts so strong you feel like you might just blow away!
I’m a runner, but I consider myself an outdoor runner. Put me on a treadmill and I’m dying after three miles. Put me outside and I’ll do eight miles no problem. It’s weird, I know, but I bet you feel the same. So, when winter comes, the only way you’ll find me running is in a studio like Barry’s Bootcamp or Shred415 – where treadmill time is limited and the intervals keep it interesting.
Except for this year. I’m running the Boston marathon in April, which means training started mid-December. Spring marathons spell cold, snowy runs and weather challenges that fall marathoners may not be used to. The icy temperatures and snow-covered trails intimidated me at first but that wasn’t going to stop me from achieving my goals.
After much research on how to get through this, I realized I needed to step up my game on cold weather athletic gear. Let me introduce you to the essential cold weather apparel and accessory guide to keep you warm through all your outdoor activities this winter. These can be used for running, skiing, snow shoeing, even a good old fashion snowball fight.
First, keep that noggin warm!
OK, so mom may have been fibbing when she said you lose most your body heat through your head (thank you WebMD) , but you still need to keep it warm and dry. A favorite amongst Chicago winter warriors is Lululemon’s Cross Chill Run Beanie ($36), a soft, sweat-wicking stretchy hat that stays in place and even has reflective details. The nice thing is, it’s warm but not so warm you’ll want to rip it off mid-run.
Take care of those extremities!
Doesn’t it always seem like your hands and feet get cold immediately? When you’re cold, your blood flow reduces – starting with your skin, fingers and feet and they tend to get colder, faster. This is why good gloves and socks are so important. Medium weight wool socks like the performance trail sock from Backcountry ($19) keep your feet dry and warm when you’re going the distance. For your fingers, try the Under Armour ColdGear Reactor Run glove ($40) reacts to your body temperature, absorbing and retaining your own body heat; it warms you up when your hands are cold and lets off steam to cool you down before you overheat. It truly is the best of both worlds!
Stock up on base layers to take you the distance!
Choosing the right base layer will help you stay drier and more comfortable in cold temperatures. A base layer should be snug against the skin. This allows it to wick away sweat. Nike’s Pro Warm long sleeve training top ($65) holds in the heat to keep you dry, warm and comfortable during your outdoor activities.
It’s all about wearing the right tights!
I love trendy patterns and fun colors for my workout tights. However, when it comes to cold weather wear, the most important thing is how warm (and dry) they keep me. Meet the Nike Pro HyperWarm tights ($70), which combine sweat-wicking thermal fabric with extra ventilation in the areas that get the most heat.
Got all that? Ready to take on the Lakefront Trail? One thing I’ve struggled with is trying to gauge exactly how many layers I need. This handy chart from Runner’s World helps serve as a guide when trying to decide. Give it a peak, then use this winter to get faster while everyone slows down (and meet me for my 10-miler?).