Over the last few months, I’ve tried to convince you to find ways to embrace winter running.
First I told you how it burns more body fat.
Then I showed you a indoor warm up that will help you immediately feel better outside (and avoid injury).
I shared with you a winter maintenance plan that will set you up for spring PR’s.
And of course, I also told you how to survive long runs on the treadmill because I’m no Polar Bear, I need options!
Today, I want to get in to some of the practical stuff by partnering with my friends from Nike. Particularly gear, layers, shoe grip and all that fancy stuff.
Before we get started, one of my favorite quick tips is this: Do a short warm up run of 10-15 minutes near your home or car, so you can shed a layer once you realize you’ve overdone it. I know I’m not the only one who tends to overdress based on just knowing it’s cold!
One of the tricky things about running is that starting out you feel every bit of the cold, but within about 20 minutes it actually feels 20 degrees warmer because of the heat you’re generating.
Then if you tend to overdress like me, you begin to sweat and the longer you run the colder you feel as your now damp clothes are meeting the air and creating a whole different problem. Solution: Layers…and stop overdressing.
Step 1: Warm Core
Honestly, I’m always so worried about my fingers that I often forget if I start with a warm core it ensures my fingers stay warm as well!
That’s right, your fingers and toes get colder when you are under dressed because your body is going to conserve heat around your organs first. Ah ha!!
This is why you see a lot of hikers embracing the big puffy vest. That core warmth actually helps to keep the rest of their limbs toasty as well.
Options for keeping your core warm:
A fleece lined top like the one I’m wearing above (Nike Miler Flash Warm Women’s Reflective Long Sleeve Running Top) these are designed for added warmth while pulling the sweat away from your body and mega bonus points for the reflective sleeves!
A base layer that you top with a windbreaker or a heavier layer. Base layers aren’t just the layers closest to your skin, they’re in fact thin lightweight layers designed specifically to provide warmth by wicking away sweat (yup we used to call them long johns!). I find that a lot of people prefer the feeling of these thin tops that they can easily layer. But don’t be fooled-they’re warm!!!
Water repellent tops and jackets are a fantastic top layer. While it feels magical to dash through the snow, it’s less magical as you become wet and it conducts the cold right to your core….BRRRR. I’m head over heels for the Nike Flex Running Jacket (pictured below). Not only is it cute, but because you can fold it in to its own pocket, it’s excellent for changing weather on the trail.
EXAMPLE: It was a feels like of 8 degrees with falling snow this morning. I pulled on two fleece lined shirts, hat, gloves, fleece lined pants and once I started running felt plenty warm!
Step 2: Leg Warmers
You’ve all seen it…the guy in a blizzard dashing about in shorts. Or shoot, maybe you are that guy! Personally, I don’t like being cold so that’s just never going to happen, but there’s a reason you see that.
Your body warms up to make it feel roughly 20 degrees warmer than it is outside. For a lot of people who naturally trend towards feeling warm that means they really don’t embark on tights until it’s below 10-20 degrees.
The downside is if you aren’t someone with that high temp, you’re risking tight hamstrings, quads and of course just total discomfort.Once again we have options and layers!!
Just as with your core layers, you have base layers, fleece lined pants, wind pants as a top layer, capris, tights of various weights. How to choose? Again, remember the 20 degree rule and warm up inside to help you get a better feel for how toasty you’ll be as you begin.
General rules of thumb:
- 45 degrees and above: shorts or capris
- 35-45 degrees: average leggings to capris
- 30-35 degrees: base layer with wind pants potentially
- below 29 degrees fleece lined tights (possible second layer depending on wind or below 10 degrees)
Above I’m rocking the Nike Pro Hyperwarm leggings which are a thermal fabric for added warmth, sweat-wicking material, and have a little foot stirrup so that as you pull up your heavy weight socks, your leggings don’t bunch up!Do you overdress or underdress for winter runs? Let's talk about the perfect layering! #runchat Click To Tweet
Step 3: Foot Love
It’s not just about finding socks that don’t chafe, in the winter we need them to be both warm and sweat-wicking. Beyond that we may need to consider different shoes or accessories to our shoes!
Socks: Super thick socks can mean sweaty feet, which then become cold or create blisters by making your shoes too tight. What’s a poor determined runner to do?! Wool.
Shoes: Opt for shoes with as little ventilation as possible in cold winter months. And on days with a light layer of snow, trail shoes are the perfect option to give you just a tad more grip.
As noted above, if you’ll be wearing bigger socks this is the time to loosen up those laces and be aware you might be stretching the shoe out a bit.
Spikes: On days where there is a lot of snow or ice, I recommend shoe spikes. You can either drills screws in to the shoes yourself or I prefer the option to pull on something over my shoe like YaxTrax.
Step 4: Extremities
Now it’s time to talk about my blue fingers. While I don’t have Reynauds like a number of my friends, its not unusual for me to sit on my hands at home! And as it turns out, even many elite athletes who will race in bum huggers, swear by wearing gloves!
Running gloves come in a variety of layers just like tops! The main thing is to ensure they are dry fit and NOT cotton! On super chill days the Storm-Fit Hybrid glove has a fleece lining that’s wicks away sweat, but provides more warmth than many of the gloves. I’m also often found wearing 2 layers of gloves or wearing gloves topped with mittens when it’s 25 or below.
Neck buffs are another great option for covering up an area that is often left exposed! The best thing about a buff is its versatility as well, so I can pull it up over my mouth and nose at the beginning of the run or when turning in to a strong wind.
A sweat wicking hat is the other thing you’ll rarely see me leave home without when it’s below 35 degrees. Again, avoid cotton as that will simply suck up your sweat and then leave it sitting on your head! Wearing a hat alone can help to make the entire run feel warmer by holding in the heat of your body.
All right, now you have all in the info you could possibly need!! No more excuses, go make it happen!
What’s your process for layering?
What’s the coldest you’ve run in?
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This post is brought to you by Nike. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.