Winter Running Essentials

9 Jan

When I first moved to DC a million years ago, the winters were pretty mild–I don’t think I even had a real winter coat down here during college (though I did have a wool scarf named Pinky…long story). But, sadly, times and climates change, and DC living now requires me to own an ice scraper and a pair of warm, waterproof boots. Blech.

I’ve also accumulated a well-curated (if I do say so myself) winter running wardrobe– I may not need to outrun the law in Fargo, but I do need basic staples that will hold up to ~20 mph wind, RealFeel temps in the single digits, and the occasional frozen precipitate. Here are some tried-and-true favorites that keep me feeling like this til April:viola

  1. Thermal running tights that actually do their job

    You get what you pay for with these guys– it takes a feat of textile engineering to keep someone warm and dry for a 90-minute workout in 20-degree weather. A lot of cheaper tights just pile on the fleece so you feel all warm and toasty for about a mile, after which you realize that your sweat has frozen the tights to your skin. (Let me tell you, that is a post-run recovery I wish on no one.) After six years with my first pair of Sugoi Subzero Tights, I just bought my second pair and they are worth every penny–warm, wicking, and wind resistant.

  2. Layers for weather from chilly to friggin’ freezing

    “Dress in layers” is probably the most oft-given piece of winter running advice. My addition to the canon is that all layers are not created equal–you’ll need a base layer, a cold layer, a pretty cold layer, a friggin’ freezing layer, and a vest. My general rules go like this:
    — 37-44F : a tank top, a thermal long-sleeve, and a running vest
    — 22-36F, all the above +a thicker running pullover.
    –anything under 22 means I pull out the big guns and swap the pullover for this UnderArmour sweatshirt that I’ve had for years and years

    The great news is that TJMaxx and Marshall’s are always chock full of Nike and Under Armour layers–2 of my 3 long-sleeve thermals and both thicker pullovers I own came at big discounts from pilfering through those “active wear” racks. My personal preference is a lower neckline or a quarter-zip so I can cool down without peeling all the layers off–but I know a lot of people shudder at the idea of an exposed neck in the winter. Whatever floats your boat.

  3. Something-anything- to keep your ears warm

    Mary has been chronicling the great beanie vs. ear warmer debate this season– I am squarely Team Ear Warmer. I have never owned a fancy one (though I would really, really, really love this one), and have found whatever piece of fleece is in the bargain bin at Modell’s to be perfectly adequate.

  4. Awesome gloves

    For awhile I thought the $0.99 CVS cotton gloves were reasonable hand protection… and then I found these amazing Lux gloves, which totally changed the game. I wear them when it’s under 40F, and they are wonderful. For colder days (under 30F), I think these waterproof, windresistant gloves are great (another incredible piece of advice from Mary!).

  5. Buttpaste to protect what your mama gave you

    Alright y’all, it’s time for real talk– there is not a warm, wicking fabric in the world that can spare your tucous a serious chapping if you go into the sweat+wind+cold triple threat tundra without some buttpaste. For a longer discussion on the topic, read this my thoughts on half marathon training through the winter. Alternatives include vaseline, chamois butter, and body glide, but I stay on some damn buttpaste if I’m gonna be braving the elements longer than an hour or so.

3 Responses to “Winter Running Essentials”

  1. Eat Pray Run DC January 9, 2017 at 10:44 am #

    you crack me up. and our run this weekend totally necessitated this post. xx

    • cookingupkefi January 9, 2017 at 10:52 am #

      Right? Especially after seeing all those brave souls out there in COTTON.

  2. KMBGS January 10, 2017 at 11:44 am #

    Pinky!

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