“Well, that happened quickly”
I thought that as I found myself layering up for a recent outdoor run. Like, full-on layering. Yes, in what feels like the blink of an eye, it’s already winter – well, technically it’s not, it’s only a few weeks into the fall. But with temps in the mid-30s and morning frost, it sure feels like we skipped right over fall and dove headfirst into winter a little earlier than even I’d like.
No matter how soon or unexpectedly quick it comes, we always know winter will show up. And, for those of us who still love our outdoor runs, it means a new wardrobe strategy.
In my years of running in the, shall we say “brisk” North Dakota winters, here are the must-haves I’ve found for enjoyable winter running. And if you need help getting excited about the season, here are my tips for winter running.
1. Base Layer
I can’t overstate the importance of a good base layer to stay warm and dry – both on top and bottom. Obviously, the rest of your clothing is important but the base layer is key.
Make sure your base layer is clothing that is intended to be a base layer, particularly, moisture-wicking. Yes, it’s cold, but you’re still going to sweat. Choose tights or pants that allow the legs good movement and keep them toasty. Same goes for the top, make sure it’s snug so layering over it is easy, yet allows movement.
We all know we lose some obnoxious amount of heat through your head, at least that’s what our parents told us throughout childhood to make we wore a hat. But it’s good advice.
A good, warm hat is essential for an outdoor winter run. Ideally, choose a beanie that’s long enough to fully cover the ears, too.
3. Glove Mittens
Obviously the hands need to stay warm on a run. It’s also nice to give your fingers the option to still work.
Gloves (with fingers) are an option and leave your fingers still able to function. Mittens (fingerless) are an option and usually a warmer one. Both come with drawbacks so a better option is combining the two. I’ve found the best solution is the gloves with flip-up mitten style covers.
4. SmartWool Socks
Not only is winter cold, it often comes with snow. And, chances are, some is going to make its way into your shoes.
Getting your feet wet during a run is unpleasant, especially when it’s cold. SmartWool socks make those moments suck less.
5. Fleece Neck Gaiter
In Fargo, it gets windy. When it’s cold, that can make the great outdoors downright brutal. Even if you don’t live in a city where wind is the norm, the slightest breeze feels biting when the temps are chilly.
A fleece neck gaiter is a good wind barrier, and keeps sweat and moisture from freezing to it and becoming uncomfortable. A fleece scarf does the trick as well but I’ve found scarves come loose and slip out of position easier than a neck gaiter so the latter is my top choice.
With these basics, you’re ready to get out there and enjoy running outside this winter.
What are your winter running must-haves? Or do you forgo outdoor runs and stick to the treadmill until spring? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.