The hardest part about winter running is taking the first step out the door. And then it turns out that it’s not so cold here, it’s nice to breathe fresh air, and the sensations are generally more pleasant than when training in the heat. True, the weather at this time can throw surprises in the form of wind, snow, rain and slippery roads.
And in order to mentally prepare you for these circumstances, we are talking about equipment that will make jogging both more comfortable and safer.
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The perfect shoe for winter is waterproof, windproof and features an aggressive outsole for better traction. For these reasons, a variety of impervious tops are popular as winter options. Usually it is a Gore-Tex membrane, but almost every running brand now has its own counterpart, which does the job as well as Hortex.
Avoid well-ventilated shoes with an airy single-layer mesh – your feet will be cold and wet in these shoes.
Cold-hardy runners can spend the entire winter in regular asphalt shoes, but if this is your first running winter, you are unlikely to be hardened enough to repeat the experience.
The choice of socks depends on the type of shoe you will be wearing. If it’s insulated sneakers with a waterproof upper, regular running shoes made from sports synthetics will do. Socks should be high to protect the Achilles from hypothermia, so you will have to temporarily forget about short socks.
If you are planning to spend the winter in ordinary “all-season” shoes, then everything is not so simple: in light socks your feet may freeze at the beginning of the workout, and if you wear too warm knitted ones, they will sweat quickly and you will need to solve the problem with moisture removal.
Therefore, there are special insulated models of running socks that both warm and keep feet dry, protecting them from chafing.
Most manufacturers use merino wool to make these socks. It is thinner and softer than regular wool, does an excellent job of wicking moisture, and is also able to trap air between the fibers, protecting from the cold. While the fabric is incredibly comfortable, it lacks durability, which is why manufacturers mix it with synthetic materials to increase durability.
Some runners advise screwing the cleats directly into the outsole to retrofit them for winter tasks. But we think it is much more convenient to put on special studded attachments over the shoes. This is a great and inexpensive way to get better traction on trampled snow and slippery road surfaces.
Choose ice shoes with more spikes (usually 10), these should be located in both the heel and toe.
Remember: when there is heavy ice on the street, no ice shoes will protect you from possible falls and injuries. In very extreme weather conditions, it is better to train on a treadmill or replace running with GPP (for example, plyometrics).
Not the most necessary item, but they are really very handy when you need to run on trails where there is more snow than ankle-deep. Leggings (also called shoe covers) are high or short, and can be easily fastened into sneakers. Most shoe covers are waterproof.
Do not want snow, small stones or debris to get into your shoes – wear shoe covers!
Dark evenings come and therefore it is very important to take care of safety. Reflective clothing or individual items will make you visible on the road to pedestrians and drivers. Ideally, the brighter the clothes, the better, but even if you prefer total black, you should add bright details to the image, for example, a reflective vest.
Running gear makers have picked up the theme too, and now many technical winter kits have reflective panels and prints.
To protect your head and ears from the cold and wind, you will need a functional hat – another must-have winter accessory. Depending on the temperature and conditions overboard, you can “get off” with a light transformer buff or buy a warmed version on fleece.
We talked about what kind of hats are and what should be worn on your head in general, depending on the weather, in a separate article.
Ordinary urban running hats are not suitable – they do not wick moisture away from a sweaty head and you will be at least uncomfortable. In addition, in cold weather, ice freezes under such a hat.
The most effective way to keep warm during your winter run is to dress in layers. Thermal underwear comes in handy in very cold weather and acts as a base layer, wicking sweat and moisture away from the skin and allowing it to evaporate outside.
The main dilemma when choosing is what material of thermal underwear is best for you: merino wool or synthetic fabrics. Merino is warmer and more resistant to odors, while synthetics wick away sweat better and dries faster.
Frost and wind have a negative effect on unprotected hand skin. And each of us has a different heat exchange, so even with gloves on, many runners get cold hands when the whole body is already warmed up.
Therefore, choose gloves depending on personal preference: should they be waterproof, do you need protection from the wind, or maybe you need models with special inserts that allow you to use a smartphone or a touch screen of the watch?
If your hands are prone to freezing, try gloves instead of gloves – they keep warm better.
A useful invention for runners with constantly freezing hands and really harsh frosty weather. Small and compact (size about 9×5 cm), self-heating pads can be put in gloves, pockets or just in the palm of your hand. Heating pads heat up quickly and retain heat for a long time.
Waterproof and windproof jacket
Membrane waterproof jacket is useful for everyone in the winter season. It not only protects against snow and rain, but also protects against cold winds, which means it prevents heat loss. It is better to take a jacket with taped seams – it provides complete waterproofness.
Among the shortcomings, this will probably be the most expensive item in your winter set. However, a high-quality item will last more than one year.
Warm pants or tights
Frozen muscles fatigue faster and perform less well, so it’s important to choose good quality tights for cold weather. Winter leggings provide freedom of movement, protect against prolonged exposure to low temperatures. At the same time, they allow the skin to breathe to prevent overheating by wicking away sweat.
For those who don’t like a skinny fit, go for a looser variation of warm jogging pants. Choose models with a high waist to further protect your lower back from hypothermia.
As with a running jacket, these tights won’t be cheap, but they’ll last.
In winter, the daylight hours are short, which means that part of your workouts will have to be done in the dark. If you live in an area with limited street lighting, or want to go on a trail cross at dusk, then add a headlamp to your wishlist.
There is a wide range of headlamps on the market, so choose based on your personal convenience: the device must be securely fastened, not slip or fall off, with a long battery life, good peripheral lighting, and light in weight.
Pay attention to the brightness of the light (measured in lumens): the higher the number of lumens, the brighter the flashlight will shine.