Winter Running – be prepared


It took me a good while to wrap my head around winter running. Here in Southern Ontario we get some deep freeze temps, snow and ice that make running dangerous and really uncomfortable. What I’ve found is if you’re prepared for the elements, you can run safely and comfortably.  With a lot of trial and error I finally figured out what gear and clothing works best for me and I want to share them with you.

Please keep in mind that my winter gear has been collected over a few years and not all at once. It’s expensive so I tend to buy just one or two quality items a year or slowly upgrade to higher quality.

Let’s start from the head and work our way to the toes.

Headgear


To keep my head and ears warm I use the the famous Buff on all my runs. This tube like head gear (the ones that the TV show Survivor uses) can be worn so many ways. I normally wear it folded once and worn over my ears like a thick headband and sometimes I wear it over my ears and face to keep the wind chill off.

Check out their website but be careful because you’ll want them ALL. They also make them with merino wool 😍

Of course any cozy wool hat is sometimes needed too.

Noxgear!!! Light Vest. < strong><<<<<<<<<
ssential for all my dark runs. This vest is pretty incredible, so light weight that you forget you have it on, fits snug so it never moves, easily worn over a hydration vest or running jacket AND you can choose a different colour every time you wear it, make them flash with an easy press of a button. It takes 3 AAA batteries and they last forever.

Join my Noxgear group "My Fitness Hobby" and get a 30% off coupon code. http://www.noxgear.com/noxgearnation/ always see runners and cyclists out wearing these, I’ve been told I look like a running alien!

Leggings and Pants When shopping for winter legging you want them to have a brushed interior that’s extremely warm and comfortable. Made from stretchy, durable high tech materials that won’t stink up your closet. A great material to look for is Merino Wool!!

Most of the big box stores like Sports Check, The Gap, MEC , REI and The Running Room all offer a good selection. Although expensive,  I buy most of mine through LuLuLemon, I find the quality is very high and the items just last me for years. When I’m putting in some serious miles, I need my gear to work and not fail. I also don’t want to replace them very year so buying quality is key.

When the wind is high and it’s pressing -20c I use an outer shell over my leggings. MEC has a great selection, my go to by MEC are the Pearl Izumi Thermal Barrier Pant.

This outer layer will keep your thighs and bum from freezing as you run through the wind and wet snow.

Base Layer and Jacket! always lean towards a Merino Wool blend long sleeved shirt. Believe it or not I’ve found all my base layer Merino Wools at COSTCO!  For more information on this material check out https://www.smartwool.com/discover/why-merino-wool/merino-wool-101.html<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
ade winter running jacket by New Balance. Mine is 2 years old but much like this jacket I found online. https://ca.shop.runningroom.com/collections/reflective-jackets/running-room-unisex-printed-reflective-jacket-156560.html<<

Most big brands sell amazing jackets that will block the wind, offer reflective elements and breathable. Also, buy a size that will allow layers underneath!

Feet and Footing!If your feet are cold and wet and your falling all over the place, you’re going to be super uncomfortable, ya?

My feet don’t tend to get cold unless they get wet so I avoid the slush as much as possible. I have yet to master the dry feet.

My go to socks is the Woman’s Ankle Copper Sole Sock found at Marks Work Warehouse.

When I’m out running in the winter and the roads and trails are ice, I want traction so I feel confident, I bought a cheap pair of tracks from Costco for $14 very similar to these found on Amazon.

They come in size small, medium and large, depending on your shoe size. They just slip right over your running shoe. They take a bit to get used to but they’ll give you all the confidence you need on icy roads or trails.

My best advise is to follow this chart based on temperature.

Dress for it and you’ll love it!!

My Next Race!


This will be my second year of endurance running, and my husband and I are both training for our next big race, our second Around The Bay race. My good friend Amy, who lives just down the street, is also training for it. You really need a good support network to keep you motivated during these cold winter months.

Around The Bay is a 30k race around the Hamilton Bay of Lake Ontario. People travel from all over to participate. Did you know that Around The Bay is older then the Boston marathon! ?

The first 20k is an “exciting”, scenic, and fast route through Hamilton Ontario. The final 10k treks through rolling hills along the scenic North Shore Blvd. It’s a challenging course, but the energy of the people that are running it and the people that live on the course give an extra boost.

One thing that always stresses me out is the unpredictable weather. Race day is March 26th, and here in southern Ontario the weather is dicey in March and April – winter is still lingering but there are hints of spring in the air. Maybe it’s a girl thing, or maybe it’s a runner thing, but dressing with the right gear is so so important.  Too little clothing and you freeze your butt off for 3 hours, or if you dress too warm you sweat then freeze your butt off. The Weather Network becomes your favourite app for the week leading up to your race, and pretty much every hour up until race time so you can fine tune your layers. Since this race changes directions a few times, the wind and temperature can change quickly. I will most likely have three outfit choices for the morning of and decide at the last minute based on the expected weather.

I’ve learned that you need to be prepared to remove layers as you’re running and be able to put them back on once the temperature changes again.

That waiting time at the start line can be long and cold. Some runners buy heavier layers at the thrift store to wear over top of their normal gear, then toss them aside when they’re all warmed up. I saw a ton of retro jackets along the streets of Hamilton and dollar store gloves that runners tossed when they were done with them. The city picks them all up and it’s all donated.

What I also learned from last year was at the start line you need to keep up with the pack because you’ll get trampled. It’s a huge field of racers, but once the pack thins out, you can find your own pace.

45 days and counting. 5 more long runs to complete.