running in a winter wonderland

i don’t know about where you are, but here in the east/midatlantic, fall has hit us HARD. in fact, at times (read: early morning and late evening) it seems almost winter-like, which isn’t really fair because we haven’t had much of a fall to begin with. summer kind of went through the end of september. anyway, i’m getting away from myself.

this winter will mark my third season of winter running. ew. if you’ve just started running, or have tried to skip winter running in the past, i’m not going to sugarcoat it: it kind of sucks. i can’t tell you the number of times i’ve almost been blown off a path by 30 mph winds, almost ate it on a sidewalk because of black ice, or the countless times my toes have gone numb in the first few minutes of a run. luckily last winter was very mild snow-wise, with only one real day of snow before it all melted away.

HOWEVER. running in the cold is also kind of great. first, it’s a great motivator to run fast so you can get back home to a warm shower and sweatpants. second, there is hardly anyone else out there – so when you do see a fellow crazy runner, you can nod silently to each other in recognition of your craziness (also less people to get in your way on the trails). as an added bonus, a lot of the gear is neon, because we need to be seen out there. given that there is appx. 3 hours of daylight during the winter months, it’s inevitable that you’ll be running in the dark, so get used to it now. (and ladies, i’ve learned that all the kidnappers don’t automatically come out when the sun goes down – we’ve got another few hours in the day before that happens!) personally, i’ll be running the MOST this winter, because due to my spontaneity and poor race planning, i’ll be training for a march half marathon AND a ragnar during the most bitterly cold months.

over these past few winters, i’ve tested and accumulated a lot of running crap. like, a lot. i figured i’d pass along this wealth of knowledge to all my friends. so i present to you, this poorly done polyvore collage! yes, i really do own this crap!

winter running essentials

quick reviews:

neckwarmer – i would call this the least essential item on the list, but still necessary sometimes. it makes a lot of tops more versatile (if you don’t have a hood/collar) and can be pulled up over your chin/mouth/nose for the most bitterly cold days.

gloves – while i mostly do run in my $2 target gloves, these technical gloves are great for longer runs, runs in the dark, and windy days. they’re reflective, warm but not bulky, and have a grippy texture on the thumbs for holding stuff. and they suck up snot like a boss.

LED light – this particular model has like 7 different strobe effects. it’s inexpensive and the battery lasts forever. if you run in areas that are poorly lit but highly trafficked, i highly recommend this or something similar.

jacket – now i’m not saying that you need this exact model, but really, you do. don’t look at the price. DON’T LOOK AT IT. i can’t believe i own this, but i love it (in my defense, i got it with store credit from shoes i bought but did not like). this jacket is EVERYTHING proof + built for 40 degrees and below. last winter i ran on a day when winds reached 40mph. i may have blown away, but my upper body did not feel a thing.

compression capris – i absolutely love old navy’s active line and recommend it to everyone i know. i got these hottttttt pink capris last week and took them for their first spin this week. i definitely turned some heads, but you know what? i didn’t get run over by a biker.

earband – if you don’t have one of these, you will get frostbite on your ears and die.

traction aids – i was gifted these last year from my dailymile secret santa, and on the one day i was able to use them, they were FANTASTIC. if you get these, you really have no excuse not to run in snow.

rosebud salve (you can use Vaseline too) – i rub this all over my lips and face to protect from windburn. it works, and the tin lasts forever.

8 thoughts on “running in a winter wonderland

  1. Thanks for all the great info. This will be my first fall/winter running so I can use all the advice I can get (I’m in WA state so it will eventually get cold). Are you certain about the kidnappers? I scare easily :(

    • once you embrace the chill in the air, it actually becomes very enjoyable, i promise. and i have yet to encounter any kidnappers after many dark runs. you can do it!

  2. This is great! I too will have to do a bunch of running this winter since I chose a half marathon in early february, so this is very helpful and I look forward to gearing up!

  3. So I sort of hate running outside to begin with and have lived much of my running life on my treadmill, but then I went to California for a blog thing and actually ran 4 miles outside and was all “hey, this is lovely” so now I’m trying to run outside but I’m SCARED because WINTER IS COMING and I hate the cold and I hate getting hot because I’m wearing too many layers and really, I just need to buck the fuck up and run outside and stop being a sissy.

  4. You can just add everything to my Christmas list. Thank you. Of course, the reason I joined a gym was so that I wouldn’t have to run in the cold weather, but I realize there may be times when I’ll have to. By the way, you only have to encounter one kidnapper for it to all be over. Please run where there are lots of people, ragnar be damned.

  5. This post gives me all sorts of motivation to resume my outdoor running and quit being a wimp by using the treadmill. Not saying that it will last, however… haha. It gets damn cold in Virginia sometimes. You are just a badass!

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