It may be cold outside, but running through the snow is still preferable, in my book, to hours on the dreadmill. So I appreciate all the winter running gear guides that crop up around now, extolling the virtues of wool-blend compression undies, triple-thermal-layer tights, and sticky-footed shoes.
But I think these guides often miss a few critical winter running items, so here’s my review of the must-haves from my gear closet.
Awkwardly small hat. We lose something like 245% of our body heat through our head (someone might want to fact-check that). I’ve found the best way to counteract that is to steal one of my husband’s random hats, which is just big enough to cover my hair & make my gender difficult to discern, and just small enough to not cover my ears, thus ensuring they’ll be frigid & my headphones will keep falling out.
Clown pants. Winter daylight hours are short, so I often run in the dark before dawn. To ensure that motorists can see me, I wear clownishly bright green sweatpants. They have the added benefit of being too long – so they catch under my heels – and so floppy that they introduce some pace-wrecking wind resistance.
His Hole-iness, the Hoodie. Remember how Homer shot “speed holes” in his car? I employ the same premise with my many-years-old hoodie, now riddled with holes. Sure, this makes it increasingly unhelpful in blocking the chill, but I need all the help I can get counteracting the slowing effect of those clown pants.
Ineffective gut warmer. Several of my backup sweatpants have shrunk nicely into highwaters with hip-hugger waistbands. As a result, the strip of skin below my belly button gets exposed to the elements, and turns an angry red that persists even after a hot shower. Thankfully, nearly every smallest-size race shirt I’ve ever received is actually a men’s Uber Large, so I’ve got plenty of flappy overhang that still doesn’t really insulate my gut.
I followed this guide when gearing up for runs in week 9 of ATX marathon training – another nearly-40-mile week with a 15-mile LR. The only thing I haven’t quite nailed seems to be traction, because the 6 inches of new snow put a major dent in my LR pace on Sunday (10:14/mile, when I aim for 8:50-9:50 and usually average 9:15-9:20). Sure, I could get shoes with adequate treads, but that wouldn’t really “go” with the rest of my ensemble, would it?