ATX Training: The Alternative Winter Gear Guide

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?

Scene from the week 9 LR


  1. This post is hilarious! I totally know what you mean about a) race shirts are all men’s large no matter what and b) that terrible red strip above the belly button.
    Here we go, Team Escapades!

  2. Daniel R. says:

    You might be interested to read this article about “Scientists debunk the myth that you lose most heat through your head”. Makes me think I should do a writeup about my winter bicycle commuting gear.

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