Thursday, January 15, 2015

Winter Running Essentials

Moving from Southern California to Lake Tahoe nearly eight years ago was an adjustment. I quickly learned how to train outside during the winter. Today between November and April I split up runs between the treadmill and outside. My rule of thumb -- if the snow is flying it's a treadmill day. Let's be honest I'm probably snowboarding instead.

Today I'm sharing what I look for when buying winter running gear. Plus, a few of my favorite pieces.

1. A good pair of shoes. If you don't like your shoes then you probably wont last long. The Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra CS WP Trail Running Shoe is a great place to start. There are a few key components that make these great for running on snowy/wet trails/roads:

  • ClimaShield membrane -- waterproof and breathable. Ideal balance of weather protection and breathability.
  • Molded EVA, EVA shaped footbeds, and Ortholite technology supply solid comfort, support, and cushioning while you push it on the trail. Solid traction on uneven and sketchy terrain.
  • Protective rubber toe caps, mud guards, and gusseted tongues protect your feet from trail debris.
Along with shoes you'll want a nice pair of warm socks. I personally like Smartwool and own a variety for different activities i.e., snowboarding, walking the dog, snowshoeing, etc. Please note I'm not a fan or advocate of running on ice. Trust me your knees will thank you later.

2. Cold weather tights. Sorry normal running tights wouldn't cut it. Remember I said I'm in the mountains. Which means it's probably 30-40 degrees or colder outside. I tend to gravitate towards The North Face, but love these Patagonia tights. This is a personal preference because of fit, but you can't go wrong with any winter running tight from The North Face, Under Armour or Patagonia. I suggest trying on a few pairs.

3. A warm jacket that isn't bulky. You'll want a few jackets for different temps and distances. This season I bought the The North Face Women's Animagi Jacket. So far so good. When buying a winter running jacket I always look for something lightweight, breathable and wind proof. Tip: wind chill can drop the temp by 10 degrees sometimes!

4. Don't skip on layers. One layer is typically good. The North Face, Patagonia and Under Armour are my go to layers for winter running. Look for layers that are form fitting, moister wicking and breathable.

5. Accessories. Think gloves, headband, ear warmers, beanie or neck gator (optional). Depending on the person and distance you many not wear these items the entire run, but trust me you'll want them. The ear band is your best option. It will keep your ears warm without overheating.

Although gear options are endless the key is finding pieces that work well for you, your climate and budget. These are just a few items that I couldn't live without during the winter. Over the years I've bought off and name brand running gear and have found it's worth spending a little more on gear. They just seem to last longer as well as fit and perform better.

Happy Running.

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