Like it or not, winter is just around the corner. Our friends in higher elevations will tell you that snow has already arrived and the days are getting shorter by the minute. If you plan to actively train outside this winter, make sure you're prepared with the essentials and throw in a special treat for yourself too. Why not?
The Right Layers
It may be cold outside, but you'll still work up a sweat if you exercise outdoors. In cold temperatures, it is important to stay dry, so you will want to wear a moisture-wicking base layer against your skin. Wool is a great natural moisture-wicking fiber and there are also tons of synthetic fabrics that are moisture-wicking. Choose an option like this first.
After your base layer, you'll want something to keep you warm. This insulation layer is more important as the temperature drops. Something like a basic long sleeve t-shirt, a light fleece, or a lightweight down jacket can do the trick. You know your body better than we do. As a last layer, you may want something that is water or wind resistant if your insulating layer doesn't provide this. You'll be happy to have the extra protection if snow or sleet starts to fall.
If you plan to stay in your neighborhood, you can probably get by with your regular running shoes. An added toe warmer might be nice on those extra chilly days. But, if your roads tend to be icy or you want to hit a few trails this winter, we recommend investing in a quality winter running shoe. La Sportiva just announced their new winter shoe, the Cyklon Cross, and it has all the practical features you would want in a winter shoe.
The Cyklon Cross is designed for off-road training and competition during the winter months. A GORE-TEX membrane works alongside a water-repellent gaiter to prevent mud and snow from getting your toes wet. The last thing you want is wet feet when temperatures are close to or below freezing.
The FriXion® outsole is ultra-grippy to enhance traction on snowy and icy terrains. The outsole is also designed to fit AT Grips studs for added grip.
La Sportiva designed the shoe using the BOA® Fit System lacing system to ensure a snug fit at all times. The BOA Fit System allows runners to "dial" the laces tighter or looser as needed. Check out the video below to see it in action.
Don't forget to top things off with accessories like a hat, ear muffs, gloves or mittens, and a buff. The buff is a great all purpose accessory because it can be used as ear muff, for extra warmth around your neck, or pulled up over your nose to keep the chill off your face.
Some runners also like to add hot hands and toe warmers for especially cold days.
Finally, if running in low-light hours, we recommend lights and reflective gear to help you see and so that others can see you.
Have a Plan
Running outdoors in freezing temperatures is riskier than your normal springtime training. Sure, if you plan to stick to your neighborhood block, you probably don't have much to worry about. But, if you are planning a long run on icy winter trails, you should take some extra safety precautions.
- Tell someone where you'll be and let them know when you expect to return home.
- Plan "smart" routes. Winter weather can change quickly. It's in your best interest to plan your routes so that you can return home early if needed. Try to plan routes that will allow you to cut a run short if weather gets bad.
- Don't go "all in" at once. If you're new to winter running, don't make your first run an intense one. Run somewhere familiar and run where you can easily get back indoors or to your car if needed.
- An extra layer is better than too few layers. If you realize that you've over-dressed, it is easy to remove a layer and tie it around your waist. It's impossible to fashion an extra shirt out of slush and mud. Don't be ill-prepared.