Running in the sunny rays of summer can be tough — humidity and heat are not our best friends — so by the time fall rolls around, we’re hitting our stride and competing in major qualifying races, or simply just enjoying a five or 10 kilometre run with ease. That is, until we go into full-on hibernation mode for the winter.
While it may seem enticing to throw in the proverbial running towel and hit the gym or the pool when the temperatures dip below zero, you don’t have to forego running altogether just because it’s blistery out. In fact, exposure to full-spectrum light is so beneficial during the dark months of winter. “Cold weather is not an excuse to not get out the door for your run,” Dr. Brittany Moran, a chiropractor and Nike+ Run Club Toronto coach, says. “If the conditions are bad and it is unsafe due to snow or ice that is a different story. But straight up cold just takes dressing correctly for it.”
Moran recommends a few ways to layer, but also a few ways to still get those miles in — like keeping it slow at the beginning of your run to let your muscles warm up gradually, maintaining a bit of a wider stance, especially when running around corners, and sticking to well-maintained sidewalks during your route.
When it comes to what to throw on to keep from getting too cold, Moran is a big fan of a warm under-layer plus wind protection, because the windchill factor is what usually gets us. She also recommends proper footwear, to help keep your feet from getting wet, and to help keep you steady on said feet, which will prevent injuries. And don’t forget about your sports bra. If you have a bra that stays wet while you sweat, it will keep you cold while you’re outdoors. “People usually say in the winter to add 10 degrees to whatever the temperature says and then dress for that,” Moran recommends.
A jersey fleece blend, these gloves are made for running — they’re warm while they also let you flip through songs or track your progress on your running app without having to take them off. Bonus, they have a reflective strip, so you’ll be seen if you’re running before the sun comes up or goes down.
Ultimate Touch-Tech Glove, $34.99, saucony.ca
Neck in check
Running with a scarf can be quite uncomfortable — ie. tugging and flapping around. Enter the neck tube. The shape helps to keep cold air out while the drawstring keeps your layer comfortably in place.
Unisex Thermal Tube Neck, $30, asics.com
Nike paired a water repellent upper with a grip-focussed rubber outsole, in a lightweight shoe that’s made to keep your feet dry while you navigate the slushy streets without slipping. Runners will also appreciate that the shorter laces mean you don’t have to grapple with tying or untying sopping wet strings post run.
Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 Shield Water-Repellent Running Shoe, $165, nike.com
The long game
If you’re going to make a major investment in your cold weather running gear, this is it. Breathable but sweat wicking, a long tee like this one from Adidas is one of the most important layers to add to your ensemble because it keeps your torso warm while keeping wetness at bay, which is the instant cold weather motivational killer. And the sleek design from Stella McCartney means the insulated wool piece is stylish and functional.
Adidas by Stella McCartney Run Ultra Climaheat Tee, $250, adidas.ca
Made with a tech fleece fabric that offers four way stretch and sweat-wicking, these cold weather running tights from Lululemon have a high waist, ankle zips to make it easier to get in and out of them, as well as multiple pockets to hold your running essentials like your keys and your smart phone.
Keep the Fleece Tight 28″, $128, lululemon.com
The right fit
With it’s high collar, motorcycle-inspired shape and water resistant sleeves, this puffer coat from RYU (which stands for Respect Your Universe), has a modern matte finish and will work to keep you warm on its own or under a wind protective shell depending on how cold it really gets.
Women’s Fairing Jacket, $195, shop.ryu.ca
Toe the line
A blend of merino wool, Nylon and Elastine, these socks from Smartwool stretch up to meet you tights for added warmth around the ankle, while they keep your toes toasty as well.
Warm me up
Insulated with Thermaglow Lite, this vest from Canadian brand Lolë is great for those randomly warmer winter days when paired with a long sleeve, or under a shell for added protection against the colder climes.
Ivy Vest, $139, lolelife.com
The Knixwear team put three years of research into their high intensity sports bra, and for good reason. The Canadian brand wanted to create a sports bra that was for women, by women and that made getting in and out of it way easier than most bras in the category. And all of the brand’s items are made with moisture-wicking materials, so you know this bra will help keep you dry, and hence a bit warmer, even when it’s -15 with the windchill.
Catalyst Sports Bra, $98, knixwear.ca
Make a 90s statement with a knit hat that will keep your tête nice and toasty while it helps keep you visible while you run with its bold black and white graphic logo.
Reebok Classics Lost and Found Beanie, $30, reebok.ca
The aforementioned shell is clearly a must-have. This version from Nike is wind and water resistant, has ventilation areas where we heat up the most, has a flap to cover the posterior and reflective details for runners who like to hit the ground at all hours.
Shield Jacket in Gunmetal, $158, nike.com
More Info: cbc.ca