Who says road and trail jogs are off limits just because it’s freezing out? Not us! In fact, we find winter to be one of the best times to break a sweat, and getting your miles in between December and March may even bring a few extra benefits. But, as with any exercise, along with the pros comes a few cons. In the case of winter fitness, it’s all about safety. Slick roads and sub-zero temps can put even the fittest runners in dangerous situations, but being armed with a few pieces of safety gear and some helpful information will help ensure that every stride you take is a safe one year-round.
Suiting up for a cold-weather jog may seem like a drag, but if you’re serious about getting in shape or maintaining your endurance, you definitely don’t want to overlook this as a potential tool to help you reach your fitness goals. There’s a reason why theNew York Times recently called cold workouts “the new hot yoga,” after all. Some of the benefits of winter running include:
Naturally, the apparel you sport in the winter should differ from the kind you sport in the summer. Obviously, it should be warmer and better at helping you regulate temperature, and it should help you tackle cold, slippery terrain better than your standard gear might. There are some other key features we’ll highlight below to help you stay safe and push yourself harder.
So without further ado… below is our list of the best winter running gear to help you master those freezing-cold jogs like a pro.
The kind of winter running shoes you choose should depend on the conditions you’re likely to face. Remember: Your kicks are your first line of defense against the harsh winter conditions, so you need to make sure they’re warm, stable and tough enough to keep you in the game even when it’s freezing and snowy out. Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most important features to look for in winter running shoes.
As previously mentioned, socks are clutch when you’re hitting the trail in frightful weather. Be sure to wear thick, preferably wool socks that wick away moisture and don’t leave your feet feeling sweaty. It’s important to take sock thickness into consideration when trying on winter running shoes. Make sure you have enough breathing room and socks don’t cause tightness.
No matter the time of year, runners who hit the trail solo should wear their medical alert bracelets every time they head out. These comfortable wearables ensure that your most crucial medical and personal information is well within reach should something go awry on the trail. It’s especially important to wear a running bracelet if you have a serious health condition, such as diabetes or allergies, or are non-verbal. Check out our extensive collection of medical alert bracelets offered at ROAD iD!
Your winter base layer and pants form the foundation of a warm running outfit! You know how far a good running tee and shorts can push you when it’s warm out, and the same goes for the chillier months. Be sure you start with a temperature-regulating base layer and pants made of a high-tech fabric that wicks away moisture to keep skin warm and dry. The key with both your top and bottom is to resist the urge to layer up too much because too many layers can lead to overheating. You’re still going to break a serious sweat, even when temps are frigid.
Your jacket is one of the most important pieces of winter running gear, especially if you tend to hit the trail when it’s extremely cold and windy out. But, the key here is to avoid adding too much bulk to the picture, as that will only slow you down and cause you to get too hot. Thin waterproof jackets with lightweight insulation are the best choice because they keep you toasty when you need them but can also be tied around your waist when you’re a couple miles in and need to cool down. Choose a style with a high neck, a hood and a wind guard so you don’t need to wear a scarf.
The same principles used to choose your winter running jacket should be applied to choosing your hat and gloves — keep it lightweight, waterproof and versatile. The last thing you’d want is for your extra gear to slow you down or impede you from pushing yourself to your limit. Look for a pair that’s made from high-performance technical fabrics that resist moisture. For most modern runners, touch-screen fingertip gloves are a must so you can easily set up your music and log your route before you hit the trail.
Your furry friend makes a great running companion year-round, and a little jogging does you both good. But Fido is just as susceptible to slips, falls and frostbite as you are, so you need to make sure you set him up for success. Paw protection is vital when it’s snowy and icy out — and the salt on the roads can do serious damage — so try to get your pup to wear booties. If he won’t stand for it, try a topical barrier wax like Musher’s Secret. Also, because the colder weather can impede the trail and bring exciting new smells, make sure your dogs have up-to-date pet ID tags before you head out. Even the most trustworthy dogs may let their noses get the best of them on a wintry day!
Gear is a massive consideration when strategizing your winter runs, but it’s not the whole story. There are a few important things you need to think through, ensuring that you stay safe and toasty while you crush your personal best. Here are some important things to consider.
Since there are so many great benefits to hitting the trail when it’s cold out, there’s no reason not to lace up your sneakers and get a few miles in, even if it’s snowing. But like any activity, winter running has some risks, so just make sure you know them and prepare for them before you head out! This guide will help ensure that you stay safe and have fun when you run all year long.Get Your Runner ID Today!