Running in Winter. A Guide from the #slowestrunnerever
Some of you know that during COVID, rather than lose my mind and start to drink to excess (well, I might have done that), I started running. I want to assure you all that by running I mean something just a little faster than a walk. I started slow, and I still am. My fastest mile time is 11:09. More often I am 11:30 and sometimes 12:10. But I finished a half marathon and then the NYC Marathon so there’s that.
Here’s the thing. It does not matter if you run fast, slow, or walk/run or skip and run. Whatever you do, keep doing it. I’ve become very comfortable being mediocre at running. And maybe you can learn to be too. Because it has a lot of benefits. It’s great for the mind, for the spirit, for your mood, for memory, for aging, and yes, for the body (seriously my legs and arms completely changed shape).
So if running is something you have started to do or want to start to do, get out there. Do a Couch to 5K, or download an app to help you get there, or just put on your favorite podcast or musical or whatever gets you going, and put one foot in front of the other. Run and walk, skip, jog, whatever. Tell me how you do.
Because I have become sort of a running addict (I know it’s annoying), one thing that I have learned to do is run in all weather, all year long. For summer that’s pretty easy—I just wear very little other than lots of sunscreen, and bring a water bottle. For winter it requires a bit more thought and some gear because it’s COLD.
Running in winter is definitely challenging at times, but it’s totally doable and really can be exhilarating when the sun is out (not great when it’s cold and gray, but still doable!) But it’s easier if you have some gear. So, if you’re thinking of giving it a go, here’s a list of my favorite gear to keep you as warm as possible.
Winter Running Essentials from the #Slowestrunnerever
You need to start with a snug fitting warm base layer. You can go for a merino one which is a great warm thin and moisture wicking fabric. I like this one from Tracksmith or this one or this one from Oiselle. Or if you don’t care for wool, you can do something like this one or this one from Oiselle (I love Oiselle, thanks to Hee Jin Kang for turning me on to this woman-owned brand.) I find these pieces to be a bit pricey but honestly with as much as I run, I find for me they are worth the price tag. But if you want something less expensive, look around at Baleaf, their stuff is great and really reasonably priced.
This goes over your base layer, it's a loser layer and it’s most likely something you have already — it can be a fleece or a sweatshirt.
On the coldest days when it’s gray and the wind is picking up, you want a wind breaker or shell of some sort to keep in the heat and keep out the elements. This can be a full jacket or a vest (you may have these already — really just any shell that is water and wind resistant to keep the elements out and heat in).
ON YOUR LEGS
Pants that are a bit warmer are also key. I like to choose leggings with side pockets for my phone and tissues or fuel. You don’t need to break the bank here, I love these from Baleaf. They are cheap and great. There’s lots of great high tech fabric out there too at higher price points. Check out the great stuff from Tracksmith.
Your head and hands.
Don’t forget your eyes. The sun causes some damage there. Get at least one pair of these amazing sunglasses from Goodr. They are the BEST and you will love them for everything. They are only $25 and light and don’t slip. I thought I’d just wear them for running but I just wear them always. Great for kiddos too.
Get a balaclava for the really cold and windy days. You will look like a bank robber but it’s okay we are all wearing masks so who cares.
Your feet can get COLD. I love smart wool running socks — they keep your feet WARM!
One more thing—Sunscreen and Lip Balm.
Yes you need this even in winter on your face. This one from Super Goop is my go to for running all year round. It’s slick, doesn’t run, and goes on with a nice glow. But get started running, and you will make your own glow.
Your lips can get chapped. I use this amazing balm Olio e Osso and it keeps them from getting all dry and cracked.
Lots of love,