If you are a runner, there is no reason to let the winter months stop your favorite workout. Sure it’s cold, often wet, often muddy, and darker in the mornings and evenings, but the winter run is all about equipping yourself with the right equipment. As the British writer and walker Alfred Wainwright famously said, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothes.”
Besides dark mornings (I am an early bird by nature, I prefer to leave doors early), I like to run in winter. There is nothing more exhilarating than going out at sunrise, while the world still feels asleep and there is no one but me and my dog on the wooded roads – it’s happiness. Admittedly, it’s harder to be motivated to throw it down completely, but the hardest part is getting out the door. When I’m there, as long as I wear a waterproof jacket and a baseball cap to keep the rain out of my eyes, I actually don’t mind the rain. In some ways it makes me feel even more awesome!
The cute people at Dare2B sent me some running clothes for me to try and so I compiled a kit list of several tried and tested old favorites as well as the running clothes that kept me up this winter.
1. Waterproof Jacket
One thing we are used to in this country is variable weather conditions. There is sun for a minute, then it rains, it greets, it snows when you name it, we get it all, and therefore a waterproof jacket is an absolute must for any experienced runner. Now, I have to admit that I tend to only wear black and dark colored clothing when I run (well that’s not super slimming!), But this is not really ideal at this time of year when the light is not very good. And so this The light reflective fluro yellow waterproof jacket is excellent in many ways – here you will definitely not miss me!
The jacket is probably the brightest color on the planet, as well as reflective embellishments in key areas to make you more visible in traffic. This garment technology is known as Bio Motion and works by highlighting areas that move the most – essentially you create your own blinking reflective light. On the back of the jacket there is also a fixture for attaching an LED light – they really thought of everything!
So what else is good about this jacket? Well …
- Can breathe
It also has:
- Multiple ventilation holes for air flow
- Large zippered pocket on the back
- A zippered chest pocket
- Quick-set neck grip to keep out the cold breeze.
I haven’t found a jacket that is completely waterproof and doesn’t make you sweat yet, but it really works in terms of visibility and giving a protective layer that isn’t too heavy.
You can have the brightest, most luminous reflective coat in the entire kingdom, but if you’re running in the dark, you should really consider getting yourself some light. It’s not just about your sight, it’s also to help you see – you’ll be surprised how many runners have been injured by getting caught in potholes, slipping on leaves, or falling off sidewalks just because the light is not good. There are several different options when it comes to lights and ultimately boils down to personal preference and whatever is most comfortable / least annoying for you.
I use a cross body light harness that has a front-facing light with two different intensity and flashing options, as well as a rear red light that can also be set to flash if you want. It can be charged via USB cable and has three lights installed to let you know when it’s fully charged. And after fully charged, roughly four evening runs, possibly more, I would say it could easily keep me going. The strap just fits over your shoulders and then clips onto your chest and can be adjusted for comfort. My only ethos with this is that once you put it on, it’s not the easiest to go up and down if you want to remove any layers in the medium term, but it’s a small price to pay for the benefits of this type of light.
Among other light options; head torches, beanie hats with built-in lights and of course you can always hold a small torch. It’s great to have a light over your head because it really makes you stand out and directs the light where you need it, but I personally bothered wearing one and it seemed to slide down forever. And similarly, holding a torch is great for directing the light where you need it, but it’s annoying to hold something while running. Like I said, this is personal preference.
Winter run everything about layers. You will be frozen when you first set out, so you will need lots of nice warm layers. And likewise, you will cool down very quickly afterwards and be very grateful for the extra warmth. However, as you increase the intensity during your run, you will be surprised how quickly you warm up, and you will want to throw these layers out as quickly and easily as possible.
I usually like to wear a long sleeve base layer underneath a shirt and then a zippered jacket on top. I prefer a zippered jacket rather than a hooded jacket because it’s easier to get off, especially if you’re wearing a hat. This merino The wool / polyester zipper jacket is a great example of what to wear as a middle layer. It is made of a really soft and flexible material which means it does not restrict movement, plus it hugs your body as it is very light when you need to take it off and tie it to your waist, and does not flutter whenever. you run Woolwic Plus panels also help to remove moisture from the skin so you don’t get the horrible sweaty moisture that can often occur when wearing layers.
The jacket also looks super stylish, which I am absolutely fond of. I know it’s not about how you look when you run – god, I mostly sport the beautiful beet root red sweaty face, but when you look good you feel good and it definitely gives me all the feelings. I also love a pocket and as a dog owner and as someone who runs an avec pooch, pockets are everything. I need a place to put my phone, poop bags, treats and a handkerchief (other people’s nose is constantly running at this time of the year!?!?), Pockets are a must for me. I’ve run with a belt to hide things like this before, but with the dog’s running harness getting wrapped around my waist, it might start to feel really bulky and I’m trying forever to be comfortable. So yes, pockets are important. This jacket has two neat sized zipper pockets that fit everything I need.
Under the jacket I was wearing this pink Dare2B wool T-shirt with a long sleeve top underneath. Now, the great thing about this shirt is that it is made from a blend of Merino wool and polyester, keeping you warm while also removing sweaty moisture, meaning you not only feel comfortable for longer, but also much less pongy. It also washes very well and dries very quickly.
There’s nothing worse than having cold hands, right? When your hands are too cold, you may barely feel your fingers, and if you’re in too long, it can start to really hurt. That’s why a good pair of gloves is an absolute must for running in cold weather in my opinion.
Now, of course you can wear a swamp standard pair of woolen gloves, but I’d rather wear sports gloves instead, and I’ll tell you why. First, they are not very hot. I know it sounds crazy considering that the whole purpose of wearing them is to keep your hands warm, but soon you’ll get hot and sweaty hands aren’t pretty at all. You want warmth, but you also want stretch and some kind of moisture absorbent element to them. It’s really helpful to have your phone on your fingertips allowing you to continue using it, so look for a couple with this feature.
5. Neck Gaiter
I recommend wearing a neck gaiter (sometimes called a buff, snood, or neck bandana) in winter, especially if you have short hair or tied your hair while running and your neck open.
I now have quite a variety of neck warmers, but this fluffy neck leggings from Dare2B definitely have one feature I love. Over time, I noticed that my neck warmers were hanging a little above my head where they were stretched. However, this one has a pretty sleek toggle that allows you to squeeze it straight down to fit snugly around your neck. The beauty of this is that it’s big enough to slide over your head without the risk of overstretching, and once set it keeps all those cold winter breezes out – great!
Lanyards also doubles as an emergency replacement mask, if you need a coffee, of course most of us do it 😉
6. Decent Shoes
9. Choosing a Good Hat
I can say I was wearing a hat 9 out of 10 when I ran. Now, mostly I’m not going to lie, hiding the condition of my hair – what can I say, I’m lazy and I just can’t see the meaning of wasting time to show my hair neat when I can bun it up and hide it under a hat.
Unless it’s too cold, I would wear a knitted beanie or bobble hat in this case, I tend to wear a baseball cap as I like my ponytail running through the space in the back. Another benefit of this style of hat is the peak, which is great at protecting your eyes from rain and snow and also allows it to shade you from the glare of the winter sun that comes early in the morning when you decide to create a look.
Hats are generally quite inexpensive and you definitely don’t need anything fancy, so it’s worth having a pick to choose from. Also, they might smell a little after a while, so it’s good to have a few spare parts handy when others are washed.
8.Good Quality Tights
There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of tights out there, so how do you know which ones are good for winter running and are there really that many differences between one tights and another?
Aside from what they look like, of course this is very important, if the temperature drops you can ask for more of your usual lycra. One option is to wear a base layer under your regular leggings, but I find this a little uncomfortable. An alternative is to buy a pair of thermal lined tights to keep those long legs warm and flushed while running. They still have flexible Lycra in them, but they give you an extra layer of warmth and stop that terribly cold yet hot itchy feeling that can happen sometimes when it’s really cold.
The only other thing I mentioned when it comes to leggings is that some designs come with reflective stripes or patterns and these are absolutely perfect to help you look better. You won’t even notice looking at them in daylight, so don’t worry about them looking weird, but when car headlights shine on them you will be lit up like Blackpool lights!
There’s no doubt that winter can be quite harsh at times, but that’s part of the adventure and I love it. The shirt list above gives you an idea of the basics you need to keep warm enough when you go for a run during the colder months. So go get yourself ready and get ready to experience your own winter running adventures.
* Dare2B products gifted for review