How To Get Psyched For Winter Running
The gear (and a hot tip!) that will help you get outdoors when you’d rather stay inside
By Alison Kotch
If you’re the type of runner who thought they’d never want to run outside–but started doing it during the dark, cold days of COVID quarantine–join the club! Running outside in cold temps definitely takes some getting used to, and, like many city-dwellers, I used to hate it. Sure, I made myself do a few loops of Prospect Park when following a training schedule for an upcoming race, but otherwise? You could find me on the treadmill at Blink, NYSC or the Y, watching the numbers tick down on the display, music pounding in my earbuds.
Before that, I didn’t used to be the type of person who ran outdoors, period. But after hanging out with runners who enjoy this type of thing on the regular, I can’t imagine not getting outside for some fresh air when it’s cold (and sometimes when it’s snowy) during the colder months. That’s because running outdoors in winter is an awesome, invigorating way to stay in shape, even when you’re not training for a goal race or logging high mileage.
We might be in the final days of a season that’s one of the darkest, snowiest we’ve had in a while, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to motivate. BRC has some great gear that will help you get your booty outdoors while the temps (and life!) still seems unbearably harsh, cold, and unbearable. Here are some of my top picks.
Invest In A Great Pair Of Shoes
Seriously! The right pair of kicks is one of the only things you need to get outdoors, but doing it in the wrong pair can make for a really uncomfortable experience. I didn’t know anything about Hokas before I started working in running specialty retail, but can tell you that they are now my jam. I’m a neutral runner, so am currently rocking the Clifton 7 on mornings when I would rather do anything but get outdoors. Though my intro to the brand was with the Bondi, the next-step up in terms of plushness, Hoka’s signature midsole is softer than any brand I’ve tried, and the Clifton gets it right in terms of comfort and weight/on-road efficiency.
One caveat: These aren’t ideal on super icy roads–I’ve almost lost my footing several times on patches of ice during my morning runs–but as long as you’re cool with slowing down when you encounter those, you’ll love ‘em.
Keep Your Feet (Extra) Warm
A pair of merino wool socks can mean the difference between a run you bail on and one you continue. So why make yourself uncomfortable if you don’t have to? We have several options to make sure your feet stay toasty when you’re on the road. Two great options: Smartwool’s PhD Run Ultra Light No-Show socks, and Feetures’ Merino 10. The latter features targeted arch compression that prevents fatigue; both wick moisture away to keep you dry and comfortable.
Invest In The Right Jacket
Aside from the all-important base layer, which wicks moisture from your core to keep you dry, warm and comfortable, even if you’re only heading outdoors for a hot second, you’ll also want a jacket that will protect you from all the elements (rain, snow, ice and–every winter runner’s ultimate nemesis–wind!) The Gore-Tex Infinium jacket is the warmest, most versatile jacket I’ve tried to date. A pocket in the back is perfect for gels and big enough for your phone with minimal bounce, and the hood has a nice brim that keeps precipitation off of your face, even if you’re just running out to grab breakfast. It also folds up into a compact pouch, perfect if you’re stashing it in a backpack or carry-on.
Protect Your Hands–And Head!
One reason I hate running outdoors when it’s super cold is because I have awful circulation: My hands literally become numb when the temps dip below 20 or 30 degrees, making it difficult to concentrate on anything but getting back indoors, ASAP. Aside from investing in a great pair of gloves (and maybe adding a pair of Hot Hands when it’s truly cold), covering your head is the most important thing to do to keep the rest of your body toasty.
Think Of A Post-Run Reward
Though I’ve been known to log high mileage when training for a race, this winter has me hibernating indoors, eager for the thaw of spring and summer. Aside from laying out my gear the night before so I don’t have to think about it when I wake up, one way I coax myself out of bed when I’d rather sleep in is to think of something enjoyable that’s waiting for me when I get home. Whether that’s an indulgent breakfast, a warm shower followed by a lounge in sweatpants, or a mani/pedi that I don’t do myself, I envision myself doing that instead of physically running. That’s usually enough to get me out the door–and then I can enjoy the rest of the day, guilt-free.
More crappy weather is in store for us this weekend, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting some exercise so you feel fresh for spring workouts. Visit us for the gear that will get you there comfortably and in-style (even when you’d rather be indoors!)