Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My single digit wardrobe

I have had a few people ask me recently what I wear when I run outside this time of year.

I live in Western Wyoming in the Rocky Mountains. We are at over 6200ft elevation, and snow is guaranteed from November through April, highly likely in October and May, and quite possible the other months in between. (Not kidding... I've seen snow in July and August).

I like to run outside whenever I can. This time of year, I do my speed/interval work on the treadmill (since our only tracks are outdoors and covered in snow and ice), and I do at least a couple of my easier paced runs outside each week. 

Here I am, ready to go this morning
This week the temps have been in the single digits on my morning runs (I have been going at about 7:30am). This morning my friend drove by while I was running. She slowed down, rolled down the window, and informed me that it was -2 F. My phone said it was 8 F. Either way, it was cold.  I did six miles at an average pace and honestly, I was perfectly comfortable on my run.  Wearing the right clothes made all the difference.

So what do I wear to run outside in the cold?

My MOST favorite article of winter running gear is my Brooks Softshell Utopia jacket.
I have it in Cobalt and I wear it for all my cold weather runs. This jacket is SUPER warm, but very light weight and comfortable. (And it has thumb holes. I adore thumb holes). In the days I have run in rain and snow it has kept me nice and dry too. This is my one, must have, piece of winter running gear. (And I have washed it countless times and it still looks brand new).

Under my Brooks Utopia jacket, I just need one layer, so I wear one of my long-sleeved running tops.

On bottom, it depends on how far I am going and how cold it is. If it is single digits, I usually go with a base-layer of thin tights, and then my Brooks Glycerin Pants. If it is double digits then I usually go with just a thicker pair of compression tights or my Brooks pants. I haven't gotten new running pants in quite a while and I have my eye on these babies.

On my head I wear my Brooks Infinity beanie.  It is nice and warm without being TOO warm and fits perfectly. The fleece part around the ears and forehead feels great and there is a pony tail hole for people with enough hair to make a pony tail.  I love this hat. (And this is another thing I have washed over and over and over and it still looks new).
And my gloves are Brooks too... the awesome Brooks Adapt gloves. These have a great flap that goes around your fingers for an extra layer of warmth and wind/wet protection, but can fold back if your hands get too toasty. They are comfortable and WARM (which is what I need because cold hands are miserable). They are also MP3 compatible. Perfect!

I wear a good pair of socks and my usual Brooks PureFlow's. (You can read my very detailed review of the PureFlow's here.)
I know a lot of people use Yak Trax and other similar things to run in the winter, but I don't. I feel like they change my gait, and since I am marathon training, I don't want to mess with that. I find the traction with my PureFlow's to be just fine though. I try to avoid running on ice, but have had no problems in fresh snow, packed snow, and icy patches. This morning there was quite a bit of ice and I had no problems at all. The traction has been good and my feet have stayed warm, dry, and happy.

I think runners tend to need less clothing than they think they do for running outside in the winter, especially if you have a few good pieces of winter running gear (like a great jacket). Once you get moving you will warm up, and as long as your hands and head are covered, the rest of you will probably be just fine.
my Brooks gear is reflective which I love!

Someone asked me about breathing in the cold. I just breathe normally. The cold air doesn't bother my throat or lungs (and is not bad for you) and it usually feels really good to be outside and breathing fresh air (even if it is COLD). If it is really cold and I am going to be out for a longer run, I sometimes wear a Buff around my neck that I can pull up over part of my face if needs be, but I rarely feel the need for it (and rarely use it when I do wear it) and if it is THAT cold, I take the run indoors.

Those are my tips on winter running! Get a few good pieces of winter running gear, cover hands and head, try to avoid ice, go on a day when pace doesn't matter as much, don't over-think it, and have fun! I can't say how much I love going out on a cold morning when the snow is sparkling and the sun is coming up. I would take a cold, winter's morning run over a hot, summer afternoon run ANY DAY.

Do you run in the cold? What is your winter running "must have"?


fancy nancy said...

Ok if you can run in those temps then I have NO excuse!!! I actually prefer to run in the cold than the heat. You're right. It is all about getting gear for the weather! I feel so much healthier when I get out there in the fresh air!

Christie said...

I have the Brooks Jacket as well and LOVE it. It is so nice that it keeps you warm; but is still light weight enough that you can run. :)

Teamarcia said...

I run outside year round and much of my winter training is done sub zero.
I do switch to a trail shoe for snow/ice and because the wind whistles thru my usual shoes.
My best advice is, even if it's too cold to do your whole run outside, get out for even half of it and do the rest on the mill. The character you build on tough training days will pay off in spades on race day.

kaitwatts said...

I live in Wyoming as well and train for half and full marathons through the winter. Wind chill is a big factor of temp here. But, my rules for running outside with no excuse are-if it is 20 deg-run. If the wind is less than 30 mph-run. Your -2/8 makes me feel lame. Good Work!

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

I don't mind outside running in the winter. It's all the years of Catholic school and wearing my skirt in subzero weather have made me used to the temps. But I worry about losing my traction and wiping out. because that would be my luck!

Becky said...

I have my running tights that are made for cold weather temps, and I also have a nike thermal top with long sleeves (and thumb holes!) that I can't do without. I also wear gloves and a headwrap that covers my ears. I love cold weather running! The only issue I have with it is after I'm done running, I get freezing cold and can't warm up! I have to take a bath to get my temperature back to normal! So weird.

Lacey Sue said...

I love my nike body armor and I don't run outside without it below 20F. I use some insulated gloves and a snowboarding beanie that work just fine to keep my head and hands warm. I wear compression socks in the cold- it helps for some reason- to keep my tootsie's and legs that much warmer. I have a wind breaker running jacket that I also wear if it's SNOWING while I'm running.
I think you look very stylish ;)! Happy winter running!

misszippy said...

I totally agree that people tend to overdress in the colder temps. I was reading through your list and shaking my head yes! That's about how I'd do it for those temperature ranges too. I LOVE the look of that jacket, btw.

Hey--I was chatting up my friends about Top of Utah the other day and one brought up a good question--is it at elevation? Can you email me that info? Thanks!

christa said...

I struggle with overdressing in the cold here in VT. I'm totally eying your jacket. It might be just what i want.

Penny said...

I must have a hat and glove. However I bought a Brooks jacket last year and love it. It is light weight and keep the sweat away from my body. I do run in the winter. I confess when it's cold out and my running partner is not running for some reason,I probably going to hit the treadmill. Hate to run in cold weather by myself.

Love all your tip

Terzah said...

I needed this post. I was definitely doing something wrong this a.m. because it wasn't as cold here as it was for you, and there was no wind, but I was FREEZING my whole track workout. It's the first time I've felt really uncomfortably cold running outside this year. (Normally I'm SO with you on the fresh air, and I MUCH prefer cold to hot.)

I may have to go the route you suggest and starting taking all my faster workouts inside when it's below 20 or so. Sounds like that works for you, which makes me less nervous about it. I'm always worried about the treadmill calibration factor you mentioned in another recent post, and I have no control over that since the 'mills I use are all at the rec center.

giraffy said...

First, I am 100% grateful that I do not need to contend with snow, ice, or extreme cold!

Second, your point about the cold air is interesting - my 12yr old ran a 5K on Saturday, and it was in the 40's (cold for us!), and she said the cold air bothered her... and in fact, she ran 3+ minutes slower than her last 5K in October. I guess it's just what you're used to!

Michele @nycrunningmama said...

Loved this post! Makes me feel like I have no excuse when I complain that it's 20-30 degrees out!
Great info on what you wore! I'm loving those gloves - I was just telling my hubby this AM that I need new gloves b/c I came back from a 5-miler with frozen fingers!

KimAmburn said...

Thank you! I have been researching cold weather gear since I hate the treadmill. I will definitely try these out!

Kevin said...

Oh, wow.. that's real snow in that picture. We don't get that stuff here in Texas. You'd feel like you were in a sauna running when we think its "cold" at 30 degrees. Gah!!!

Lisa said...

Brrr! That looks cold! Although I have to say, I'm a little bummed to be injured and unable to run right now cause I actually like bundling up for a chilly run!

Be careful out there on the ice!

Jessica Washburn said...

I had no idea there were running shoes for snow. I'm from Utah but moved to AZ in 2000, I'm trying to get used to the rain this week...all I know is heat. :) Lol.

jackie said...

Thank you so much for all your info...i just added lots of goodies to my cart. I live in indiana...and it tends to get very cold over here.

Katie @ Will Race for Carbs said...

Okay, snow during every single month? That is even worse than Colorado! Thanks for giving us your picks. I am going to have to get one of those jackets. I do actually like to run in the cold. I don't think it messes with my lungs and I love not overheating!