There's no getting around it: it's cold outside. So, what's a runner - who hates treadmills with a hot passion - to do?
Suck it up, gain some toughness points, wear the right gear, and go running anyway. Oh yeah, and share some tips with my fellow runners.
When I went out for my run tonight, the temperature was 9 degrees - with a wind chill factor of 10 below.
First, I put on a base layer:
My sports bra is Target's C9 (the official running outfitter of Betsy) and cost about $15. The tights are Asics Legato, which my brother got for me for my birthday. I believe they cost about $30. They are quite warm, and on most cold days are sufficient. The socks are by DeFeet, and I got them for free last February when I ran the Chili Chase. They're not the socks of my dreams, but they aren't bad.
Next, a long sleeved wicking shirt and a pair of fleece pants:
The shirt is by Asics and cost about $30. It is awesome. Besides being cute, see the little white holes in the sleeve? I can hook my thumb through there, which prevents a gap between my sleeve and my glove. How cool is that? The pants are by Under Armour and cost about $45. They are warm, comfy, and have a zippered pocket, plus they are roomy enough to wear the tights underneath if I need to.
We're still not dressed yet:
The vest is by the official running outfitter of Betsy, Target's C9. I probably paid about $20 for it, and at the time I really wasn't sure how much I would like it. Silly me - it is one of my favorite pieces of running clothing. It really helps me stay just that little extra bit warmer, it looks cute, and it has a ton of pockets. Then, we've got two pair of gloves, both of which I got for free from races. Yep, sometimes I wear both of them, and tonight was that kind of night. The blue thing? That's a Survivor buff that I got as a gift when I attended the finale party of Survivor: All-Stars. It's a handy little item that can be a headband, a tube top, pretty much anything. In the winter, I wear it around my neck, and when it's especially cold, pull it over my face. The only drawback is that eventually, the moisture from my breath gets it wet, but for shorter runs, it's nice to have. The hat is from the Des Moines Marathon, a great little souvenir that I believe was $10.
Speaking of race memorbilia...
I next put on my windbreaker, which is made by Brooks and has the Quad Cities Marathon logo on it. I paid $40 for it and I love it. It's lightweight, has plenty of pockets, and is, of course, red.
Finally, safety is important, and when it's dark and icy out, runners need to be extra careful:
My vest is by Jogalite, cost about $15, and is reflective. I always wear it when I run at night and am working to convince myself that it's so uncool that it actually turns the corner to be cool again. That really, unless I was a hardcore athlete, I would not own something so dorky. Play along with me. The little red thing is a clip-on light by Nathan. It was $8, and I wear it clipped to my hat to make me extra visible. Finally, attached to my shoes are Get a Grip Ice Joggers, which were $20 at Road Runner Sports. They are rubber, stretch over my shoes, and have small spikes in them to give a better grip on snow and ice. This was the first time I've used them, and I liked them a lot. I felt like my footing was a bit more sure, and they weren't obnoxious when I did run across a cleared area.
Altogether all of this gear set me back $233, which doesn't count my shoes themselves. On a cold winter night's run, I was comfortable and felt safe. $233 worth of running clothes isn't cheap, but it's a lot less expensive than a gym membership or a treadmill.
Best of all, running in the winter is a wonderful experience. First of all, anyone who sees you thinks that you are hardcore and is impressed by you, always a good thing. But better still, it's a beautiful and peaceful time to be out running. It's quiet, the snow sparkles, and there is no better way to see the Christmas lights in my neighborhood. Plus, you get to leave the house looking just this crazy: