Running in winter? Running in the cold? Focus on equipment!

Running in winter? Running in the cold? Focus on equipment!

Some running tips for running well in winter today. Because running in the cold is not as complicated as you might think! And it is an imperative for anyone who wants to improve in running. Running is a sport where regularity is part of the fundamentals of progression. Running in winter is therefore not an option. Winter must therefore be an integral part of the sporting season. Let's be clear, it's not necessarily the most pleasant season to run at the base! But since we have to get used to it, I'll show you that by following a few rules, we can forget the cold and enjoy running, even with negative temperatures!

How can you run in the cold?

That is the heart of the matter. You can run in almost any condition if you have running equipment adapted to the conditions you will encounter. The proof is that I have lived in Quebec for 3 years and if the winters are harsh... I didn't stop running last winter, far from it. If my intense sessions are regularly done on treadmills, running in the cold does not scare me for the whole development part of fundamental endurance. I even have a lot of fun in the end and I've been breaking my personal records in Spring for several years!
 
Think about strategic areas to run in the cold

Once the feeling of cold is installed, it is difficult to get rid of it and the winter running outing can become unpleasant. Did you know that cold first affects the extremities? The cold reduces the blood flow to the extremities to favour the "more important" parts of the body. And since it is the blood flow that heats the extremities... You see the vicious circle? It is better to protect them at all costs, it will solve many problems with the cold and make running in winter much easier! (PS: All that appears in orange are links to the products I'm talking about)
 
The head
The heat loss is mainly done by the head (about 30% of the total heat loss!) so in winter it is mandatory to wear a headband or hat! The Odlo, WindStopper and water-repellent headband is a very good choice. A cap version is also interesting when the thermometer goes well below zero degrees. And to prevent air infiltration, a neck strap is the perfect accessory to finish keeping your body warm! The Buff brand has always made it its speciality and they are devilishly effective. You can find them here.
 
The hands
Having your hands frozen while running is one of those really unpleasant things. And once the hands are cold, it's usually a pain for the rest of the outing... So having gloves, and good ones, is a must. Personally, I never part with my Gore Gloves. But the ones I like best of all when it's very cold are the Raidlight muffles. Ideal to have an extra layer and to properly isolate from the outside air in case of more cold, it is a must to have!
 
The feet
Don't forget the feet, a good pair of socks can sometimes save you trouble! Again, there are basics that can avoid problems. Personally, it's not at my feet that I'm the coldest when running. But when it's really very cold, a good pair of socks makes the difference. X-socks Winter Run socks are for example very effective! They are made of merino wool, a material that no longer has to prove itself when it comes to running in the cold!
 
Another good option for your feet when you have to run in the snow or slush, a pair of Gore-Tex trail shoes type Salomon Speedcross GTX is in order! But if you run mainly on the road, you may not want to use a pair of trail shoes. In this case, the best option you have is to look at the road shoes with "winter membrane". The membrane protects against rain but also and especially against the wind which cools the feet in less than two in classic shoes with very fine mesh! Take a look at the Nike "Shield" models, for example, which are perfect for this.

Running in winter with the three-layer technique

OK you now have the basics to avoid stupidly losing your body heat. But the rest of the body must of course also be at the heart of your attention to be able to run in winter while enjoying it. And for the body, the equipment for running in the cold is based on the three-layer technique.

Why three layers and not two? Because with three layers, we have two "buffer" zones between the layers of clothing that will isolate the body from the cold air. These buffer zones will contain air that you will have heated with your effort. And as with windows, air is one of the best insulators there is. So wearing three layers is a bit like wearing a triple glazed window on yourself!
 
First layer: Second skin clothing
We will look here for a tight technical garment to keep the heat as close as possible to the body. When it is slightly cold, you can opt for a classic, multi-season second skin like Kalenji's Kiprun Cardio t-shirt or the Nike Dri-Fit Knit that you can find here. When the cold is more intense, a Mizuno Breath Thermo is more appropriate. It is made to create warmth through movement (Mizuno women's models is here).
 
Second layer: Insulating clothing
Here, logic would have it that I tell you to choose an insulating garment like the Craft jacket, which I am wearing in the picture above. I won't do anything about it. As much as I find that we can all find ourselves in the choice of a first layer, it is much more complex for them. Not being very cold, I often settle for a breathable T-shirt (like a Running Addict T-shirt) that I use as a first layer in Spring.
 
Some will rather need a second layer lined with fleece for a significant thermal effect like this Gore Mythos 2.0 (female model here). Everyone is different, each region has different climatic conditions, let's not try to fit into a mold, let's choose what best suits our needs!
 
Third layer: Protective jacket
To fight the elements, if you don't want to stop running at the slightest bad day... Because running in winter is often accompanied by rain or snow, the ideal is to have a waterproof jacket. These jackets also cut off the wind so you'll be protected on this side. It is often an investment but clearly when you run in winter you quickly realize that it is profitable to enjoy running. You can find the jackets I was able to test here.

Adapt your outfit to the weather conditions!

Running in winter means knowing the weather all the time and anticipating any change of situation... And also knowing yourself! Because we're all different in how we react to the cold. Some run dressed as Eskimos and cold... others run in shorts all winter even in Quebec (if, if I assure you, we have one like that!).
 
The technique of the three layers I give above is therefore to be adapted. Do some tests and you will see what works best for you. If it's not that cold, don't go with three layers. For example, only apply the first and second layer. Or the first and third layer if it rains or is windy.
 
Are the conditions terrible? The three-layer technique can be transformed into what is called the onion technique. By adding additional intermediate layers to further isolate your body from the outside air. A jogger is never short of a solution when it comes to running in winter or not! 

What about the bottom?

Concerning the equipment for the lower body, I am quite minimalist as long as the temperatures are not extreme. It is not usually the legs that are the coldest when running. My all-season tights like the Skins A400 also do a good part of my shopping in winter.
 
But when the wind rises and drastically reduces the feeling, I like to counter this effect with a good windstopper tights. With a specific material on the thighs in particular to prevent the wind from blowing through the fabric of the pantyhose, it's very pleasant! Almost all brands in the background, you will necessarily find your happiness by looking here.
 

Running in winter yes, but well equipped

It's time to conclude and you say to yourself, that's a hell of a budget! Yes, it's clear. However, on this subject, I think we are not only in Running Business. We are talking about something useful, even essential for those who want to run in the cold or run in winter in Quebec like me.
 
Don't necessarily buy all this year, I have equipped myself over the years with practices! But if you have to give yourself a gift or two for Christmas... You know which side to send to look at your husband or wife. And then you'll think of me when you're running this winter in -4 degrees... Smile at the colleague who's not as well equipped as you are and struggling while you enjoy the winter landscape!

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