Running during the winter months is bracing in the best sense of the word and can also help you feel warmer at home. A big plus I experience with my winter running is that I feel warm for hours after the fact, even as my partner sits next to me in a heavy jumper and asking whether we can turn the heating up again.
But obviously I need a slightly different kit to stay active during the winter months so here are some essentials I’d recommend.
Replacing What You Need To
With the start of a new year it’s a great time to assess the quality of your kit and see if you could do with replacing anything. This is especially true for items that experience a lot of stress, like your trainers or (in the case of women) sports bras. Most sources recommend that sports bras be replaced every six months if they’re being worn regularly, including the Portsmouth research group for breast health. Their work recently included an assessment of Freya sports bras, a huge study that offered advice to the brand. The company recently won sports bra of the year 2014 so consider Freya active if you’re looking for a new sports bra.
If you’re looking for some new running trainers than Matt has done some excellent reviews to help inspire your choice. If your trainers seem in good nick then make sure to check the laces. They’re under the most strain, holding your shoes closed as you run, and they may be a bit worse for wear. To avoid issues like your laces snapping whilst you’re out, purchase a new set now before you’re faced with an annoyance midway through your run.
Breathable Clothing, Especially Socks
We all want to sweat on our workouts but this can cause discomfort, especially in cold weather where the excess moisture can quickly change temperature against your skin. A base layer can help, something form-fitting that will absorb sweat but won’t cause chafing or discomfort. This also means that you can add a layer or two on top to ensure your warmth. Men’s fitness offers a brief rundown that details essential clothing elements during winter running here. We’ve had an incredibly mild winter this year but you should still experiment with layers and especially under layers to find a balance that works for you.
An issue that you may find is that, if you’re working out in thick socks that cause your feet to sweat, you might find that they might have an increased odor. In some cases you might even find that you develop a common health condition: Athletes foot. This itchy, red rash appears between toes and can be helped with over-the-counter treatments. But if they don’t lead to any improvement then consider visiting your GP. In the meantime, ensure that your socks aren’t too thick. Whilst you may need winter socks for sitting in an office, switch them for thinner socks when you’re about to go running. If you’re doing it right, you simply won’t need them. Some people even recommend getting toe socks to avoid sweat collecting in the crevices between your toes.
Visible Clothing or Additional Lights
It’ll be a few more months before those of us who work full-time can enjoy a run during daylight. I never get home before six, so I’ve been running in the dark for a few months. I’m also aware of how difficult it can be for drivers to adequately see joggers unless measures are taken. If you want to wear dark trousers or a dark top then offset it with something else that’s bright and colourful, preferably luminous. Many sources advise running with a reflective vest and additional gear to improve visibility. And, if you happen to be running along a road, make sure you’re running in the opposite direction as traffic. This increases how visible you are to drivers.
What’s recommended by many runners is that you get yourself an external light of some kind. Not only will this potentially make you feel more secure about where your next footstep will land but you can also attach a variety of different lights. A small flashing clip-on shouldn’t bother you but can dramatically increase the distance where a potential vehicle will be made aware of you. A few joggers I know opt for headlamps but make sure that you’re not choosing something that could potentially dazzle other pedestrians and drivers.
So, that’s a full run-down of the essentials I think you’ll be needing during this winter season.