Cold Weather Gear Predicament

Posted: 18th November 2013 by mockjogger in Equipment
Tags: , ,

It is not winter yet, officially. But here in Edinburgh, it certainly feels like it.

When I think about it, I have not done winter running before. When I started running again in 2012, I conveniently stopped in September, tried to start again in January (and thought, that’s cold, let’s wait a while) and really got going again when Spring was in the air.

Perhaps because of my inexperience (or it may just be stupidity) I am struggling with the right gear selection for running, and am oscillating between two patterns:

keep-calm-and-man-up-43 It is cold outside. But I am thinking I will warm up in no time and I don’t want to look silly running in a parka. So, in hi-vis T-shirt and shorts, I start by standing around freezing to death while the Gamin looks for satellites (why does this take longer in winter?). When the Gamin deigns to say go, I start running like a frightened hare, desperate to get the blood circulating. My limbs feel cold, but after a mile or two they warm up, and I congratulate myself on making the right choice. Then the sun goes out, I am 6 miles from home, and all of a sudden the path is frosty. Soon after, my hands feel like ice blocks. I jiggle them around like a wannabe Kermit the Frog impersonator, but my blood is having none of it. I arrive home freezing, and fall into a red hot shower for half an hour to absorb some heat.

keep-calm-its-cold-out-there It is cold outside. I remember the last run when I was freezing out there. I am not going to let that happen again. So on go all the clothes. Base layer, T-shirt, sweatshirt, tights (yes, tights), long shorts, warm socks, buff, gloves, hat, balaclava (OK, I exaggerate, no balaclava… yet). I smile with impunity as the Gamin searches for its connection (take as looooong as you like, my friend). I start running gently, with a negative training split in mind. Before long I am sweating like a suckling pig, carrying gloves and hat, and trying to work out how to disengage from the buff without removing my headphones. I arrive home looking like a red-nosed reindeer and drink a gallon of water to compensate for my lost sweat.

… and back to Pattern 1.

It seems obvious; I need to be brave and go for something in between. But the voice in my head says black or white, and no compromises.

I have no idea what I am going to do when we get to the real winter. Hibernate, maybe.

  1. That’s a tough one because every runner feels the cold in different ways: I wear thick winter tights because my bum always gets so cold, but end up taking my gloves off half way through. A guy in my running group wears shorts because his legs are fine, but his hands go numb, despite wearing gloves.

    I’ve read that you should dress for how warm you’ll be 15 minutes-ish into your run. For winter, I wear thick winter tights, a long-sleeved thermal and my winter running jacket (waterproof, windproof), gloves that I put in the pockets of my jacket once my hands get too hot, and an ear band to keep my ears warm. If I get too hot, I flip the ear band flaps up off my ears. Good luck!

  2. There is certainly a lot to learn about this issue.

    I like all off the points you made.