Friday, October 12, 2012

Seeking Advice for Winter Running

The seasons are changing and the weather is getting cooler.  This isn’t something I’m entirely sad about, since I hate running in the heat, and this summer was especially nasty with the heat and the smoke from wild fires… ya, clean crisp air is what I want for a change.  But I also fear the winter, just a little bit.
I’m in Utah, and we can have some pretty nasty winters.  And while I have, in the past, resorted to going to the Utah Olympic Oval in order to avoid running in the cold, I just don’t think that I can really do that much this year.  The endless, mindless, never changing circles are worse than anything “Old Jack Frost” can throw at me.  But then, two winters ago, I took a spill on the ice which turned my ankle into something that looked like a big, purple grapefruit and sidelined me for the better part of a year.  (That’s one reason why I missed the 2010 Ragnar Wasatch Back.)
I also can’t take the winter off, I’m in such good shape right now, and I have a goal of running a minimum of 3 half-marathons (including Disneyland), on top of the Wasatch Back again.  For me, that’s a hefty goal, but also very doable, if (and this is a big IF) if I continue to run consistently throughout the winter.
But if I’m to do that, how do I stay warm in the sometimes frigid subfreezing weather?
I read in Runner’s World that layering is best, and that I should have a long sleeve base layer on top, with a short sleeve shirt over that, and then a jacket that zips open over both of those (and that all of those layers should be made of some sort of tech fabric in order to wick away moisture, thus keeping me from turning entirely into some kind of strange redheaded meatsicle).  Now, I have run enough races to have a plethora of different tech shirts, one of which is long sleeve that I use as a base layer… but is there something better out there?  I do have a great jacket.  Last year I asked my wife for a running jacket, and she got me a wonderful fitted jacket from Ragnar… I love this jacket!  It keeps me warm and pulls the wet from my body so well.  It’s way better than the fleece hoody that I used to wear.  Man, that thing held water better than a camel.
In really cold weather, I do put wind pants over my normal running shorts and long compression socks.  I’m not a great fan of these pants since they’re a little too short for me, but they were the longest pair I could find and were not really expensive.  They were made by Nordic Track, and have this… kind of… 1970’s look about them…I don’t know if that matters much… and they also have this “Zip Zop” (to quote Calvin and Hobbes) sound to them when I run.  Which I guess is pretty common to wind pants.  Is there anything else out there that may work better and not be so expensive that I’ll need to sell a child in order to afford them?

Runner’s World suggested getting trail shoes, or something with more of a Gore-Tex type upper that will better keep water and slush out of my shoes.  Well, there’s really nothing I can do about shoes.  The shoes I have will have to be the shoes I have for at least another 300 miles.
Is there anything else I should be looking at doing?  Suggestions?  Changes?

How do you stay warm while running in the winter?


Suz and Allan said...

I run in the winter and love it but my winter in Alabama and your winter in Utah are two very different winters. A half I ran this past year had temps in the 20's for the entire race and what helped me the most were my gloves, something covering my ears, and something covering my mouth and nose. I would occasionally pull that down if I got hot but more often that not I had it pulled over my nose and mouth most of the entire race.

Murph said...

Suz and Allan,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and Thank you very much for the advice. Once Ragnar Las Vegas is done with, I’m planning to stop by my local running store to get a pair of gloves. Running a Half in 20 degree temps… I can’t even imagine.
Thanks again.

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