Products That’ll Make Your Training Easier This Winter
Running and exercising during the cold winter months can be tough. Temperatures drop, winds pick up, snow and ice start to pile up, and the days are shorter and darker. Needless to say, it can be much harder to convince ourselves to leave the comfort of our warm and cozy beds in the early morning, or drive to the running trails after work when the sun is already halfway down. Luckily, this list of winter running essentials will help make your life easier during those long, cold months.
Lotion and Moisturizer
Winter means cold, lots of wind, and dryer air. And that can mean a nasty bout of dry skin. Avoid cracked, dry and itchy skin, by moisturizing your skin well every day. Establish a twice-a-day moisturizing routine. Lathering up in the mornings and before bed at night will help ensure your skin stays hydrated. Then, before you go out for runs or whenever your skin is exposed to the dry, cold air outside, consider layering on a thick layer of moisturizer (or even use a product like Vaseline that is thicker, more viscous than lotion). It is especially important to “mask” your face with moisturizer before your runs because it is harder to cover up your face against harsh winds and weather than it is other parts of your body.
Before you hit the trails, wash your face with a gentle cleanser, then apply a light moisturizer followed by a heavier one. If you do end up getting wind-chapped skin, avoid anti-aging moisturizers that have retinoids. And it is important not to forget about your lips! Opt for a lip moisturizer with an SPF level of 30 or higher, and apply before and after your runs, as part of your daily moisturizing routine
Gloves and Hand Warmers
Running tends to keep our limbs (arms and legs) warmer compared to other parts of our bodies – like our extremities (hands and feet) which can get extra cold. This is often why, when you look at pictures of elite athletes or Olympic runners who are training in colder temperatures, they still seem a bit scantily clad for the weather. Often times, their legs and arms are exposed but they’re still wearing gloves. Cover up those hands of yours with a pair of running gloves that are designed to withstand sweat and moisture, like the ones found here. Or, if gloves are not your thing, consider getting some hand warmers, like HotHands Hand Warmers. These are a cheap option for keeping your hands warm, and then being able to toss them out once you have warmed up. Hand warmers are easily activated by shaking them and exposing them to air. Once they warm up, they comfortably provide warmth for your hands without becoming too hot. They are safe and won’t burn, and can easily slip into a glove or pocket for instant relief – or you may choose to just hold them while you run!
Vests aren’t just a fashionable statement piece. They’re an essential for your winter running wardrobe! Vests are great because they insulate and keep your core warm, which is key when it is super cold outside because your legs and arms will warm up quicker than your core or extremities. Check out our list of some of the top running vests on the market here. Opt for vests that not only keep you warm, but get one that has pockets and storage compartments that can hold any and all of your running essentials – fuel, a phone or music player, keys, etc.
This one is more for the ladies or those gents with longer hair. Running in the winter often means running against a stronger wind. Loose, fly away hairs can continuously blow in your face, and longer hair can painfully whip back and forth against your face, neck, and head. Secure your hair against strong winds with a headband, or even a headband that goes around the head and pins hair down. (Check out our list of great sweat headbands here!) Not only will you be more comfortable, but you can focus more on your run and not on the hair that keeps hitting you in the face and blocking your vision!
A headlamp is a winter running must-have if your busy schedule requires you to get your runs in early in the morning or in the evening after the work. And with the amount of sunlight being much less during the day in the winter months, it’s likely you’ll face a few days that you just can’t squeeze in a run while it is light out and one more run on the treadmill will all-but-make you cry. A headlamp is the perfect solution! Our list of best running headlamps found here is the perfect place to start your search. You’ll want to get a head lamp that can easily adjust to your head size for a comfortable fit, has different settings and strengths of light, and has a long-lasting and durable battery or, better yet, has a rechargeable battery.
Just like your hands and fingers get cold super quickly, so too do your toes and feet – even if they’re snug inside your shoes. The best answer to keeping your feet warm is a good pair of thick winter socks. These are especially handy to have if you’re running through ice or snow, which poses the threat of frostbite if you aren’t careful! The trick here is finding a winter-running specific sock because they offer both thickness for warmth and support, cushioning, and padding, for your running. The best winter running socks will be made out of wool, which can be pricey but is worth it if you really need to keep your feet toasty. Otherwise, settling for a thicker sock like the Thorlo or CEP Dynamic socks on our list found here are great options for comfort, support, and warmth.