Friday Five: Undervalued Gear for a Cold Workout

Break out your Under Armour and winter hats, cold weather is coming! Yeah, it’s only October, but why not start thinking about this stuff before everyone else rushes out to the stores? We all know the importance of coats, winter hats, gloves, etc., but some important gear gets forgotten about. Here are 5 to keep in mind this winter when you are getting ready to go outside.

1. Warm socks

Your feet are the closest things to the cold ground (in case you haven’t noticed), so keep them warm. Finding an awesome pair of wool socks can do so much to improve your temperament during a run. For particularly cold days, double down on footwear and throw on two pairs of socks, with one of them extending up at least to your calves. Your feet and calves will thank you later.

2. Gloves

Much like our feet, our fingers tend to get cold quicker than most parts of our body. There’s no feeling quite like trying to navigate around your pockets with ice-cold fingers trying to find keys or turn off your iPod. Don’t short yourself on gloves! Especially when running, your hands are going to get a lot of air resistance, so the more insulation, the better. Check out brands like Asics, Brooks, etc. for some good winter gloves, and make sure you find some with a terry patch on the thumb for nose-wiping. Yes, we all do it.

3. Ear warmers

We’ve all touched our ears at some point in winter and felt like we could snap them off. Keep your ears warm and comfortable with a quality pair of earmuffs or other ear warmers. Although scientists have begun to debunk the theory that we lose 40-45% of our body heat through our heads, who doesn’t want to keep their noggin warm during exercise outside? If nothing else, warm ears provide a bit of a placebo effect for the rest of the body. Warm ears=warm body? Find out for yourself!

4. Moisture-wicking shirts

Think about this: you’ve just taken a dip in Lake Michigan in November with your clothes on (for whatever reason). Your clothes are soaked, what do you do?

Answer: Get the moisture away from your body! Now apply that same kind of thing to sweating during a run in 20-degree weather. Wearing a normal cotton T-shirt will just keep your cold perspiration on and near your body.

Moisture-wicking shirts do just the opposite; as the name may suggest, these shirts don’t let your sweat stick around, keeping you warmer throughout your run. Throw one on under the rest of your layers before you head out.

5. Trail Shoes

Most running shoe companies advertise their products’ breathability, and why shouldn’t they? Spring-fall are peak running times, and typically the warmest times of the year. But what about winter?

Trail shoes are designed to take on all different kinds of terrain: rocks, dirt, occasional water patches, etc. For this reason, trail shoes do not have the same design technology as their road counterparts. Get a solid pair of trail shoes without the mesh linings and your feet will get that added boost of warmth and insulation.

This of course isn’t to say that other products/actions aren’t as important. Always be sure to warm up and stretch to avoid tense muscles in the cold air. But as far as apparel goes, what else would you recommend?

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