Running is a part of my life that I rarely talk about, even though I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years.
Mainly because I hate it.
Can you imagine hating something – and sticking with it – for that long?
I know – but I have my reasons. And the number one reason I run is this:
I hate exercising.
(Are you now thoroughly confused?)
See, if it were up to me, watching “Mad Men” marathons while eating kettle corn would be the magic bullet for weight control. But it’s not. So my goal, years ago, was to figure out a way to exercise that would be efficient, take a minimal amount of time, and yield the best results for me.
And running fills the bill perfectly. I don’t have to get in my car and drive somewhere (drive? to exercise? craziness, I tell you!). I’m not dependent on class times or gym hours. I don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment. And I can do it from wherever I happen to be, all year round. Even in winter.
Barring a major snowstorm or icy roads, I run 3 times a week, 12 months a year. And I quickly learned that the right clothing and accessories make it
easy fun possible for me to get out there – comfortably – regardless of the temperature.
So here are my must-haves for winter running!
Fleece – A good half-zip fleece is the must-have of all must-haves. It keeps me warm but not too much, and the half-zip allows for some options if I heat up midway.
Moisture-wicking tee – I find thin layers to be the most comfortable for running. A long-sleeve tee constructed of lightweight, moisture-wicking material is the perfect layer under my trusty fleece.
Leggings – I find sweat pants too thick and bulky for running. Plus, ugly? Lycra leggings are lightweight, toasty warm and allow for maximum movement and flexibility. Some people like a bootleg cut but I prefer a legging that’s fitted at the bottom.
Glittens – Even before the onset of arthritis my hands have always been sensitive to the cold. I got these years ago and they are perfect. The mitten-like coverings keep my fingers warm, but easily flip back if I they need some air. They are versatile enough to get me through all but the most bitterly cold days.
Hat – I resisted the whole hat thing for years, preferring the headband/ponytail look. But on frigid mornings, I always reach for my hat. It really is true that you lose a significant amount of heat through your head, and a hat makes all the difference. Fortunately, there are a lot of cute options out there – and this one even has a ponytail opening! Winning!
Hand/foot warmers – For those of you with fingers and toes that are ALWAYS cold, these are pretty much essential.
And on truly bitter days (like the ones we’ve been experiencing here in New York lately – hello 9 degrees!), I go for the serious accessories:
Double layer mittens – When the temps dip to the teens, my beloved glittens (even with hand warmers) are simply not enough.
Mask – Breathing in arctic air is no fun. For years I tried wrapping a scarf around my face, or pulling a turtleneck up and over my nose and mouth. These tricks never worked. And then I discovered this mask. LOVE. It is ventilated so there is no build-up of damp air around my face. Do I get strange looks from passersby? Yes. Do I care? Nope. And if I ever decide to go into cat burglary I’ve got my outfit all set…..
Face cream – A good face cream will prevent chapping and windburn, and reduce redness too. Even better if it contains a sunscreen. I like this one by Mario Badescu.
And I’m never without:
iPod – It’s lonely out there most mornings. Howard (Stern) keeps me company.
Reflector vest – Running in the dark? Safety first, people.
How about you? Do you have a “preferred” (do you see how I even have to put that in quotes? I hate exercising!!!) form of exercising? Do you change it up with the seasons, or are you a creature of habit like me? How do you keep it fresh and interesting? Share!