October 23, 2012 at 4:08
Posted by Rachael Woolston
As the cold draws in, the wind carries the icy breath of Siberia and puddles deepen, Victoria Del Federico shares her hard earned tips on essential winter running kit
I used to think these were only for gazelle-like runners, not for mere ordinary mortals like myself. But as I began running more off-road, slithering down muddy tracks with my legs turned to jelly from the monster hill I’d just come up, I soon began to realise that trail shoes are a godsend in the winter.
A word to the wise though, don’t just buy any old pair like I did. Try out a few pairs and treat your purchase as importanty as you do when you are buying your usual running shoes.
Can’t afford trail shoes and your normal running shoes? Don’t worry, trail shoes are not essential but they can make you feel more comfortable up on the trails in winter.
Our Fitbitch winter pick for 2012 are Salamon Speedcross, £95
Hands are the first thing to feel the cold when you are running in the winter, and there is nothing more miserable than icy fingers.
Not only does it feel horrible, gripping your hands can tighten shoulders, lungs and result in headaches.
Opt for water resistant,windproof gloves with pads on the fingers so you can use your IPhone or music without having to take them off.
Don’t try getting away with every day gloves – I started out running a year ago wearing heavy duty fluoroscent ones. They not only made me look like a bin man, but were far too hot and heavy.
Try Brooks Adapt Glove, £17.99 (www.forrunnersbyrunners.com), with a water resistant windshield when it turns misty, a thumb pad for IPhone use, and even a magnet that keeps the gloves together when not in use.
You can lose up to 75% of your body’s heat through your head so running with a hat during winter is a must, particularly if you want to keep that windy chill from freezing the tips of your ears.
Go for a high tech, lightweight fabric that wicks away sweat and if you have long hair, one with a hole for your ponytail is essential. Otherwise your hat just rides up your head leaving you looking like a Smurf.
Alternatively, if like me, you get too hot running with a hat, try a fleece headband like Ronhill Run Headband, £9.95 (www.gearforgirls.co.uk). You may risk looking some Eighties throwback but believe me, you won’t care.
Photos of me running last winter show me swathed in high viz commuter cycling gear. High spec it might have been, but designed for running? It certainly wasn’t.
If you can only afford to invest in one piece of kit for your winter running wardrobe, make it a decent running jacket. It makes a huge difference to your running comfort and enjoyment.
Whatever you do though, don’t waste your money on shower proof or water resistant jackets, as they just don’t cut it. It should be lightweight, so you can carry it without even noticing the extra weight if you need to take it off, as well as being water proof, wind proof and also breathable.
Most running jackets fall down when it comes to sweat-wicking, which just means you just get cold and wet from the inside.
Of course, all that technology comes at a price but get the right one and it will last. My money’s on the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) Kamleika jacket, £150 www.theomm.co.uk (worn by Fitbitch coach, Rachael who has had her’s for three years). It really is the business.