So I know, it's terribly British to be so obsessed with the weather - but when you run in the UK it does tend to preoccupy your mind somewhat. It's just so unpredictable. In February this year I did two runs a week apart, and in one I'm wearing trail shoes (with plastic bags inside, between my socks and the shoes) in thick snow, every layer I could muster, gloves, hat, jacket the lot. The next week I was wearing a short sleeved t-shirt, tights and road shoes. It is frankly ridiculous. Luckily, here at Kit Radar we have some ideas about how you can get out there and continue your training without too much inconvenience. Some of them are absolute genius, some a bit more 'out there', but if there's a solution to starting out a run freezing and overheating after two miles, well I think, like me, you're going to want to know about it...
Firstly I read a great bit of advice on Runners World about how to dress for a run when the weather starts getting colder. You don't want to go out dressed like the Michellen man at the first sign of chilly weather. You WILL over heat and it's also really restrictive. So when it's a bit colder but not absolutely arctic, then all you need to add to your regular kit is a decent pair of thin gloves, and maybe a hat or buff (more on this later). I've just reviewed these gloves for Kit Radar Flux Zero Lightweight Running Gloves, and they are honestly the best running gloves I've ever tried. They are really thin but warm, and have clever perforations on the palm so that if you get a bit warm you just open your palms to the breeze to cool them down a bit. No more on/off on/off gloves fun. And if you DO get really warm and need to take them off they screw up into a tiny ball that can easily be stashed in a pocket or belt.
The rest of it really, is about layers, lightweight but warm, sweat wicking, you know the deal, there's a lot of really good gear out there. And I've found the London Marathon jacket of rejection to be a great option this year. Who knew inevitable ballot disappointment could keep you so warm and dry? But something that is going to be absolutely essential for winter running, now that the nights are well and truly drawn in, if you want to fit in your training runs you're probably going to be doing some early mornings or evenings in the dark. SO - visibility! Two aspects to lights, firstly being visible to others, and secondly being able to see where you're going so you're not running into trees or tripping over uneven surfaces.
In terms of being visible to others, our social media has absolutely gone nuts for this amazing balm that you can put directly onto your skin. Safety skin Admittedly, as above, you may not actually have that much skin showing if it gets really cold, but as an interim when it's dark but not that chilly or you're one of those (usually blokes, come on, you know it's true) who wears shorts all year round even when it's sub zero, then this stuff is fantastic.
For an actual running light, you could definitely do a lot worse than the extremely affordable (and battery free!) Million Mile Running light. And you can even combine this with the best selling flipbelt, this version of which is highly reflective so that you're visible as well as being able to see your feet in front of you. I'm also a big fan of my decathlon cross body light (although it's definitely designed for men, and my brain steadfastly refuses not to sing 'It's a boob seperator' to the tune of Sade's Smooth Operator.. Every. Single. Time), but it's a great light, powerful enough for a night time trail run, and re-chargeable via a USB port. And, a lot less expensive than other lights on the market.
Should you wish to combine head warmth with visibility then the Luma Active LED Light headband is excellent. A powerful light (front and back so you can see and be seen) within a snuggly warm headband.
Some of the more out there (but not necessarily bad!) stuff I came across in my research for this include ways to keep rather specific parts of yourself warm. Now I know the perils of getting an extremely cold bum while out running. I don't know what it is, I swear I activate my glutes and everything, but for some reason your derriere can get a bit more chilly than your actual legs. My solution to this would be to get a longer length warm layer that comes down over your butt (I swear I'm not deliberately trying to get as many words for bum in this article as possible), but perhaps I should invest in this natty looking Salomon Drifter Mid Skirt designed to be worn over leggings. It looks REALLY cosy but a bit out of my price range... And for the men (because apparently frost bite on your nethers is a thing! Who knew!) you can get these Craft Active Windstopper Boxers, with a goretex panel in front of your crown jewels... but yeah, I think they could have thought through the title a bit, because 'windstopper' boxers...well snigger...
Thanks for reading our list of innovative winter running kit for 2019 - keep warm, keep running, keep happy!
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