An Ode to my Winter Running Clothes

As noted in this week’s motivation post I’m trying to be BFF’s with winter this year or failing that at least chill about it. To that end, positive spins and all that I’ve decided to pen a love letter to my winter running clothes. Weird right? But ya’ll should expect that by now! Most, pretty much all of my winter running gear came from honey for Christmas all at once four years ago now. Apparently he went into sports check found a runner and asked her what she wanted for winter and then he bought ALL OF IT! It’s still all amazing but we’ll get into that but I have picked up a few pieces here and there since. We’ll get into the big things first but I think a few pieces deserve their own glory. While this might be funny, it’s dead serious to me (sort of) but you’ll probably get an idea of what you’ll want to look for too. Or at least I’ll try to convince you it’s worth a try and the investment in a few pieces at least.

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Dearest cold weather gear,

  When you first came into my life I was like, really winter running? You do know it’s winter in Canada right? That is NOT a time for running but rather hot yoga and baking right? But due to guilt largely because all of your price tags were still attached I figured I had to give you a few spins at least. Which is to say I was not pleased to meet you and it was NOT love at first sight. It took me a couple of weeks, so well into the coldest days in January to test you out and I remember that is when you started to make me hot. 

Even though it was so cold the internet stopped working (true story by the way) I was not as miserable as I anticipated and it turns out that opened more than a few doors for me. I started doing crazy things like, running in the dark, running in February generally, running while it was snowing and even training for half marathons in March. You made it possible for me to take care of myself year round in my community and not just physically. Like many runners I has always hung up my shoes when the snow flew, or looked like it would or even got good and chilly. Then I would get sad, look at pictures of people who were running in Hawaii and doubt my life choices again. But you changed all that.

I could finally win that 12 months in a row trophy and I have every year since. I’ve never been tested but I’m sure you’re good for my vitamin D levels and definitely you’re great for my mental health, but I’m just getting started. You made me feel comfortable in conditions I never had been before and challenged me to push further. That consistency has been a game changer for me and my bad knee has never really flared all the way up since. Plus you often made me feel like a super hero. It turns out running in Canada IN THE WINTER makes me feel like I’m the whole cast of a marvel movie all at the same time, especially if it’s snowing.

All of a sudden things I thought were impossible weren’t anymore. For example I’d always said that Bluenose was too early for anything other than a 10k but with you I did a half there after starting dedicated training in February and base building in January. That’s nuts! All of a sudden I wasn’t starting over spring after spring. I’ve signed up for winter races because of you and written race recaps about it even. I even think that keeping my running going year round helped me cross the finish line of my first olympic triathlon even though that was in July. You all have been just a super team!

A few of you have been standouts though some of you are even with me on every single winter run pretty much. But let’s start with the standout I wear the least. It turns out for most winter days it’s really not THAT cold and truth be told I still stay home a lot of those windchill warning days. When I do get out in the minus, minus days my big hooded technical sweat shirt is just the best. It’s a technical fabric but a traditional hoodie style so it doesn’t on it’s own cut the wind on just chilly days. Where you shine is under a light weight jacket on frigid days. You have kept me more than cozy in days with a minus 20 degree windchill with no complaints. I also love that you give me more layering options with the shirt under than just a heavy jacket.

Next up is my sort of fleecy on the inside, loose fitting, turtleneck having under armor shirt. I think the mock neck here is key. You’re the best because you’re not full on fleecy on the inside that usually makes me itchy and that neck keeps the wind out of my upper fleshy parts. You’re looking a little worse for wear now, kinda pilled and if I find another one of you it might be time for you to get a friend.

I saved the big one for last my winter running tights, you rock and I’m sorry that you are so often so smelly. That’s because you’ve been with me on almost all of my winter runs. This year will be winter will be your 4th year and you’ll probably hit the 1000 km mark. I wear you so much it’s actually hard to find the time to wash you. You’re a weird one though because you are not at all thick or fuzzy. Your magical fabric seems to work from the freezing point to as low as the mercury will go and you’re just one person. I mean pants. The crazy part is you look like the day I got you other than the fact that I broke one of your pocket zippers but that’s on me. I’ve actually been searching for a best friend for you for two years now but I’m still coming up short. Honestly I’d be lost without you and you’re so important to me it’s time to find a spare, just in case.

In conclusion even though I don’t sing your praises from the rooftops know that I appreciate you. Even though I wasn’t excited to meet you and you cost a pretty penny you turned out to be totally worth it a few years out. So thank you very much!

– A formerly skeptical winter runner

Do you stick with your running in the winter or take it inside for the season? If you do hit the treadmill or cross train in the winter what keeps you from getting outdoors? Some of my winter gear is getting a little tiered and I could justify a few new pieces this year. What are your top recommendations especially for pants?

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