New to running a few years ago, I was caught off guard when the winter months made everything hurt and increasingly shortened the length of my routes — and it sucked. Slowly but surely, though, I bought and tested different items that assuaged my pain of running cold — sweatpants, tights, sweatshirts, caps, gloves, and so on. Of course, I kept running and that in itself built my tolerance —that and the mocking jeers from friends who’d run their whole lives and found my hardships hilarious.
While any runner will attest that there is no single solution to low-temperature running, there are three things I now always have on hand for the occasion — all of which I literally use on my hands (and arms).
If you don’t already know, liners go under your gloves and add a layer of protection against the elements. This was huge for me. Doing my best to avoid thick ski gloves that would melt my hands, I used these as a barrier underneath more moderate running gloves. My favorites are HighLoong’s compression liner gloves. I get the small size, but the medium and large sizes are all priced the same at $10. If you’re in less temperate climes, consider investing in thicker wool liners.
Hand warmers changed my running completely. Unlike the many joggers I’ve passed who can handle the less-than-ideal winter temperatures with bare hands, mine get really cold really fast. Enter hand warmers. Air activates the packets, each of which warm up within ten minutes or so. They fit anywhere, but most importantly into your glove, no matter its shape or size. I even use them with the liners I mentioned, and those are compressed. Since I like running to the gym and then running back, I also needed a solution that would last — and these stay hot for ten hours. Then you chuck them out. Though disposable, $7 for five pairs means less than $30 a month for runners who align their fitness with weekdays, as I do. If air-activated beans in a bag freak you out, try an electric version that recharges. KARECEL sells a blue and black version, both priced $24.
Winter means less daytime, and less daytime means less visibility. Your running clothes hopefully include some modicum of reflection, but ensure drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists can see you with running bands. I like BSEEN’s double pack of LED armbands. An adjustable clip lets you decide whether to wrap them around your legs, arms, or a combination, and you can switch through a handful of modes, including strobe and steady. The pair shows up with the batteries you need to operate them and the brightness mostly hides the logo. It’s hard to beat the $10 price but you certainly have options. Atlecko sells a lightweight and unobtrusive 360-degree reflective vest sporting LED lights. And for the more intense, you can try Knuckle Lights, which are exactly what they sound like and come in black, blue, and pink for $40.
No matter what your fitness fashion sensibilities are, you’ll be warm and safe strutting them all over town — and don’t make fun of people who are cold.
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