Cold runnings: when it’s perfectly acceptable to dress like a superhero

It’s well documented that heat is my No. 2 nemesis (No 1: hills), so I was quite keen to give cold running a try. But there’s cold and then there’s standing-around-at-7.30am-in-New-England-waiting-for-the-run-to-start cold. Herewith, what I’ve discovered first-hand about dressing when your runs take place in a giant fridge. (Of course, my upcoming events are set to take place in a giant freezer, so stay tuned for “Part Two: What the heck was I thinking?”)

Feaster Five

My duds for the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day race. Note, fancy tights.

1. The outfit is ridiculous. Where outside of comic books is it OK to roam the streets in shorts over tights? Unfortunately, tights aren’t made to carry an iPhone, an asthma puffer, a lip balm, a hairband and a packet of tissues, so, for me, shorts with giant pockets are mandatory. One day, I’ll rule the world in them! Bwahahaha.

2. OK, I concede the tights are fabulous. Avid readers will recall the  concern I had over my new CW-X Insulator Expert Tights and their circulation-hampering properties. But the tights are genius. They are remarkably warm and indeed have many insulating skills. I’ll take the company’s word for it that they also support my muscles and help them bounce back faster.

3. Bulky gloves are unwise. It was a rookie mistake wearing heavy-duty winter mitts. Who knew hands could sweat so much? And they make it impossible to get anything out of your pockets. (Forget trying to pull the top off an asthma puffer.) Also, when your hands are on fire and you have to take the gloves off, there’s nowhere to stuff them. Disaster.

I replaced them with Lululemon’s Brisk Run gloves, which are not only thinner, they can be used to compose that crucial mid-run text message (“Forget this, I’ll meet you at the bar!” perhaps?) thanks to those smartphone fingertip dealies.

LL Bean Women's Cresta Wool Base Layer4. Merino is your friend. Wearing cotton as a base layer on a cold run is a very bad idea. Or so I discovered. Cotton lets sweat linger on your skin, turning you into a walking block of ice when you start to cool down. I bought the LL Bean Women’s Cresta Wool Base Layer, made of merino, which has serious wicking abilities (I love how the word “wicking” has crept into my life). It’s also toasty warm. And it has thumb holes …


5. Thumbs up for thumb holes.
Where have you been all my life?

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10 responses to “Cold runnings: when it’s perfectly acceptable to dress like a superhero

  1. Can’t wait to see how the tights survive their first ‘snow test’. Roll on New Years Day, maybe then there will definitely be a Meet you at the Bar’ mid-race text. Also, don’t forget the hand warmers! Or the Toe Warmers! Or the warmers stuck in every nook and cranny!

  2. Ran my second cold weather race a few weeks ago and fell in love with really expensive wool layers. Who doesn’t love to say wicking?

  3. “Thumbs up for thumb holes. Where have you been all my life?” New Zealand. I grew up with thermals and thumb holes and they have made me a happy little runner on many an occasion. http://au.icebreaker.com/Long-Sleeve/womens-tops-long-sleeve,en,sc.html
    Keep going!

    • Oooh, Hubby and I have spent many a night perusing the Icebreaker website. It’s the dream!! His mother lives in Christchurch and sent him a Macpac merino top that he has worn on almost every cold race. In fact, he’s used it so much it’s full of holes (actually, we think that may be the fault of moths, but it sounds better the other way). New Zealanders sure know their toasty tops! Thanks for reading.

  4. I absolutely love your blog! I plan on snuggling up with some cocoa and reading them tomorrow after my jog! Thanks for the motivation to stay fit and healthy!

  5. Thanks so much!! Happy jogging and enjoy the new duds.

  6. This is affirming. My teenage daughter, like your husband, has gotten me to commit to a running program with her. I’ve gotten some mild teasing on my ‘superhero costume’ as I call it. Glad I’m not the only one!

    Also, I just stumbled across your blog and have read several posts. I really like your blog voice, and the advice on running is both practical and inspirational, and I need both. Thanks! I’ll add this to my Google Reader.

    • Thanks so much! Keep rocking that superhero outfit! All we need is a cape and a utility belt and we’ll be taking to the skies in no time. 🙂

      Good luck with your program! I hope you’ll stop back and tell me about your progress. Happy running!