Long-distance races have been a popular form of competition for hundreds of years, with the first cross country races, known then as “hare and hounds” or “paper chases,” dating back to 19th century England. Just last year, more than 1,100 marathons took place in the U.S. with a record-breaking 541,000 finishers, according to Runner’s World. As the 2014 marathon season starts to wrap up, many runners have the 2015 season on their minds already. For many, training will have to go on throughout the cold, snowy winter that is expected this year. Training for a marathon is no easy feat, and inclement weather only makes it a tougher challenge. Some of the most important pieces of running gear for training over the winter are:
- Hats – Running in freezing cold temperatures increases the chances of getting frostbite, head colds and even hypothermia. Bundling up before heading out on a run is the best way to avoid this, starting with covering up the head. A good amount of heat is lost through the head, making a hat an essential accessory for long, cold runs. Something warm but lightweight is ideal, and if it also keeps the wind out, even better. For women (or men) with long hair, pony tail hats are a great way to protect the head without having to worry about what to do with their hair.
- Gloves – Gloves are another essential piece of winter running gear in order to keep fingers from getting cold and chapped while running out in the cold. Just like with hats, warm yet lightweight gloves are the best. Anything too bulky takes away a runners ability to use their hands at all. Since many people run with an iPod or smartphone these days, touch screen running gloves are a great way to keep hands warm but still be able to operate a touch screen device.
- Layers – Layers are the key to keeping the body warm during chilly runs. The first layer should be something fitted, ideally made of a compression material to keep body heat in and wick away sweat. For the middle layer, a lightweight and flexible long-sleeved shirt is a good choice. If it has a turtleneck to protect the neck, even better. Finally, the outermost layer should be something that will protect against the wind and keep water out.
Although not meant to keep runners warm, safety lights for runners are also a nice accessory to take on a winter run as the dark starts creeping up much sooner each day. Even though being out in the cold can be unpleasant, the proper hat, gloves and long-sleeved layers can make a winter run all the more enjoyable. Know someone who runs outside all winter? This winter running gear also makes great gifts for a runner during the holidays, which are right around the corner.