Non-runners might give you odd looks as you stride through blowing snow and battle cold winds along icy roads or slushy sidewalks, or through pounding rain on the West Coast, but running outdoors in the winter can be a true joy – if you’re properly prepared. With the addition of a few critical items, Canadian runners can embrace the wonders of winter running and be ready for the spring races.
Headlamp With busy work schedules and family obligations, not everyone can run during the short winter daylight hours. Running in the evening has its challenges – visibility being the most obvious. A bright and lightweight headlamp not only improves your view of the road, but also ensures drivers can see you.
Reflective Vest and Straps Reflective accessories are a sure-fire way to increase visibility and safety during dark winter conditions. They don’t cost much, and the best part: no batteries.
Blinky Light With their lightweight and attention grabbing visibility, small blinking LED lights are an excellent safety item for runners training during the winter.
Wind Briefs This specialized piece of gear is designed to protect delicate male body parts from cold winds. One brush with frostbite and most male runners will quickly understand the benefit of the brief’s windproof front panel. Wind briefs provide simple and effective protection against excruciating pain – and embarrassment.
Balaclava You might look like you’re about to rob a bank, but during cold and windy conditions, a simple balaclava can mean the difference between sticking with a training program or staying indoors and losing fitness. A Canadian winter running staple, balaclavas provide excellent full-head weather protection.
Gloves The fingers are often the first body parts to feel the chill on a winter run. Consider using different gloves for different outside temperatures – lighter gloves for warmer weather and heavier mitts for sub arctic conditions. On very cold days, you can layer thick mitts over thinner gloves.
Sunglasses Some runners assume sunglasses are only required for the summer season, but cold winds and snow-reflected sun can also cause eye damage during the winter. The solution is simple: wear shades all year round.
Hob Nails Some shoes have traction stubs built in, or you can add them yourself. Hob nails are a good way to boost your traction without adding an extra device.
Yaktrax Yaktrax slip-on systems have a unique traction technology, using a lightweight, tightly coiled metal spring wrapped around a rubber core. Without metal spikes, this system is great for running on bare patches.
Kahtoola spikes An aggressive chain-link and spiked slip-on system will give you all the traction you need and more, but can we a little cumbersome conditions aren’t too icy.
Lip Balm With the dry air and cold winter temperatures, chapped lips are an unpleasant reality for Canadian runners. Rather than suffering from the pain and discomfort of cracked and bleeding lips, stock up on some lip balm. The medicated versions protect lips and include an SPF for protection from the sun.
Chemical Hand Warmers These small packets of warmth are great insurance against cold hands. Keep a pair tucked in your jacket pocket in case the temperatures plummet during a run.
Tikka 2 – $33
Sprinter – $85
Streak Vest – $40
NightLife Bands – $20
Brooks NightLife Magnetic LED Light – $30 AND Nathan L.E.D. Safety Strobe – $10
Brooks and Nathan
Transitive Seamless Windboxer – $30
Barrier Balaclava – $40
Temp Regulator Glove – $50
Ulit-Mitt – $55
Swerve Pro – $45
Hobnail Kit – $48
Ultra Protection – $4.99
Essential Moisture Lip Conditioner – $6.99
Lip Protection Stick – $12.95
Hand Warmers – $2.00