Monday, December 28, 2009

FORUM: Coping With The Cold... How Do You Do?

So in my continuing effort to make this blog a little more informative and reader interactive, I'd like to post a little topic for discussion and to generate some ideas not only for my own use, but for everyone who contributes or reads.

So after a holiday weekend of gluttony and breaking training and diet, I arrived home last night
disappointed that I was going to break my promised training plan for the 50k on the fly experiment I conceptualized and to which I have committed. I had hoped I'd get the 20k run I needed to complete the 10k-20k-30k progression of long runs prior to a rest week and then the 50k while visiting family on the South Shore of Massachusetts, but that didn't happen, and a Sunday of chex mix, football, pizza, and Tuscany Soup, it wasn't looking good for the evening. After all the unloading of the material baubles friends and family showered on the kiddies this Christmas, I noticed it was nearly 8 p.m. - never a great time to take on a two hour run, but I made the split decision to ignore my queasy belly, the dropping temperatures, the fast advancing evening hours, and a general desire to eat cookies on the couch, and threw on the headlamp and my road shoes for some mileage in the cold and dark.

As I ran I could feel the air getting colder by the minute and I started catching patches of black ice. Besides the general ache of putting 13.25 miles in the tank on the roads, and the eventual nervous dash into the woods, a safe distance from the road and the surrounding houses - also fighting to get a pair of running tights down before the explosion... errr, expulsion..., I spent a great deal of the two hours wondering what other folks have found works for them in cold weather when it comes to gear.

I must say I have been VERY pleased with the pair of CW-X tights I recently purchased. They have kept my hip
flexor and IT Band issues in check for the most part, and seem to do a good job blocking the wind, retaining heat, and wicking moisture. Beyond the CW-X tights, I have basically done the best with what I have in my woredrobe when it comes to the cold weather. I have a pair of New Balance running pants that have kept me warm and comfy since 2002, and I have a pair of Nike lined warm up pants that work really well on colder days and nights when worn with a pair of simple spandex shorts. Not to brag, but these warm ups were part of the XC uniform I received my freshman year of college back in 1997!

Top base layers have been a bit more variable for me, and even today I have the propensity to just layer things like turtlenecks, long sleeve t-shirts, and sweatshirts on colder days. I know there are highly technical fabrics that wick away sweat and trap heat, but I don't have the time or the budget to go for a trial and error free for all (except for me) on stuff that might not work.

One exception has been with compression mock turtlenecks. I have a Reebok long sleeve compression top that works well as a base layer for keeping warm, but I hate the feeling of compression on my chest, especially during longer runs. It is easy enough for me to feel tired while on the run, I don't need my gear helping that process along!

So here's the question: What keeps you warm, dry, comfy over the long winter training runs in the colder climates of the world?

Base layers, socks, jackets, hats, gloves, etc. The forum is open!

P.S. - Any companies out there that want or need their gear put through the paces, I'd be happy to dedicate time and space on this blog to test and review your gear! Go to my profile and send me an email.

Happy Trails,

1 comment:

pathfinder said...

I have no set gear or formular for that matter. I take a guess using the 20 degree rule (dress for 20 degrees warmer than the actual temp) and that seems to work pretty good for shorter for runs past one or two hours, I think the body, the weather and the surroundings change too much to wear just the right thing. At that point I think one has to bring options to add and remove.
The key for me is to get myself to actually walk out the door.