“Ahhhh snotsicles, tuques, mitts and multiple layers – winter running.”
I live in Canada where it seems like we have snow, ice and cold 11.5 months out of 12. Not true but when its -20C with wind and a snow-covered landscape it feels long.
But snow does not stop many Canadian runners (or those who have cold winters) from getting out and running.
PLANNING FOR 2015
An online training plan
Front page of Vicsytem with Eric and Reid
Vicsystem and Runtastic
I would love to have east access to a coach but with a busy schedule and so used to running on my won most of the time – I finally found an online program I like. Vicsystem is a well thought out and researched program that Canadian elite runners Eric Gillis and Reid Coolsaet helped out with. I use and find very helpful. Pick your days of running, your goals and it will adjust as you get fitter.
Runtastic is a great little company that offers many apps for runners and those looking to get fit. More geared for those who use their cell phone to run etc but still some neat tools. (Ask me about a discount code)
*Some great Canadian races to check out are the Ottawa race weekend (with IAAf-bronze level marathon and IAAF-gold level 10k, both flat and fast) and the Toronto Yonge Street 10k (fast spring 10k).
STAYING WARM AND ON YOUR FEET
Traction - Icespikes
This is an easy and simple system of spikes you can screw in and out of any running shoe. Great on icy sidewalks and whenever you need traction. I put spikes into extra pair of shoes I use when the roads/sidewalks ice up.
The spikes are a complete step above anything you have to wrap around or strap onto a running shoe.
Running shoes for slush and snow – NB MT110
New Balance no longer makes this great trail/winter running shoe but there are still a few to get hold of. If you can’t find this cool NB shoe there are also some other brands that other similar options. With some traction and ability to keep some snow and slush out – you will be more comfortable and less likely to miss a run.
On non-icy days look for shoes with decent traction.
Warm toes – Smartwool socks
I find to keep my feet warm its less about the shoes and more about the socks. I love Smartwool socks which are warm and breathable without needing to be too thick.
Choose, warm, breathable, not too thick (don’t want to make shoes tight) and ones of a longer length.
Great warm running tights – Sugoi mid/subzero tights
Most running gear companies (apparel) have warm tight options. My favourite are from the Canadian company Sugoi. There are 2 options, midzero and subzero. Midzero works for most cold days but subzero will get you through bone-chilling days.
Look for seams that won’t chafe and a thicker tight with a soft/brushed feel inside. Some winter tights will also have a wind panel on front to stop wind.
Support and compression - EC3D Compression wear
I have worked with medical compression socks and know they work. I have used sport compression socks and tights from the Canadian company EC3D and have nothing but good to day about them. I don’t use socks for training but use for recovery and use tights and shorts when weather permits. the tights are warm but may need layer over top for colder days.
Great product worth going to their website if you or someone you are shopping for is thing about compression products.
A warm running tuque – Boutique Endurance running tuque
Most running shops have lots of options to keep the head warm – this is where most heat escapes. Remember, less hair and the colder it is the more hat you need. I like supporting local running shops and opt for a branded running tuque if I can.
Warmest running mitts
Warmest mitts for uber cool days are some beasts from the Running Room (started by Canadian John Stanton). Ask for their warmest ones and they will know. Other local running shops like my hangout (Sports4) in Ottawa also will have options.
Warm base layers
Staying warm is about layering with multiple layers of breathable long sleeve and short sleeve tops. Number and thickness will depend on cold – you will have to decide on what works for you. I love New Balance gear but have also recently reviewed some Champion gear – they have some decently priced options.
I have Champion tights, shorts and a top and impressed with efforts of the company, a few small tweeks here and there and they would be in competition with others.
MY FAVOURITE RUNNING GADGETS
Polar V800 and Polar loop – the HR company now has great GPS running watches and I use the RC3 and have tested and reviewed the V800 and recommend as great training tool! The Polar loop is a very cool fitness tracker that can count steps, calories, activity and sleep and can be matched up w HR strap-cool for someone who wants more info to aid their training.
The RC3 is a great watch but the V800 picks up a signal faster. One small comment is that neither allow you to use a stopwatch at same time as GPS.
Wellograph FItness tracker – this is a very slick fitness tracker that will allow you to feel like you are wearing a professional leather strapped watch but have all the sports options. HR, activity, steps, calories, an app for the cell phone and an upcoming update that will allow dist/pace options for running. Great looking tool.
BOOKS and FILMS
Unbroken – a great book and looking forward to seeing the movie. A runner you probably never heard of but should read about and an amazing war-time story.
Mo Farah’s biography – currently reading this book about Britain’s running hero and a very good read about his life, struggles and ambitions.
The film Transcend – great film by a Canadian runner and filmaker about a Kenyan elite runner with a passion for running but also a desire to change his country. Great film and you’ll find yourself wanting to go for a run after!
*More book reviews here.
**You can also find some cool free running videos and documentaries on my Youtube Channel. (link at bottom of page)
FUEL FOR THE FIRE
Tailwind Nutrition – have tried and reviewed a few running drink mixes but like the mild taste and easy on the stomach mix of this brand. Worth checking out! Check my review.
Endurance Tap (Maple Syrup gels) – very cool Canadian company just getting going with truly Canuck style running gels made from maple syrup. Some are on the way to me and review coming soon.
Worth checking out!
Energy Bits – I have only had small tins to sample of these algae-derived, energy rich, green tablets but liked what I tried. Worth checking out to add to your diet and provide pre and post run fuel.
Vaseline for the face – put it on your face to prevent wind burn and frostbite.
Bodyglide for any friction from all those layers to keep you warm.
Lip chap – whether my Clifbar chocolate mint lipchap or another – good to have.
FOR OTTAWA (Canada) RUNNERS
Gift ideas for the Ottawa area runner.
- Gift certificate to Sports4 – my favourite running shop with great friendly staff and a small fun Wed night group run at 5:30pm
- A gift certificate to my favourite massage therapist – Katy Chancey at OC3.
- A new alternative therapy with Sioned Watkins to keep you running.
- A Chi running clinic with Eric Collard – run smooth and keep running.
- Get a session with the folks at Peak Performance-find out how to get 100% out of your training or just get a VO2 max test!
- A subscription to Canadian Running magazine.
Don’t be afraid to run in the winter. Dress warm, be prepared and if REALLY icy out, don’t risk it. If a bit icy get some traction on your feet and don’t make sudden turns or moves and ease off the speed.
Stay hydrated just like in the summer – you still sweat.
Protect your skin.
Stay safe and watch for cars etc.
Have an indoor option ready or do some stretching, exercises or heck running on the spot to replace.
Run on my friends!