The best way to enjoy winter running

The Best way to enjoy Winter Running

The best way to enjoy winter running is be to comfortable. In the summer it’s easy to be comfortable and enjoy a run.

Enjoying a winter run can be a bit more challenging. enjoy winter running, Sunday long run

Here are a few ways to enjoy winter running

Keep your feet dry

Nothing ruins a nice run quicker than wet feet. In the summer wet feet can cause chaffing and blisters. In the winter, wet feet can increase your chances of frost bite, sap the heat from your body and cause chaffing and blisters.

Leading running shoe companies such as Adidas, Asics, Brooks, New Balance and Saucony use Gore-Tex® Extended Comfort technology to make water resistant versions of their standard shoes.

This material keeps water out of your shoes, while allowing perspiration to escape. The ideal set of features to keep your feet dry and comfortable.

Many shoes that use Extended Comfort materials have the designation “GTX” or incorporate GORE-TEX® into the shoe name.

Brooks Adrenaline ASR 10 GTX, winter runningI have run in the Brooks Adrenaline ASR 10 GTX shoe for three seasons. Like many shoes on the GORE-TEX® web site, the Adrenaline ASR is a trail version of the popular Adrenaline GTS.

While most reviewers consider the Adrenaline ASR a built up street shoe and not a true trail runner, you will find it much stiffer and heavier than the street version.

I always wear my Adrenaline ASR 10 GTX for trail runs and those Sunday long runs when the street is a mess. The shoes are also great on ice and give me added confidence that I’ll make it to the finish in one piece.

The water-resistant version of your favorite running shoe will typically cost about 20% more than the standard version. Since you only need these shoes a few months of the year, you can get two or more years out of them.

This article from Competitor dot com reviews 9 winter running shoes for 2016. They describe the Brooks Adrenaline ASR GTX as a weather-ready road-feel shoe.

winter running
Under Armour Fat Tire GTX

Check out the Under Armour Fat Tire GTX. At 18 oz you wont want to do a road race in them, but they will eliminate your foul weather excuses!

This 2015 article from GearJunkie reviews running shoes that are a bit more hard-core than your typical trail runners. In addition to being water-resistant, some of these shoes incorporate spikes and gators to handle the most challenging conditions. More on gaiters below.

Running tip

Anyone in the Northern Hemisphere training for a spring race, such as the Boston Marathon, should own a pair of water-resistant shoes. Nasty weather comes with the territory this time of year, so you’ll need a heavier pair of shoes like these to keep you on the road and off of your butt.

Keep the Snow Out

Who hasn’t dreamed of running through fresh powder on a crisp winter’s day? How about tearing up a gnarly trail with friends? When you get off-road or out before the plows you are likely to encounter snow that most running shoes cannot handle.

winter running Salomon gaitersA nice addition to any runner’s mountain of gear is a pair of gators. Gaiters go over your ankle and cover your socks and top of your shoe.

In addition to keeping snow, rocks and twigs out of your shoes, they also add another layer of water protection.  Even if you have snow shoes, gaiters are a great way to keep the snow out of your shoes and keep the fun rolling.

Check out this review of Ultra Trail Gaiters from Outdoor Research. OR sells gators for running, skiing and hiking. The GearJunkie article reviews a few shoes that come with gaiters.

REI sells gaiters for running, hiking and skiing. Much like buying a pair of shoes, trying on a pair of gaiters before you buy them is advisable.

Keep your feet Warm

Keeping your feet dry is only half the battle of enjoying a winter run.

Cold, dry feet are still cold. That’s no fun and can be dangerous.

Keeping your feet warm is all about the socks.

Running socks are great at wicking moisture away from your skin, but in the winter you need more. Wool is known to hold body heat even when wet, and most cold weather socks incorporate wool. For fit and breath-ability, nylon and other engineered materials are woven in also.

balega, running socks, winter running In 2014 I wrote a review comparing Balega socks to Darn Tough socks.You thought summer socks were expensive? These socks cost about $17.00 a pair!

Both socks kept my feet warm, warmer than summer socks anyway. The Balega socks felt better on my feet and added some color.

I have only tried Darn Tough and Balega and both worked for me. I’m hoping to test a few more brands this winter and provide reviews for you.

Winter socks should feel snug on your feet, but not too tight. You don’t want them to bunch up but you also don’t want to constrict blood flow or squeeze your toes.

Many runners wear low profile socks in warm weather. For colder weather consider wearing a crew sock. I find that a sock that bridges the gap between my tights and ankle make a big difference in comfort. Any exposed skin can be an issue.

Running Tip

Every runner should have at least one pair of winter socks. They are expensive but you will need them on those really bitter days. If you stay on top of your laundry, you can get by with one pair of really good winter socks. Two or three pair are better, of course.

While they are expensive they will last many years. During the winter you wont need winter socks for every run, so you are sure to get many years of good running out of them.

Keep a lid on it

I grew up in Maine and hated to wear a hat to the bus stop, even in February. It just wasn’t cool. And don’t mess with the hair! In the old days, parents believed that we lost over 50% of our body heat through our heads.

fall races, 5 reasons to join my mailing listIt turns out that all body parts loose heat at about the same rate. Since our heads make up about 10% of our body surface, they can only loose about 10% of our body heat.

For a winter run, I keep as much of my body covered as possible. I wear a hat year-round so I have no problem wearing a winter hat.

A hat covers about half of my head and probably keeps in half of the heat so 10% times half, times half equals about 2.5% of my body heat.

That may not seem like a lot, but if I could cut 2.5% off of my marathon time I’d be thrilled.

winter running, winter hat, balaclavaA hat is about comfort and safety. While you may not loose 50% of your body heat through your head, you do loose body heat. On a cold day that 2.5% could keep you comfortable and prevent your ears from getting frost bite.

Sometimes I get an ear ache from running in the cold and a hat helps prevent this.

The important thing is comfort and not what it is made of. The great thing about a hat is that you can take it off if you get too hot and slip it on again if you get cool.

Any winter cap will do, but check out the winter running hats the next time you stop by your local running shop.

Keep your face covered

Balaclava: a close-fitting, knitted cap that covers the head, neck, and tops of the shoulders, worn especially by mountain climbers, soldiers, skiers, etc. Dictionary dot com. 

Balaclavas have been around since the mid 1800s. In the old days they were wool as that was the warmest material available.

Today, balaclavas are made from high tech materials that work better than wool. The definition of balaclava has changed also. In the photo above Matt Sazama wore a nylon hose basically.

Many members of our running club got one of these “balaclavas” a few years ago when we had an especially cold winter. This version can go around your neck to keep your neck warm and cold air out of your jacket.

It can also be pulled up to cover your mouth and nose, like Matt did. It is not the traditional hat-like balaclava, but it is very handy to have in the go bag. best way to winter running, balaclava, craft

Here is an example of a modern balaclava made by Craft Sportswear. This “Face Protector” is made of 100% polyester. Craft is based in Sweden so you know these products are tested under harsh Nordic conditions.

Please stay out of banks while wearing anything like this.

I own a few Craft products and I can attest to their quality and functionality.

Like a good pair of running shoes, winter gear and Craft products in particular, are not cheap.

If this is your first winter running season you can probably get by with gear you already own. You wont be ready to take on the worse conditions, but you should be ready for the average winter day.

Keep your hands warm

As I have grown older, my hands have become more sensitive to the cold. Some days, just the simple gloves they hand out at races are enough. Sometimes I have to take them off after a few miles.

Then there are those 20° days, or nights. Just from my forward motion there is a 5 mph breeze and sometimes Jack Frost will kick in a steady breeze and maybe a few gusts. That all adds up to an uncomfortable wind chill.

A few years ago I purchased wind proof mittens from a brand I wont mention. They didn’t have much insulation and they fell apart the same year. Everyone said mittens were better than gloves because mittens kept your finger together for added warmth.

best way to enjoy winter running, craft gloves, mittensWith that in mind I purchased a pair of Craft Touring Mittens. These mittens had the insulation I was looking for and still look like new after two seasons.

Craft provides few details for any of their products on their web site. They do not provide a comfortable temperature range like LL Bean does on many of their products.

From my personal experience, I would recommend these mittens. Except in the coldest conditions, my hands actually sweat in these mittens.

Sometimes the only thing that will keep you warm is a house. If you have Raynaud’s Disease these mittens should be a good option.

best way to enjoy winter running, craft gloveFor Christmas, I received these Hybrid Weather Gloves. They are a glove with a slip over cover to keep your fingers warm and dry.

I have not worn them yet, but I know people who have these gloves and they love them. They give you the dexterity of a glove with the option for extra protection from the elements when you need it.

Sometimes my hands sweat even on a cold day, having the option to take a layer off of my hands will be helpful.

Many runners start cold and then warm up as they run. It’s not unusual to see gloves on the road during a race. I’ve even seen expensive gloves on the ground.

It’s easy to get distracted during a race and drop a nice hat or pair of gloves. The word to the wise is always that it’s okay to be cool or even cold at the beginning of a race; you will warm up. With that in mind, you may want to wear an inexpensive pair of gloves and hat to a race.

They may not keep you as warm at the start, but you will warm up and who wants to loose a $50 pair of gloves. That can make for an uncomfortable ride home.

For your training runs, it makes sense to be comfortable. A training run is a controlled environment. You should be comfortable. We don’t need excuses for staying home. If you can afford it, gear up for the winter that is coming.

I hope that these tips help you have a comfortable winter running season. Winter is a great time to run and staying comfortable is the best way to enjoy winter running.

Invest in one or two items this season and you are likely to enjoy them for years to come.

Run well my Friends and Happy New Year!

Andy

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Adidas – BAA announce new store

The BAA and Adidas announce a new retail store

Adidas, running shoesMay 2nd, 2015 Adidas and the Boston Marathon, announce the launch of the Boston Marathon® RunBase in partnership with Marathon Sports, Inc. The Adidas exclusive community experience will open mid-April just steps from the finish line. The initiative is the first of its kind in the U.S. and will be the center of running in Boston, located at the 26-mile mark of the legendary course on Boylston Street.

RunBase is more than a shop to buy running shoes. Check out the full announcement on the BAA web site for more cool details.

If you register with Adidas they will send you a discount code for 15% off through April 19th.

Through April 30th Adidas is offering free shipping on orders over $49.00. I think we all know it wont be hard to spend $49.

Run well my friends,

Andy

2015 Running Shoe Guide

Spring is in the air and a runner’s thoughts turn to…  New Running shoes, of course!

Every year the running shoe companies churn out new versions of old favorites and roll out a few new styles and concepts for us. 2015 is now different.

Brooks Adrenaline, running shoesI’ve been running in Brooks Adrenaline for over 10 years. When I first started running I had toe and blister problems. I switched to Brooks because they had a larger toe box. That change relieved 90% of my foot problems.

Why would I look at anything else, right?

The shoe companies aren’t spending millions of dollars on research and development just to keep engineers and designers on staff. They do it because material science evolves. New discoveries are made and new principals applied to shoe design and manufacturing.

Many people recommend that you switch out your shoes for your weekly runs. Different shoes put pressure on different parts of your feet, have different support and will feel different on your feet. Change is good and sometimes you discover your new favorite shoe.

Swap in your new shoes on shorter runs and wear your current shoe for longer runs. As you become more comfortable and confident in the new shoe, the new shoe can be your long run shoe and the older shoe can be for your shorter runs.

Many people have told me that new shoes do not need a break in period. This may be true, but you should go on short runs with your new shoes until you know how your feet will react to them. The best shoe for everyone else could cause you a world of problems. You don’t want to discover this on a 20 mile long run.

Adidas Ultra Boost

I recently tried on the Ultra Boost. The shoe is very different from what I currently wear.

Energy-returning boost™ in the midsole gives these men’s running shoes a soft but not too-soft feel. They have a breathable mesh upper with a bootie-like fit and feature a grippy rubber outsole that’s built to log miles. – Adidas

Adidas, running shoesThe shoe fit tightly in the toe box area with the mesh material gripping the knuckle of my big toe. The front of the shoe is all mesh without any of the strips that go from the lace structure to the toe of the shoe. These strips probably gave some structure to the toe box and kept the shoe away from my toes.

The heal of the shoe is also unique. The cup for the heel is split in the back with the center inch or so made of a mesh fabric. I only went out for a short run but it felt like the shoe may fall off. When I sat down and pulled on the shoe, it was obvious the shoe wasn’t going anywhere.

The tongue of the shoe is integrated into the upper. I’ve never seen this before. Many shoes have a tab to run a lace through and hold the tongue in place. This is an innovative approach to holding your tongue.

Because this shoe is so different from anything I’ve worn before, I’d love to try them on a longer term basis. It would be interesting to see how they feel on my daily run and a long run.

Adidas and the BAA just announced a new store on Boylston Street in Boston. It’s a new retail concept for Adidas and looks really cool. It’s called Boston Marathon RUNBASE. If you sign up for their mailing list you get a 15% discount.  I have no affiliation with Adidas or the BAA.

2015 Running Shoe Guide:

2015 Running Gear Guide: Road Shoes

from Competitor.com. You can also check out their complete 2015 Running Gear Guide for information on everything you need for running.

From Runner’s World I have their

Runner’s World 2015 Spring Shoe Guide

Under Armour seems to be coming on strong. A friend gave a good review of the Speedform Gemini shoe. He writes his reviews after running 50+ miles in a shoe. A real runner with real opinions.

These shoe guides have plenty of names that you are familiar with and some that you may not be. I’m constantly surprised by new names, or new to me anyway.

Hope you find what you are looking for.

Run Well my Friends!

Andy

Brooks Adrenaline ASR GTX

Brooks Adrenaline ASR GTX shoe review.

Brooks Adrenaline ASR GTX review

I’ve been wearing Brooks Adrenaline GTS running shoes for about 10 years. They are a great pair of running shoes and have served me well. As a runner, when I find something that works I stick with it. Brooks Running shoes work for me.

The need for change

Brooks adrenaline ASR, gore-tex, winter runningA few weeks ago I went into Marathon Sports in Melrose to see if they had anything to help with cold weather running. The past few year’s winter cold has been rough on my feet. I’ve upgraded my running socks, but it was time to upgrade my running shoes. They suggested the Brooks Adrenaline ASR GTX running shoe.

Brooks calls these an all-terrain shoe. They’re good for road running but give you extra support and traction for trail running and winter conditions.

What I really like about these shoes is the GORE-TEX lining. Most shoes have a ventilated toe box which is great in July, but not in February.

The GORE-TEX membrane is waterproof, windproof and provides some insulation to help keep my feet warm. I had been looking for a shoe that does not have a ventilated toe box. I did some research, but not enough. I have since found several brands that make winter shoes and a few that also use Gore-TEX.

Check out this review of the 10 Best Winter Running Shoes of 2015 from Gear Patrol. They also have a 2015 review on Winter Running Gloves.

Product Testing

I tested these shoes on the road in the real world. And while I got a discount on last year’s model, I did pay for these shoes.  Continue reading “Brooks Adrenaline ASR GTX”

LaceLocker Review

lacelocker, laces, running shoesHow many times have you been out for a run and had your laces come undone?

I recently received a pair of LaceLockers from Carol Stanley at STASH Sporting Goods.

LaceLockers are a handy way to keep your laces tied and your run on track.

In running as in life, there are things you can control and things you just have to say, well I won’t say what I say. But you get my drift.

The laces on your running shoes are 100% under your control. Some people like them loose, some tight. Experienced runners know not to knot them too tightly as your feet tend to swell during a long run. Due to nerves or habit, some people tie their shoes several times before a race.

No matter how tight you tie yours on, you don’t want your laces coming un-done and making your trip a short fall.

LaceLocker is an ingenious solution. The instructions below show how they work.

Continue reading “LaceLocker Review”

Cold Weather Running

Cold Weather Running is here!

It may not be Winter yet, but it sure feels like it. I managed to run 23.86 miles last week which brought my total miles run for 2014 to 927.18 miles.

Garmin says the temperature Tuesday night was 28°, the wind was 16mph, so the “real feel” was 17°. Maybe I’m just getting old, but my fingers and toes really feel the bite of Jack Frost even at this moderately cold temperature.

Saturday I finished my week with the 25th Annual Burbank YMCA 5K Classic in Wakefield, MA. This was my 6th in a series of 50 5Ks.

Factoring in the wind chill the temp was 21°. This was a small race with 182 runners. The race was well-organized, but they did not have my name on the registered runners list. I registered on October 19th. This may have more to do with Active.com than the race organizers.

I came in 19th over all and 4th out of 19 men 50-59. My official time was 22:50 or a 7:21 pace. The course was a little long at 3.18 miles, but that’s okay. The previous two races have been short, so I guess it all balances out.

Continue reading “Cold Weather Running”