March 25, 2020

New Gear, New Goal

My Top Picks for All Things Winter Running Gear

The Commitment – LeAnn’s VIP Day from Experts and Empires on Vimeo.

Winter running gear—EXPENSIVE! LeAnn committing to her first marathon—PRICELESS!

A lesson in “being careful what you ask for”—watch my wide-eyed expression and my “holy crap—what did I just do” commitment of saying “Yes!” to my first full marathon!  Watch, The Commitment!

You name it–I have now learned firsthand about all things winter running gear! (And, I thought running was an inexpensive sport . . . yeah!)

YakTrax, GORE-TEX, moisture-wicking, compression tights, waterproof, wind-resistant, Skhoop skirts, goggles . . . Enough to make your head spin and it’s amazing a person can even move after putting all this gear on, let alone RUN!

Three weeks ago, I spent an afternoon at Boulder Running Company near Denver, shopping for outdoor winter running gear with Manager Collette Schoenegge and Brook Kreder of Brook’s First Marathon. Brook arranged this shopping trip as part of my VIP Day with her upon being declared the winner of a 90-Day No Excuses Activity Challenge.

LeAnn & Brook at Boulder Running Company

LeAnn & Brook at Boulder Running Company

You see . . . Brook knew my secondary goal (after running my last half marathon in October) was to learn how to run outside in a Minnesota winter!

I refuse to make this a winter of sitting on the couch waiting for the snow to melt!  I plan to embrace winter—the nip on my nose, the ice and snow underfoot, and frozen eyelashes—wholeheartedly!

A girl’s gotta have the right gear and look good in it, too—even when running outside in the winter time! With that said, I compiled a list of all things winter running gear (for those of you who may not have a clue what goes into preparing for a winter run).

Here’s where function meets fashion!

At 16⁰F today, I set out at noon (the warmest hour of the day) for a 3-5 miler around the neighborhood in the fresh-fallen snow. I was prepared in all areas (but one) donning the following, winter-appropriate apparel, yet longing for some Kleenex for my drippy faucet, my “runner’s sniffles”.

LeAnn’s Top Gear Picks for a Minnesota Winter Run

Let’s Talk Feet

While in Denver, Collette put me on a treadmill at 6.0 mph in various trail running shoes and analyzed my runner’s gait (foot strike, pronation, supination—you name it). My strike was dead-on center in the following Brook’s trail running shoes.

It wasn’t long before I realized today that I should’ve had my YakTrax on for traction in the snow-covered ice (had a bit of a tough time making it up the incline around here). Just a piece of advice about YakTrax . . . I bought mine at a local sporting goods store, but have since seen them priced much less at Walmart.

As winter came on, I realized that all of my fair-weather running socks were leaving about an inch of open ankle skin between my sock rim and tights. Yet another recommendation–Smartwool socks.

• Brooks Lady Adrenaline ASR 10 Gore-Tex Trail Running Shoes • YakTrax Pro • Smartwool socks

Brooks Lady Adrenaline ASR 10 Gore-Tex Trail Running Shoes

Brooks Lady Adrenaline ASR 10 Gore-Tex Trail Running Shoes



Let’s Talk Bottoms

I was unbelievably content today wearing the following three bottom layers. I slipped on some long underwear (just in case) and shimmied on my favorite wicking and wind-proof Dri-Fit tights from Nike. These really do a great job of eliminating the freezer burn on the quads when running this time of year—now a non-issue!

And, what helps with the bumm area is my new down-insulated, mini-running skirt from Skhoop (I’m thanking Alaskan marathoner friend, Cathy, for this piece of advice. If it’s good enough for Alaska, it should be good enough for Minnesota.)

• long underwear • Nike Dri-Fit, wicking and wind-proof tights • Skhoop down-insulated, mini-running skirt



The Brand, Skhoop

The Brand, Skhoop

Let’s Talk Tops

Today, on the run I was wearing three layers atop and found myself too warm, actually. But, that’s what they say—dress in layers, so you can de-layer, should you need to. A good rule of thumb on this—Dress as if it’s 20⁰ warmer than it is and you should be feeling just right after your warmup. What follows is my strategy for the coldest of winter days I plan to run (anything above 0⁰F).

• Icebreaker Merino GT or Smartwool wicking base layers • Nike Running Dri-Fit Jackets or fleece insulating middle layer • Sugoi Versa wind and waterproof outer layers

Sugoi Versa Jacket

Sugoi Versa Jacket

Let’s Talk Hands

My hands were frozen at the end of my Rocky Mountain Run at 23⁰F three weeks ago.  So in Denver, Brook and Collette hooked me up some awesome mitten gloves. The colder it gets, the more a runner should consider mittens or a 3-in-1. Wearing the mittens, along with the gloves, my fingers felt perfect in today’s temp in the teens.

You might also find the following article interesting: Runnin’ On a Rocky Mountain High

• Brooks Utopia 3-in-1 Mitten Gloves

Brooks Utopia 3-in-1 Mitten Gloves

Brooks Utopia 3-in-1 Mitten Gloves

Let’s Talk Head

As much as 30% of your body heat can escape through your extremities, so it’s important to keep that heat in! Today, I wore a typical stocking cap, my Monster cap from the Monster Dash, similar to Brook’s CAT cap, as well as a fleece scarf. I also have a cap with ponytail cutout made by Champion and purchased at Target recently. But, here is what is recommended for head/neck gear. My plan is to get my hands on a face mask or Neck Gaiter for runners.

• Thermal hat – fleece or wool • Neck Gaiter



Finally, I did what any runner would do after a Minnesota winter run—made myself my new favorite, winter run recover drink—hot chocolate. Cheers to winter running!

Related Blog Post: Running on Empty



P.S. Don’t miss out on further details of my VIP Soul-to-Sole Day! Follow my blog by clicking the Follow button (in the lower right corner) to be notified when I post even more of the play-by-play details of what went down during my visit with Brook in Denver.

P.S.S. A HUGE thank you to Collette Schoenegge, manager at Boulder Running Company in Littleton, Colorado.  And, a Happy Birthday, too!

P.S.S.S. Find out more about How to Dress for Cold Weather Running. Unsure what to wear on your run? Use Runner’s World .

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