We are in the midst of winter running and to help keep you prepared for whatever Old Man Winter throws your way, as part of Running Coaches’ Corner with Susie, Debbie and Rachel (details below!), I’m kicking off a series of posts all about winter running… starting today! 

I’m starting with the winter running gear guide… I feel like the biggest change that I’ve made over the past few years of running in winter weather (well, Austin not included since it was pretty warm down there) is investing in some really good gear. I feel like it makes a world of difference to wear an actual piece of clothing that’s designed for cold weather running. I used to run in cotton long-sleeved shirts and sweatshirts and you don’t stay warm AT ALL. They aren’t designed for you to battle wind and cold for miles upon miles. 

I know that gear can be expensive, but I feel like the investment is worth it. Especially since you can wear it for years to come (some of the gear I have comes from when I lived in Minneapolis back in the day!), and you can wear it for other outdoor activities too (I usually wear my running gear when I go hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, sledding… whatever it may be outside). 

Winter running gear guide for 2016 | Crazy Running Girl


That being said, here is my winter running gear guide for 2016. 


Cascadia Jacket from Brooks Running

Winter running in the Brooks Cascadia Jacket | Crazy Running Girl


I’ve talked about the Cascadia Jacket a lot over the past few weeks, and for good reason. I am a HUGE fan of this jacket. I wear it on every run outside and it has such an excellent fit. The jacket doesn’t move (which makes me happy — hate when they ride up!) and when I use the pockets, they don’t bounce… which is so important!


Gore-Tex Running Shoes

The Gore-Tex Brooks 9 running shoe works great for winter running | Crazy Running Girl

Gore-Tex sent me a pair of Brooks Ghosts a few weeks ago with their special technology — aka an encasing so that your feet stay dry and warm on the run. You can feel such a difference with these shoes, it’s absolutely incredible! When you are running through inches of snow (my current favorite), worrying about your toes should be the last thing on your mind… and Gore-Tex makes that possible! They are a little bit more pricey, but they are definitely worth the investment. 


nanoSpikes from Kahtoola



Sometimes you need a little extra traction when it comes to running outside in the winter (see above… that’s ice on a road. I know). I love running the nanoSpikes from Kahtoola — they give me the right amount of grip but don’t add a lot of bulkiness which means my running form isn’t compromised. 


A buff

Winter running with a buff | Crazy Running Girl


Admittedly, I just discovered a buff for running a few weeks ago and it’s my new favorite! Minneapolis temperatures are plummeting (here we come negative temperatures!) which means, for any run that you actually do outside, you need full coverage. A buff makes it easy to still breathe while keeping your face protected (and a little warm). 


Ryder Sunglasses



Sometimes I swear that it is brighter in the winter than in the summer and it hurts my eyes (which I know are sensitive). As I mentioned in my holiday gift guide, I love Ryder Sunglasses for a few reasons — mostly because they have photochromatic (change darkeness based on amount of sunlight) and anti-fog which are both essential when running outdoors during the winter. 


Threshold Running Tights

Threshold Tights from Brooks Running | Crazy Running Girl


When it comes to running outside in the winter, you need all the warmth that you can get without it being too warm. What does that even mean!? I’ve tried running in fleece-lined pants and usually they are just too much. Absolutely love the Threshold Running Tights from Brooks, which I feel are a little heftier and still comfortable (and moisture wicking, which is still important!). 


SmartWool Socks


I’ve learned a LOT of lessons about appropriate socks from skiing in Colorado… and have subsequently fallen in love with SmartWool socks which always keep my toes warm, no matter the temperatures. I’m a big fan! And, like I mentioned, these definitely work well for other outdoor activities. 


MPLS / St. Paul Clothing Co. Hat



I absolutely love this hat from MPLS / St. Paul Clothing Company! It keeps my head super warm and it’s stylish to boot. Plus as you can see, it works well for things other than running. 😉 Plus, for every hat that you purchase, MPLS / St. Paul Clothing Co. will donate one to charity. 


Dash Running Gloves

Keeping warm with the Dash running gloves | Crazy Running Girl


I bought these gloves from the Twin Cities Marathon race expo, and I am absolutely hooked. I have been wearing them on every run and they keep my fingers the right amount of warm. I also like that my fingers are still mobile because I like to move them around as I run to keep the blood flowing. 


A running vest

Winter thermal vest from Brooks Running in pink | Crazy Running Girl


I’ve talked about my love for running vests a couple of times and I’m not joking! These are absolutely amazing. They give your core a little extra warmth, and I feel like when your core is warm, the rest of your body feels 100% better. Although, side note, during last weekend’s race, I decided to wear the vest over the jacket and it does better when you wear it closer to your skin. Don’t be a hater (I was for so many years), it’s definitely worth it. 


Solid facial moisturizer


Oh man, I could NOT survive winter without a solid facial moisturizer. I’ve fallen in love with this one. It’s especially helpful here in Minnesota where the air is super dry. Plus, I have a feeling I’ll thank myself in a few decades for taking care of my skin. 😉 


Safety lights

Need a gift idea? Gift runner safety with Illumiseen | Crazy Running Girl


The days are shorter in the winter months which means you are likely running when it’s dark out… I am terrible at this (totally admitting this!), but safety lights — even if you stay on a running trail for your run — are so important so others can see you (especially since when you are layering, you may be covering some of the reflectiveness of your gear!).

There are a lot of safety lights on the market and they are relatively cheap, so find what works for you! (I have heard great things about Illumiseen, and have also used a headlamp that works great for people to see you/you to see where you’re going.) 


Tune in next week as I share my tips on how to dress based on current temperatures. 


What else would you add to the winter running gear guide? Do you have a hard time justifying investing in expensive running gear? 

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