I know this time of year everyone with a blog is writing a gift guide or must-have list so I apologize for adding another one to the mix. Being a mere week away from Christmas I’m clearly too late for any runner-gift suggestions, however, I am seriously digging my current winter running gear.

We’re pretty lucky here in Vancouver that our winters aren’t usually all that cold. Rainy and wet, yes, but super cold temperatures don’t always come our way. We hit a really cold streak in the past couple weeks however and since my marathon training is ramping up, I’ve had no choice but to hit the roads in the subzero temps anyway. (Note to Calgary friends: yes, I know you guys are probably laughing when I talk about our ‘cold’ weather but give me a break, it’s cold for Vancouver and you know it!)

I usually struggle to find just the right combination of winter run gear to keep me toasty but I’ve been super lucky this year. I was really impressed with how warm and comfortable I’ve been on my coldest runs lately and here’s what I’ve been wearing…

Feet: SmartWool socks

I tried wool running socks for the first time last year when I was training for Goofy and loved them. I currently only have SmartWool brand socks (below left) but have just purchased some Ininji wool toe socks (not quite as pictured, below right) that I’m excited to try. Even soaking wet, wool socks keep my feet feeling so warm.


Pants: Mizuno Breath Thermo Layered Tights

As a brand ambassador for Mizuno, I was given a pair of their Breath Thermo layered tights to try out and holy cow, I really do love them. I’ve been wearing another brand’s winter tights for the past couple years and I couldn’t believe how much warmer the Breath Thermo pants are. I think for a tall person, their fit is on the longer side of anything I’ve tried on and I’m not spending my whole run yanking them back up again. I definitely recommend these if you’re looking for some super-warm run tights.

Slightly awkward shot but you can see
the tights well!

Inner Layer: Longsleeve or 1/2 Zip

Depending on just how cold it is, I’ll vary my inner, upper layer. I picked up a Lululemon Base Runner long sleeve at the outlet awhile back and really like the tight fit and long sleeves. Perfect for layering under a run jacket. If it’s even colder, I’ll grab my Mizuno Breath Thermo 1/2 zip either instead or on top of another top since it is super warm and also has a higher neck.

Don’t I look happy and warm? It was actually almost -10 degrees…

Outer Layer: Lululemon Rain Jacket

A couple years ago I was on the hunt for a nice running rain jacket and was finding that everything was too short in the arms and body for my tall frame. I happened to find the Lululemon Run: In the Rain jacket and it was a great fit. With the inner cuffs and long body, it fit perfect. It’s technically meant for rain but has enough warmth to it that if I wear a warm inner layer, it’s just right. I love the placement of the pockets in this coat and the hood actually stays on your head and is nice if it gets super windy or rainy.

Head/Ears: Run Cap and/or Headband

I’m a big fan of a headband that covers my ears. I find that if my ears are cozy, I feel pretty good on a cold run. Depending on just how cold it is, I have a lightweight headband from Lululemon or my Mizuno Breath Thermo headband is great when it’s really cold.

Heading out for a run in the garage this
afternoon in my trusty headband

If it’s going to be raining, I’ll throw on a run cap so that I have a brim to keep my face somewhat dry and then layer a headband on over top. It’s a good little combo that works great for me.

Hands: Running Room or New Balance Gloves

I have several pair of run gloves but the ones I seem to wear the most are my Running Room gloves and my New Balance gloves. I’ve had the RR ones forever but just recently got the NB ones and love that they’re lightweight and have a ‘phone-finger’ on them. Usually just a light glove is enough to keep my hands warm and even on cold days, I often take my gloves off.  When it’s well below zero however, I also have a pair of Mizuno fleece gloves I can throw on for extra warmth.

Other winter running must-haves:

Aside from my warn run gear there are a few other things I consider must-haves running in this cold weather…

  • Ice spikes – Not that I need them very often but I like knowing I have a pair handy if it gets really slippery out. I have the inexpensive Due North ones from Costco and really love them.
  • Good tunes – I enjoy running with music and if it’s super cold out, a good song can really get my feet moving and keep me warm! I love having a new playlist on a particularly cold day.
  • Handana – I’ve spoken about these before but I like to throw on one over my gloves to keep the snot off the gloves and where it belongs. I still bring along Kleenex for when you need a big blow!
  • Good Hydration – Obviously always a must-have but I’m including it because I just wanted to say how much better water and electrolyte drink (my current fave in Skratch) taste when they’re ice cold. I LOVE taking drink breaks when I know it’s going to be ice cold – yum!

I know that everyone’s favourites are different and we all value and love different things when it comes to the products we pick for our running. I figured I’d share my current favourites in case you were looking to try something new.
Any of your own favourites you want to share?

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