The cold weather season brings a unique set of challenges. How much egg nog should I be drinking? How many days in a row can I wear my favorite sweater without anyone noticing? If I fuel up pre-run with hot chocolate and and candy canes, how much will I regret it later? Clearly, there’s a lot to think about this time of year.
Despite the myriad of decisions you will be making as the temperatures plummet, deciding to forgo your run shouldn’t be one. Let’s face it… you’re not “normal”, as my buddy Calvin pointed out. You’re a crazy committed runner, and not even the harshest winter weather can keep you from your daily run. Since not running is simply not an option, one thing that you should consider is how to keep warm on those chilly runs. Wearing the proper apparel is going to make a huge difference in your running experience, but apparel can only go so far in providing coverage. You’re hands often find themselves left out in the cold. I know what you’re thinking – “But I already have thumbholes and little hand mitts in my sleeves!” Sure, these features are pretty handy (pun intended) , but no matter how long your sleeves, they will always fall short. If you want sufficient protection, coverage, and warmth while running in this winter wonderland, you’re going to want gloves.
Now that we’ve determined the value of a good pair of gloves to keep you warm and protected, here comes the hard part. Which gloves to choose?
For cool day protection, these ASICS gloves provide moisture management, and a slip-free grip: ASICS Everyday Liner Gloves (MSRP: $12.00)
It’s your average winter day. Chilly, but not cold enough to warrant more than a thin layer of coverage. Think of these minimal gloves as an extra layer of skin. The purpose is to shield you from the cold air but not trap too much heat. Because the fabric of technical gloves for running is moisture-wicking, your sweat will be pulled away from your skin so that you can stay dry and comfortable while you focus your run. Since these gloves are relatively thin, you won’t have to sacrifice dexterity for protection. As an added bonus, you can wear them underneath a pair of heavier gloves in more extreme circumstances.
For cold day insulation, these gloves, with an added water-resistant mitt to trap in the heat, will do the trick: Brooks Adapt Gloves II (MSRP: $50.00)
Some days are beyond “cool” but not quite extremely cold, and you need more features within your gloves to keep you warm. You’re either going to want to amp up the insulating layers in your glove, reach for a pair of mitts, or go for the convertible glove-to-mitten option. But why mitts? What makes them so great for keeping your hands extra toasty? Well, mitts provide more warmth than normal gloves because the trapped air between your fingers provides additional insulation. When wearing mitts, you may not have the dexterity you need to update your status on Facebook, but if you could, it would say something like “Killing my run! And OMG, my hands are so warm, and so not frostbitten!” Do not dismay, however; if you desperately need to update that status, the adjustable 2-in-1 glove to mitt option allows for an easy transition between mitten and glove. Boom. The best of both worlds.
For the most hardcore winter weather conditions, these gloves offer deluxe features and extreme protection: Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Gloves (MSRP: $100.00)
It’s snowy, rainy, freezing… you name it and winter is throwing it at you. You need gloves that are rated for the coldest temperatures around. These gloves are thicker, built with sturdy materials to keep the frosty wind out, and with features like an adjustable Velcro cuff, you can keep water and wind out. A fleece lining will make your hands feel toasty and warm. A waterproof and windproof shell blocks out the elements to provide your hands with additional shelter from the conditions. Oh, and don’t forget to update your Twitter followers about your crazy, wintery run… thanks to nifty touch screen-friendly fingertips you can still use your smartphone.
For low-light runs, you’ll be much more visible thanks to these gloves that have not only reflective design details but also built in LED lights: Nathan SpeedShift Gloves w/LED 2014 (MSRP: $50.00)
Along with the freezing temperatures comes shorter, stormier days, and this means that you will come across more situations where you are running in low-light conditions. Poor weather plus a lack of visibility is a recipe for danger, and it’s enough to make all runners want to stand out on the roads. Gloves that come with increased reflectivity, or even LED lights, will shed some light on the situation and keep you seen and safe as you run through the darkness.
So, as you carefully choose which gloves are perfect for your crazy normal winter running needs, remember to drink as much eggnog as you can, wear that favorite sweater as often as you please, and enjoy all of your wintery treats during this beautiful time of year.