Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Winter Running Essentials

Happy Valentine's Day! I can't believe it's already February, sheesh. The weeks are going by so quickly, but I find the days are long. We just finished swimming lessons with the kiddos at work, so I'm thankful for this Family Day long weekend. The snow almost disappeared completely, but then we got another huge dump overnight. We're in Alberta, and I'm ashamed to say I forgot about second Winter (haha)!

Anywho, I finished my first half marathon on February 7th! My friend and I started training in October for this, and my only goal was to finish the race. I finished 21.1 KM in 3:00:24! Our next marathon is on August 21, the Edmonton Half Marathon, and training starts in May. Winter running is actually a lot harder than I expected, despite having a mild Winter this year. The motivation to get outside when it's -10*C and lower, or going to the gym to run on those dreaded treadmills - it's hard. We did it, though! I wanted to share with you some of my Winter running essentials, minus a few things, like shoe spikes (I just never got around to buying any, though I will for next year). 
What I took with me for my half marathon:
  • Gloves - I just use the $3 Wal-Mart gloves because my hands get way too sweaty and warm after about 4km to wear anything thicker. I can still switch my music and check things on my phone if needed with these gloves. They're thin enough to do that!
  • Toque - Your ears will hurt if you're not wearing something to cover them in the cold, and I like having all my hair covered, too. The toque in the picture above is the one we got in our race package, but it was too small with my hair being in a bun, so it's now Rob's work toque, haha! I just use a blue knit one that I bought from Ardene's a couple years ago. Works great!
  • Arm Band + Headphones - I always, always have my phone in the arm band on my arm while Running to get a more accurate reading for the Nike Running app, and some hands-free music. 
  • Gum - While not Whole30, I use gum during my run. It gives me something else to focus on if I'm having a hard time continuing my run, and it helps keep my mouth moist, so I don't feel so dehydrated.
  • Water Belt - I got this for Christmas from my friend! It's awesome! For the long runs, I wear it and I have some Advil, gum, and a LaraBar or two in the zipper pouch. One bottle is usually filled with Gatorade and the other with water. I found it's important to stay hydrated during your Winter runs, even if you don't feel you need to. They're definitely different than Summer runs, where you can feel the dehydration kicking in.
  • Pants - I learned the hard way that it's important to have proper Winter running pants, and undershirts. So I splurged and bought some Nike pants - they're amazing! My thighs and bum hurt really bad after a 16km run with some regular running leggings, and they were definitely red for rest of the day. 
  • Thermal, long sleeve top - It was pretty cheap, and I really like this one because it's got a lot of stretch, but stays where you stretch it to. I pull the sleeves to cover my hands until they warm up (with the gloves on) after 4km. 
  • Hoodie - I am in love with Healthy is The New Skinny's hoodies and tank tops. I bought a hoodie and unfortunately shrunk it in the dryer (so I bought another one, a size up just in case) and now use it for my runs outside. 
  • Sports Bra - This one is from Victoria's Secret! Don't forget some good socks, too. I only wear one pair because I've noticed that my feet swell up during the long runs, and my toes are only really cold for about 3-4km before they're perfectly fine.

This week, I'll also share my favourite apps for motivation and exercising!
I hope your Valentine's or Galentine's Day is wonderful! <3

xo. Nicole

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