I just got some new winter running tights with reflective panels and Gore WindPro lining for water and wind resistance. I’m hoping to be able to run in these along the Wasatch Front of Utah (Utah and Salt Lake Counties) in temperatures between 10 and 40 F. They’re compression fit, but I got them a little large since I don’t like that squeeze feeling. More in the video.
To Glove or Not to Glove?
So what’s the deal about gloves?
Some powerlifters and bodybuilders, etc. believe that gloves protect the hands from getting callouses that are needed to protect them from the bar. If that’s true then you should never wear gloves, and instead should build up your callouses and earn them.
Others believe that a normal person working a normal job who will never ever bench 400 pounds should just wear gloves and not worry about it. If you want to troll bodybuilding and powerlifting message boards just post that gloves are essential and watch the flames grow into an inferno.
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Winter Trail Running is one of my favorite training routines. I love the cold air. I love the snow underfoot. It’s much softer than running on pavement. This morning it was 2 degrees F in Keystone Colorado. I had some other things to do, or I would have run first thing in the morning.
My 12 year old son wasn’t up for Winter Trail Running, but decided to go snowshoeing instead. I gave him a little head start. After a while I started up the road behind Keystone Resort in Colorado. The Ski Patrol uses this road to haul injured skiers down to meet the ambulance. Sure enough at the gate to the road an ambulance waited. About a quarter mile up the road I stepped to the side to allow the snowmobile to pass. There was an injured skier in the sled, with red and blue lights flashing.
For Winter Trail Running you have to experiment a lot with clothing and shoes. I try to dress as lightly as possible. This afternoon it’s about 15 degrees, but the sun will be going behind the ridge soon and the temperature will drop. I’ll also spend some time walking with my son. My plan is to run and walk in intervals. The Polar Graph shows my intervals best in the heart rate zone lines.
For my Winter Trail Running, actually any trail running, I like to wear my Polar RS800CX GPS G5 Heart Rate Monitor. I like the graphing functions in Polar ProTrainer, and export the data to Google Earth so I can see it from a very different angle. Using the Polar WebLink software I can upload my data to PolarPersonalTrainer.com but that’s very clunky. I only do that to add my Training Load data. That way I can plan my intensity of training for the next few days to ensure proper recovery.
Winter Trail Running Clothing
Today for winter trail running I wore a thin long sleeve training tee as a baselayer. Over that I wore a thin zipper hoodie. For my outer layer I wore a windproof winter training jacket. I wore a thin beanie from TNF, and in the shadow of the setting sun, I flipped the hood up. For gloves I wore a pair of REI winter cycling gloves with the lobster configuration, since my hands were a bit cold last year in my fleece gloves.
My lower body winter trail running choice was a single layer loose winter tight by Sporthill. I’ve never worn it before so it was a bit risky. It felt just a little warm in the sun, and just perfect in the shadows. On my feet I wore a pair of Injinji liners under a pair of Smartwool PHD thick mountaineering socks. They fit just perfect in the Salomon Men’s Spikecross 3 CS Winter Trail Running Shoes. I wore these on my hike up Quandary last winter. They have sharp square rubber lugs on the sole and steel spikes that stick in the ice. Tip: don’t put them on and walk on your tile or carpet if you can help it. They’re also noisy on asphalt.
Everything worked fine. I did sweat a little bit, and it got chilled a lot during those times I walked with my son. As soon as I started moving I warmed up again quickly, so I think it was a good balance. The shoes worked good, and my feet were never cold. These are very thick socks though. One thing I noticed is that these shoes do have a bit of a heel, and it’s very stiff. If you’re used to flatter, or more cushioned shoes it will take a bit of effort to stay forward on your toes. Especially on the downhills.
Spiking the Mafate WP
So I decided to spike my Hoka One One Mafate WP. First of all I posted on their Facebook wall, asking if it would be okay, since I have no clue what the internal structure is, and I didn’t want to run into any air pockets. They replied quickly and said it would be fine. I went to a few stores trying to find #6 x 3/8 hex head sheet metal screws. Finally at the Ace Hardware in Silverthorne, CO, I found a box and got it. I charged up my drill and went to work. First you clean and mark the sole. You want to put in about 8 total screws, maybe more, balanced around the ball of the foot, and some on the heel and outside heel area. I marked mine on the larger lugs, though I don’t know if it matters too much.
I used a 1/16″ drill bit chucked way in, so that only about 1/2″ was sticking out, and drilled on the marks. Then I switched to a 3/8″ hex bit and sunk the screws until they felt tight. I set the drill clutch to #3, but it never clicked, so I don’t know if it would just keep stripping out the hole if you kept going – be careful.
Running Below Freezing pt 2
Today (blogging time) I had a chance to test them on a road I usually run a bit in the winter, so I could get a feel for them. Keystone Gulch Road connects a side road from Mountain House Base to North Peak and Outback Base at Keystone Resort. Snowmobiles, logging trucks, snowcats use the road regularly for work and rescue, and a variety of runners, snowshoers, pole hikers, and skiers use the road for training. The surface varies from gravel/snow/slush mixed, to hard ice, chopped ice, and soft and firm packed snow.
Accuweather said it was 20 with a windchill of 10, and I figured I was pretty warm last time at 10, so I put on some Pearl Izumi windblocker tights, an Under Armour coldgear zip t-neck and boxer briefs, a Mountain Hardwear Superpower Hoodie, A TNF running beanie (discontinued model), and my First Ascent windpro gloves. On my feet I had the usual Injinji liners, and Smartwool PHD compression kneesocks. I decided to forego my TNF Better Than Naked wind jacket.
I put the shoes on at the door, so I wouldn’t scratch my floors, and then went out and did a warmup walk while waiting for the Garmin 305 to get a satellite lock. The sound of clicking on the pavement was a bit odd (even over my Kittie playlist), and I purposefully walked on some slicker ice sections to test it out, and had really good connection to it. Felt stable. I started the Garmin at the mouth of Keystone Gulch Road, and ran uphill for 3.04 miles to the base of North Peak area at Keystone.
It was dang cold. I never really got warm. I kept the Superpower hood on almost the entire run. I was a bit slower than previously, but that might be because of my testing the modified Warrior Diet, or the altitude (9600′) getting me a bit more this trip, a bad night sleep – who knows? As far as dress goes, I did not get at all sweaty except for a few spots on my beanie, but then again, I did not ever feel warm. I think a windshell would be an absolute necessity this cold. The gloves were too cold, the Windpro was letting enough air in to keep me chilled. Perhaps something like Gore Windblocker would be better. I’ll dig around in my gloves to see what I have for next time.
Except for the deep looser snow (I did roll my ankle once – something people who fear Hoka shoes mention on the net a lot), the shoes ran quite well. I was pretty happy with them. I think I might add a couple screws to the midfoot area, since the Mafate seems to have a bit of rocker there. If you like the Hoka, and like to run in the winter, and might encounter firm snow or ice, I highly recommend you consider this relatively cheap and quick solution.
Video above is primarily to demonstrate the “clicking sound” on ice. 10:00 pace on very slippery hard packed snow.
I’ve been wanting to get to Colorado for some high altitude cold training, since Utah has been so warm and dry so far this winter (aside from nice ice climbing I got in). Earlier today I got a chance to run at 5 degrees F on a dirt road for emergency and maintenance access to the back lifts at Keystone Resort.
The Keystone Gulch Road starts at about 9,240′ and at my 2.5 mile turnaround point was 9,850′ for a total of approximately 600′ of gain and loss. Enough stats though, and since a friend on the net asked me about layering for winter running, here’s how I approached running at 27 degrees below freezing.
First of all, the bottom layers. For undies I wore Under Armour Heatgear longsleeve tee, and Boxerjock series O. I also like the series T for hiking and skating, but haven’t tried running in them yet. For socks, I wore my favorite Injinji Toe Sock Crew Liners under Smartwool PHD Compression socks. This is a tough layer to get on right without bunching, since the compression socks fit me quite tightly.
Over that I wore a pair of Salomon Windstopper tights. For shoes today I’m wearing Hoka One One Mafate WP (goretex) to test for snow traction and warmth with the goretex layer. I considered a midweight baselayer or thin softshell but having run at 10 degrees before and sweated quite a bit in a softshell, I opted instead for a TNF Windstopper Hybrid full zip jacket. It’s a very thin vest-like layer of thinly laminated windstopper with thin fleece back, sleeve, and side panels for ventilation.
For a hat, I wore a TNF Flight Series Beanie that I think is now discontinued, very thin and breathable. Finally, for gloves I wore a pair of Eddie Bauer First Ascent Wind Pro Gloves. I had good experiences with this glove in Alaska, so felt it would work good enough.
So now, after all of that, how did it work out? I was cold most of the run up, and some of the run down. I prefer to run “dry” in the winter if possible, so I’d rather be a little bit cool and not sweat. This is a fine line to run, and I don’t really recommend it to new runners, or those who’ve never run below freezing before. If you get soaked and have something go wrong and end up sitting in the shade for a while you’ll be quite uncomfortable at the very least.
The Keystone Gulch Road I ran on curves along a creek bed between trees, cliffs, and hills, so you’re in and out of the sun frequently, so you warm in the sun, and cool in the shade. Overall I was quite happy, and never so cold as to feel like bailing. At one point I pulled out my earbuds (cheap Sony and the cables were very very stiff from the cold) and had to pull off my left glove to put them back in, and I ended up having to curl my hand up in the palm of my glove for a few minutes to rewarm my fingers.
Some interesting points I need to mention. With the Goretex shoes and Windstopper front panels on my tights, I got some nice balls of moisture condensed on my ankles. The Mafate shoe has unusually small lugs for a trail shoe (this is not news btw) and I did a small amount of slipping on icier portions of the road (they run trucks and snowmobiles up and down the road, but do not plow). I have asked Hoka One One about it, and they say it would be okay to spike them, so I might try that soon enough.
Finally, I think that without building up to it, without knowing your own body and how it reacts to cold, what you expect for pace and how that will affect your warmth, it would be hard for me to recommend you run with this few clothes on at that cold of a morning. Build up to it slowly, test it out on shorter runs very close to home, so you can bail to safety without hurting yourself. YMMV – enjoy!
injinji Liner Crew Toesocks
Smartwool PhD Graduated Compression Ultra Light Bike Socks
Men’s HeatGear® Fitted Longsleeve Crew Tops by Under Armour
Men’s O Series Boxerjock® 6″ Bottoms by Under Armour
Hoka One One Mafate WP Trail Running Shoe – Men’s
Eddie Bauer First Ascent First Ascent Wind Pro Glove