Winter Running Gear 2020/21

The season is upon us here in Alberta where the temperatures have begun to slowly recess back into the misery of what will be the beginning of Winter soon. The bad part of winter is the extreme cold temperatures. The good part is you can break out your winter running gear and start looking ahead to being outdoors and still continuing your cardio efforts.

Last year I started running on December 2nd, 2019 with a friend at 05:30am from a local YMCA. We’d jog/walk about 3-kilometres twice a week. In the month of December it was primarily getting exposed to the temperatures, learning how to add extra layers and figuring out the style to which I ran alongside my training partner. By the end of December the 3-kilometres through the snow along our route began to build and the snow started feeling like sand under our gait. It wasn’t until Christmas morning that my wife asked if I would be running in the New Year’s Resolution run on January 1st, 2020. It had been a goal of mine in the back of my head for several years. I thought what the heck, why not complete that 5-kilometre run? It’ll be a good test of my endurance and work ethic. Plus it will be interesting to see how I do when its in a competitive situation?

Nearing December 28th, I came up with a New Year’s Goal that I would run or bike ride in 12-races throughout 2020. The goal was to complete a race per month for 12-months. I figured this would also keep me interested in pursuing my fitness goals by providing myself with challenges along the way.

On January 1st, I arrived at the local YMCA with my gear on. I was ready to pounce and as this was my first ever running competition, I had no clue what all of this entailed. Inside I checked in, realized I was dressed far too warm to be standing in the building. I said hello to a few familiar faces then

Runners waiting to start the race

went outside to stand in the cool morning air and stretch my entire body. Slightly after 10:00am the race announcers had everyone merge towards the starting line. A ginormous red archway which read START at the top in gigantic white letters. With my trusty cellphone I took a couple of images

Somewhere in the back of the pack prior to starting

and prepared my Alltrails app, for the race ahead, as I liked seeing what the route would be for which we would be running, as well as I enjoyed tracking the results and learning more about where I could improve my running technique. And of course see what my overall time for this 5-kilometre race would be?

I never did hear the gun shot which announced the start of the race. However I did see a large group of people in front of me start to move slowly forwards. It reminded me of what happens when an avalanche starts to breakaway from a mountain side it slowly rushes forward until it disperses all over the place. The front of the pack going at a far more rapid pace then the back of the pack which is somewhere where I was now fast walking through the back of the building around the side and down the drive. I had determined the start for myself would be once I crossed the roadway into the neighborhood where the majority of the race would be run.

My heart thundered and that competitive edge inside myself started eyeing up the competition as we progressed forward. As soon as I was across the street the maniac inside me started running full out sprints down the street behind people trying to catch up and pass them which last all of twenty-three and a half seconds until I nearly floored myself. dumbass what are your doing? Screamed my inner self. Are you trying to kill yourself before the race is over?

It took me nearly 1.5-kilometres to talk myself down from the ultra competitiveness inside me, as I slowed my sprints into consecutive jogs with a bit of fast paced walking in-between. Continuing down the roadway behind the people who were slightly faster paced than I, and slightly ahead of those who were slightly behind my own pace. Thankfully I had not killed myself or anyone else during this attempt at a Resolution Run. What came of it was the knowledge that you are not competing against anyone but yourself, and to bring your A game for your own results.

By the time I stopped moving and had sprinted out the last 100-yards of the race, I paused the Alltrails app from recording the race and eventually learnt that I had improved my 3-kilometre pace by 1.5 minutes per kilometre! I was ecstatic, as I headed into the gymnasium then up to the mens change room to remove my sopping wet running clothes and make my way downstairs to the food stations. I consumed a couple of bananas, a couple of sausages and a pancake or two. Then back upstairs to grab my things and disperse.

Around a week later a good friend asked about how my running was going? As he too wanted to start but was unsure what type of clothing he would need. Lucky for him I had already gone through the trials of what was good and what was bad for the combination of necessary clothing for Alberta winter running and sent him the following list along with the image, in order for him to locate and purchase all of the correct gear.

  • Top Left:
    • Outer-shell blue Arcteyx jacket (paid $40 USD black Friday sale)
    • Mid-layer New Balance with merino wool. (paid $99 @ MEC)
    • Base-layer Columbia heavy weight long underwear (paid $75 on-sale Sport Chek)
    • Husky gloves (paid $20 for 3 pairs home depot)
    • Darn Tuff Merino wool socks (paid $25  Campers Village)
  • Top Right:
    • New Balance Outer layer heavy weight running pants (paid $50 Running Room)
    • Wind river midweight long underwear ($40 Mark’s Warehouse)
    • Columbia heavy weight long underwear ($75 on sale Sport Chek)
    • Balaclava ($22 MEC)
    • Running Toque ($20 MEC)
    • used FITBIT ($0 gifted from friend) – anyone fitness watch will do
    • Saucony Trailhead running shoes ($75 DSW shoes) 
Winter Running Gear