Winter Training Gear

Growing up in the PNW I am accustomed to being able to continue training throughout the winter without significant interruption as long as you have a nice headlamp and don’t mind being wet (because let’s be real, no running jacket I have ever tried is actually waterproof if it still breathes – I dare someone to prove me wrong!). 

Going into my first full winter living in NW Montana, I definitely have some anxiety about the potential of having to make friends with the treadmill (in case you hadn’t heard, I despise it). I know there will be days when ice/conditions will require some treadmill miles and I will come to terms with that when I get there, but in the meantime I have been experimenting with gear that will keep me running (somewhat) comfortably until Spring thaw. Here are a few things that I love right now: 

  1. Headlamp – so many options, but honestly I picked up a 3 pack of the Duracell ones at Costco and they are so bright and reliable. 
  2. Light up dog collar – I love running with my dog, but it gives an extra feeling of safety when I have him with me when I have to go out in the dark. These collars are bright and help me keep track of him and know he is seen! They are also completely adjustable for any size dog and rechargeable! Found on Amazon, BSEEN LED collar
  3. Nathan Light spur – such a nice addition to helping feel seen in dark/foggy conditions without being in the way. Found on Amazon or
  4. Trailheads Fleece ear bands – they have an opening in the back for your ponytail and the fleece is so soft! Comes as just a headband or hat with fold down ear flaps. Amazon or
  5. Rainier Tight from Athleta – They are pricey, and I hate letting myself pay that much for gear… But if you run in cold weather, they are worth EVERY PENNY. I wear them running and all the time in between because they are so soft and cozy. **Disclaimer for those in wet climates: I have not tried these in the rain, and I feel like the fleece would get heavy and not be good when it gets wet but I can’t confirm from experience. Just a thought! Athleta.Gap.Com
  6. Outdoor Research Mittens – Everyone thinks I am crazy for wearing mittens instead of gloves, but sometimes my hands get so cold that I don’t know how my fingers haven’t fallen off by the end of the run. For me, these work way better than regular gloves because my fingers can stay together for warmth, and are a game-changer for extra cold days. “Flurry Mitts” from Outdoor Research, on Amazon or through REI. 
  7. Altra Trail Gaiter – The perfect short gaiter that stays in place to keep rocks/snow/mud out of your shoes. Definitely works best with Altra shoes as the velcro back makes it fit perfectly, but I have honestly snugged them down over my other road shoes and never had an issue. They also help to keep your foot/ankle a little warmer in extra cold conditions! or REI (see below)
  8. Honey Stinger Waffles – Ok not just for winter. These are a year round staple in my pantry (and car console, and purse, and gym bag, and random pockets). But you can’t go wrong with waffles on the go. 
altra running gaiters
Altra Lone Peak trail shoes with gaiters.

I’m sure this list will grow and adapt as the snow starts to fall, but it’s a start. Please share any of your winter running tips/tricks and gear you are loving!