The leaves are coming off the trees, the thermometer is starting to drop and the days are soooo much shorter. You know all those signs tell me that cold weather running is right around the corner up heah in Maine and many other parts of the country.
Now I am not an expert or anything, but I have run in cold weather for a few years now and know it is time for us to stop and take a look at the running gear that we will be using for the next several months and maybe, just maybe get rid of some of the old winter running gear you have hoarded for so many years and get some new stuff.
It is a process that I have recently gone through!
Last year when I put my winter stuff into storage, I told myself that when I got it back out, I would go through it to see what was worth keeping and get rid of the gear that was worn-out, didn’t fit or was more than 20 years old. So I did and when II got to looking at each piece of clothing, what I saw didn’t really surprise me, anyone who knows me, knows that I definitely am not a fashionista and the pile on the floor versus the keep pile proved it.
However, I am getting to the point that when I go run out in public – I don’t want to look like “that guy”, you know the Throwback Thursday guy, who never left the 80’s and 90’s (after all they were the “glory days”), be the one wearing old rag-bag running gear that has a certain runner’s stench or be the one people laugh at behind their back and groan loudly when they see you running in them, especially if they had planned to run with you..
The more I looked at most of my winter running gear, the more that I thought about being merciful to other’s eyes and noses. Which meant that I became merciless in culling out the old, worn-out, running gear that should have been thrown out 10 years ago, hell probably 20 years ago.
Okay, now that I got rid of so much of my old winter running gear (some to Goodwill, but mostly to the trash), what is the next step.
Buy new gear!!!.
First I had to figure out what I needed versus what I want.
Yes, there is a big difference.
No cotton, move completely away from cotton fabrics to either tech fabrics or wool blends that wick moisture away from the body. This is a really important point during the winter, when conditions outside can change suddenly and wearing wet cotton gear can make a run miserable or even down-right dangerous in bad conditions.
Enough of an assortment, so that I don’t have to worry about going to my dirty running clothes bag (yes my dirty running clothes have their own bag and are not allowed in the hamper with the other regular dirty clothes) and find a top to go run in and hope that I don’t meet anyone that I know, until I am a couple of miles into a run and have an excuse being a stinky maan.
Also I don’t need as much gear as I used to, because I am going to be more wimpy this winter and run on the treadmill more often than I have in the past, but there are still going to be a lot of runs outside and I will use the clothing for other outside winter activities: shoveling snow, snow-blowing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
So I was looking for multi-purpose active wear, not just running gear.
Have I ever told you that I hate shopping, well it is sad, but true. I am finding this shopping for new running clothes a lot like back to school shopping, it is something that has to be done, but I am not all that thrilled by it.
I really am not a huge fan of shopping online as much as I used to be. While sometimes it is easier, more convenient, there are great deals and most online retailers have decent return policies, there are also more than a few downsides. So over the past year I have purposely started to move away from buying online as my first option. I have started to do more shopping locally first and as a result; I get to see what I am buying actually looks like, how it fits me not some model or mannequin and don’t have to worry about going through the hassle of returning clothing (I usually just keep it and make it work), and then waiting for the replacement as often.
In our area, we have a bit of shopping, but after going into a few places I definitely went into sticker shock. I am a cheap skate, (unless it is running shoes) and my wife squeaks just a little when she walks (a happy wife is a happy life – guys), which also helps to keep me from going out and just going to the nearest specialty running store or big box athletic goods store and paying ‘’big bucks” for a new winter running wardrobe, just to get it over.
So what have I been doing to upgrade my winter running wardrobe on a limited budget? TJ Maxx and Goodwill have become my winter running clothing/gear stores of choice, the prices are a lot more reasonable and no one has to call the paramedics, after I faint dead away, every time I look at how much something costs.
Now there is a trade-off. What I find is not always this year’s style, the styles are limited to what didn’t sell (so some of it is really fugly) but really that doesn’t matter all that much too me, since I am upgrading a lot of my winter running wardrobe from the 80’s and 90’s styles, so only being out of style for a year or so, is actually really good in comparison and some of the tops, well only TheWife will see them and grimace or laugh over what they look like on me.
However, it does mean that I finding what I really want is a hit or miss proposition, that I can’t get my shopping done all at once and I have to take the brands that they have versus what I might prefer. However, all things considered, it is my best alternative with my limited budget.
The reality is that
This changing my winter running wardrobe has been a pain in the ass, while it was necessary, it was not and is not something that I really enjoy. It is/has been an ongoing ordeal and while I am just about done, I still have a few things left to find before I feel I will be ready to run comfortably and more safely outside again this winter.
The good part is that I really do not need as much as I thought I would originally and I can justify some higher quality or features than I need for just running, due to the multi-purpose role that they will have.
Now to find those running mittens and cold weather running pants, along with…well there is always seems to be something else.
Who knows, maybe part of the answer is to start entering races that have long-sleeved tech shirts as part of the race swag.
Is your running wardrobe ready for running outside this winter? Where do you typically shop for your running gear?