Your Guide to Winter Running Gear

5. Neck Gaiter

Even if you wear a hat and a jacket with a collar, there is a lot of uncovered real estate between those items that is pretty sensitive. Neck gaiters either cover just your neck, your neck and face, or your entire neck and head, depending on how much coverage you need. They're a great winter running investment.

6. Face Mask

It may eventually get cold enough for you to want protection for your face. Many face masks are made for downhill skiing, not running. Runners breathe more than skiers, so if you buy a ski mask you'll end up with a face full of ice crystals when your breath freezes. A ski mask may also restrict your breathing as you get into your run and start breathing heavily.

Get something that has enough protection for your cheeks and lips, but is not so protected that it restricts your breathing. Even those old hats with the eye and mouth holes are better than most of the ski masks out there.

7. Hat

Hats and gloves are very important. Our bodies heat our extremities last. If you don't cover these areas, you'll get frostbite. My rule here is to use more than you'll think you'll need, because these are the easiest things to take off and store. If you opt for a neck gaiter with no head coverage, you'll want a few different kinds of hats. First, get a good wicking skull cap to go under your warm hat. Then get a nice thermal hat to go over it. It can even be wool.

8. Gloves

You don't need gigantic choppers to run outside, except in the worst weather conditions. Get something that is warm but not too bulky. You want to be able to do things like tie your shoe and adjust your clothes without taking off your gloves if possible.

9. Goggles

Have you ever had your eyelids freeze shut? Ever gotten brain-freeze from the wind? If you run outside in the winter long enough, you may experience both of these things. You may need a pair of goggles for very cold and very windy days.  

Don't be afraid of the weather. With this guide to winter running gear, you may find this winter to be your strongest training season yet.

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Christian Peterson will be running outdoors this winter in Minnesota.

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