Monday, 20 February 2012

Man in Tights…..Essential Winter Running Gear!

I thought I'd better get around to finishing and publishing this Blog as if I leave it much longer, I will miss the boat as warmer weather seems to be on the horizon!

I was still quite happily wearing shorts out running up until mid January and since then on the rarer occasions that the temperature has drifted into the high single/low double Celsius figures and when the wind speed was negligible.  I did succumb early on into Winter however, and purchased some Nike lightweight Running gloves as my hands always seem worse affected by changes in temperatures.
But, now that the cold British winter weather that we are more accustomed to is in full swing, my shorts are not protecting me enough from the elements therefore my legs do not warm up and my face/head is left particularly exposed.  I haven't yet had to wear my Ron Hill running jacket as the wet weather has generally stayed away, which is a positive although I expect the wetter weather will arrive when the UK starts transitioning into Spring.

Last winter I made do with some excess fat to insulate my body and a pair of jogging trousers to keep my legs warm.  This time, I've lost nearly 4 stone of insulating fat since then and the jogging trousers are not the most practical garment for running in especially if you want free movement and they do tend to get heavier when wet to lug around in although they are nice and warm.  So, this year I have had to find a better solution....therefore I finally bought some Nike running tights!  Admittedly, I have only tried them on in the shop and on two runs as I've since been struck down with the lurgy so I can't offer any serious opinions yet on what they are like other than that they feel 'weird'! 

Other than this, the only issue that I have discovered with them is that they seriously lack storage for all my stuff that I take out running with me compared to my shorts.  To get around that problem, I now always wear my phone on my arm using an armband, I store my asthma inhaler in the single rear pocket on the tights (not as accessible though as getting it out whilst running is difficult, good excuse for a break I suppose), I place a tissue or 2 for my runny nose into my sleeves and then wear my work pass (needed to get in and out of the site unfortunately) underneath my top layers!  This will do for now…the only potential storage issue that I have identified so far will be as to where I put my gloves if my hands get too warm with them on.  

So, that's my legs sorted.  I've got plenty of running socks to keep blisters away but, I still need to get a new pair of shoes as I'm really pushing the design and wear limits of my current shoes!  

Along with my tights, I also bought a new long sleeved base layer; that brings my total of long sleeve tops to 2 in addition to a mid layer top to help trap more air in and keep me warm.  I've also got a running jacket that I received last Xmas for when the wet weather arrives; this being a certainty in the UK.  Its just of case of when, for how long and how warm will it be whilst its raining!  So, that just leaves face/head protection to sort out for when the wet windy weather arrives and my ears really start to ache!

I was given a headband for Christmas, which doesn't do anything for my street cred, and makes me look like a  throwback from the 118118 adverts...

...but, it certainly does the trick and keeps my ears lovely and warm, dry and most importantly ache free when I'm brave enough to wear it!  It also has a number of other positive benefits; they help keep my headphones in place, wind noise and headphone cable drag is reduced, my head doesn't overheat and I don't get a headache like I do when I wear hats!

The last item to complete my current winter gear ensemble is the 'Buff' which can be configured in a number of different ways and doesn't look quite as bad as a headband!  This cool Original Buffwear demo is worth a watch:

I'm currently experimenting with a freebie buff that I got given at a race last year and trying to get it into a configuration that will protect my lower face to help prevent any tooth ache/sensitivity issues and trying to keep my neck and potentially my ears warm and away from the cold wind.  

It certainly protects the neck very well as that's where it easily sits when worn in neckerchief mode, but I just can't seem to reliably get it to stay in place where I want it without having to hook it over my nose.  This wouldn't normally be a problem for normal people but I'm not normal and as a result my glasses steam up, which makes seeing where I'm going difficult and breathing more of a challenge.  

A possible solution is to laser my eyes and get rid of my asthma to make breathing control easier but, until they find a 100% reliable laser procedure and a cure for Asthma I might just try and get a 'junior' size buff in the meantime as the buff website states that it may allow for a better fit where hopefully it will stay in place where I want it for more than 30 seconds.  The downside is that the junior size might be too tight; the experiment continues….

Besides all that, I now just need to go out and run which I will try to do once my body starts sticking up for itself more, gets rid of and keeps all these damn bugs away!

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