The winter months are upon us once again. With it come the hardships of cold temperatures and icy conditions that force many runners inside to the treadmill or indoor track until the roads thaw and the temperatures warm up a bit. But for the truly dedicated and die-hard athlete, wintry conditions are mere obstacles to be overcome. There are, in fact, a large percentage of runners who regularly run outdoors throughout the year and are not to be deterred by winter’s harsh offerings. For these hale and hardy athletes, the right gear can make all the difference in their continued pursuits of outdoor running comfort.
But comfort is only one issue associated with outdoor running in the wintertime. According to Kevin Swinicki, owner of GoRun Wichita, a running specialty store, safety is often of paramount concern this time of year. “The most important gear for winter running and the most often overlooked is visibility gear,” Swinicki said. “Safety first!”
For runners who rise early to run before work, darkness is bound to be an issue, and with shorter daylight hours, the evening runner also must be concerned with visibility issues. Seeing and being seen are of vital importance in winter running. Running headlamps have become very popular visibility gear over the past several years, but Knuckle Lights—which function just as they sound, by attaching to a runner’s knuckles—have become all the rage recently.
Nathan, a running equipment manufacturer normally associated with hydration products, now produces reflective running vests with strobe lights. Two of the most popular running shoe companies have also created outerwear products that enhance running visibility. Saucony makes the ViziPro windbreaker with built in LED lights, and Brooks offers the highly reflective Nightlife Jacket. Naturally, these products offer protection from winter’s harsh elements as a double bonus during winter running.
When it comes to cold weather gear, there are countless options available to the runner, from socks, to gloves, to caps and scarves. Wool blend socks offer extra comfort and protection from the cold, and GoRun carries Feetures and Swiftwick brands. Saucony also makes the unique Protection Gloves, which not only keep the runner’s hands warm, they come with a detachable safety light. The safety light fits nicely on the outside of the glove and is rechargeable through the USB port of any PC.
For runners in the Wichita community, GoRun is offering a special “gift basket” promotion which features a warming accessory—such as hats, gloves, or ear warmers—one safety item, a nutritional item, and a pair of socks. “We’ll add in a cup of coffee and gift wrap them for you,” Swinicki said, “and then take 25 percent off the entire package.”
For more information on these or any other cold weather and safety running products, visit the manufacturers websites. Local runners can visit either of GoRun’s two locations in Wichita, or visit their website at gorunwichita.com/ for more details and sales promotions.
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