I took up running about three years ago, and have typically been a fair-weather jogger. I’d run outdoors – and more specifically, NYC’s phenomenal Greenway along the Hudson River – but only between the months of March and November. During the winter months, I’d only run in weather above forty degrees, or otherwise hit the treadmill at my college gym. However, I find running on a treadmill tedious and occasionally stomach-twisting, and much prefer the outdoors, whenever possible. This year, I decided to venture outside during the winter months, and managed to squeeze out a few runs in 10-20 degree weather. Here are a few items I’ve found indispensable:
1. Men’s Champion Compression Running Tights ($18.39 at Target)
Having purchased hundreds of dollars of running gear in the last few years, I can say these tights offer by far the greatest bang for the buck. Comparable apparel from Nike or REI typically runs $60 or $70; as far as I can tell, these do the exact same job for a fraction of the price. They offer great flexibility, but most importantly, help keep you warm on frostier runs. I was initially skeptical of buying gear from a less-pedigreed brand (more on this later), but these tights seem to have held up well over long and chilly jogs along the Greenway.
2. Nike Dri-Fit Running Shorts ($24.99 at Amazon, but I picked up mine for about $20)
I’ve found Nike’s shorts to offer the best fit and best pocket placement. Although they can be pricey for 7 inches of fabric – they’re just some stitched polyester and spandex, really – the extra dollars are worth it for the intelligent construction. Based on my positive experience with the compression tights above, I also purchased a pair of Champion running shorts at Target. However, the Champions had a few unwise features and omissions:
a. Although both pairs of shorts were 7 inches, the Nikes had somewhat less fabric overall, resulting in a more tailored fit. The Champions, for better or worse, have more fabric, and tend to bunch up, giving the shorts a blousy look without necessarily adding more warmth.
b. The Nikes have side pockets, the Champions don’t.
c. The Nike’s key pocket is located in the back right side of the shorts, which makes access fairly easy. The Champion key pocket is in the front right, which, surprisingly, makes access more difficult than if it were in the back.
3. Nike Pro-Combat Compression Top ($30 on Amazon, though I picked it up for $20 at my local Nike outlet)
This is a skin-tight base layer that really keeps the wearer warm. I usually layer this with a quarter-zip running shirt when the weather is below 60 degrees and with a running jacket if it drops below 40.