All the running brands are saying it in various ways. Gear up, get out! There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear! You’ve got the message, but where to start in terms of building your winter-
proof running wardrobe?
Winter running doesn’t mean layering up to look like the Michelin Man. You want to be warm, not sweating so much that you chill down on the climbs. Just add the basics like arm warmers (removable sleeves) and a windproof or waterproof (depending on the weather). Replace your summer tech tee with a base layer made of natural fabric like Merino wool for a toasty feel that breathes easy. Consider clever hacks such as Hand Warmers if you are tackling a run that will bag a few icy peaks, and wear socks that wick away wetness but keep your feet warm. Mohair socks are great for winter.
Lightweight beanies are another key item for your pack during winter months, as are quality thermal gloves. Remember that you might be fine in terms of warmth whilst moving swiftly, but if you are
slowed for any reason, get the extra layers on before the chill sets in.
Technical partners to the BOS Sport Mountain Challenge Series, amplified by Jaybird, First Ascent, have put together a handy list of quality winter gear essentials that doubles up as your one stop
compulsory gear shop. Check it out for all that you’ll need to stay warm, hydrated and super comfortable throughout your winter trail adventures.
Light the Way
A quality headlamp makes running in the dark an absolute pleasure. It is not a luxury in winter months on the trails, but a necessity. Invest in a headlamp that lasts years; a braai light will not cut it! The Petzl Actik Core is a great option in terms of value for money without skimping on performance. Led Lenser offer a range of quality headlamps with the SEO 7R a firm favourite among trail runners. Look for 250 lumens (or more) and try a few for comfort and fit. Save money, and landfill space, with rechargeable batteries.
Post-Run Warm Up
Your core body temperature drops as soon as you stop running. To avoid a lingering case of bone chills, change out of your wet kit straight after your run. Put a dry hat or Buff on wet hair. And drink
something hot. If you have parked at the trail head and still need to navigate a road trip home, leave a quality flask of hot coffee or soup in your vehicle for the drive. You can’t go wrong with a built-for-
life Stanley Flask or one from the Hydro Flask range.
Tenacious winter runners of the Cape are in for a treat (and a gear test!) on 18 May as the classic Jonkershoek Mountain Challenge hits the calendars. Entries for all three distances are open, but they are moving faster than Jim Walmlsey on his 50mile record breaking attempt. Seriously, don’t miss out on a winter highlight! www.mountainchallenge.co.za
Words: Kim Stephens