Winter Running Gear-Splurges and Deals

I know I ranted last week about the cold weather and then went ahead and joined a gym.  But I still get out and run in the cold from time to time.  Over the years I have spent literally hundreds of miles running in the cold as well as worked over a thousand hours at an outdoor winter ice skating rink.  Between the two I have found some great ways to stay warm out there. Believe it or not, some of the best cold weather running gear can be found for a pretty decent price.

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Deals:

Target and Old Navy are dangerous stores to go into in the first place.  Every time I go to Target with a list of 5 things, I leave with about 500.  It is a tricky place to enter starting right at their dollar bins.  Go ahead and grab some cheap knit gloves. Although they aren’t the absolute warmest they can be layered with each other or go under a pair of mittens.  When I am not sure just exactly how cold it is out I throw a pair in my pockets just in case.  Plus if I get warm and they have to be tossed I am not too upset given that I spent only a dollar.

Target has a great line of athletic gear.  I have several of their Champion brand hats as well as jackets.  Many of their jackets look just like ones made by North Face but don’t come anywhere near the same price point.  I was going to post a picture of my favorite pink Champion hat but I lost it yesterday on my walk with Louie. That was a major bummer because it was one of my faves.  I am super picky about my hats.  If they don’t cover my ears they will drive me crazy and I need to be able to wear head phones underneath.

The best winter running jackets I have ever had come from Old Navy and I got them on clearance for $5.00.  So obviously I bought them in every color. They have a perfect chest pocket that allows me to tuck my phone in there and not have it bounce all around.  I also picked up several knit jackets for running that look just like a few I saw at Patagonia.  I swear by these jackets.  The best part is I have worn the heck out of these things and they have endured hundreds of miles and washings.  Not only have they stuck around through thick and thin, I don’t worry about treating them with utmost care because I have gotten every dollar out them and then some.

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As you can see they get a lot of good use.

As you can see they get a lot of good use.

T.J. Maxx and Marshalls carry tons of athletic gear.  If you are willing to sift through the racks you will find plenty of out of season gear or last year’s retired models.  I have picked up some of my husband’s favorite running pants at Marshalls and they have made perfect Christmas gifts for this running dork family.

UNIQLO is the way to go for long underwear tights.  Their HEATTECH is by far the warmest long underwear I have found in my 10 years of teaching outdoors.  I have tested just about everything to find something that will keep me warm.  This is super thin but don’t let that deceive you.  For around $10-$20 you can get their socks, tights, shirts, and even body warmers. http://www.uniqlo.com

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Go ahead and splurge:

Lululemon is definitely on the pricey end and I often feel a bit guilty when I make purchases there.  But I honestly have to say that every piece of clothing I have ever bought has been worth it.  Everything is made with great quality and it fits so well (although their sizing bugs me).  I am absolutely in love with my Dog Walker Pants from a few years ago.  Yes they came at a hefty price point but nothing keeps me warmer.  They have a bottom layer tight that locks in the heat and an outer layer shell to block the wind.  Talk about a perfect combo.

Lululemon also makes the thinnest and most amazing mittens for winter running.  Despite the fact that these are thinner than my Target $1 gloves, they are so warm that I can’t wear them until the temperatures fall below 30ºF.  My sister-in-law also got a cool outer layer than covers all of your hand except the end of your fingers.  That way you get extra warmth but can still control your phone or music device.  You can also find hats in the same material which also has a hole for your pony tail.  They really do think of everything.

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Pearl Izumi tights are the jam.  I got a pair at the end of last season on clearance and I adore these things.  They are super thin but lined with just a touch of fleece to keep the heat in and wind out.  Need I say more?

Smart wool is worth every penny.  It wicks away the sweat and keeps my toes from freezing even when my shoes are covered in ice and snow.  They make socks for skiing and snowboarding that I find to be perfect.  They compress in just the right places to make your feet super happy.  I also love my smart wool neck gaiters because they don’t fall down, don’t itch, and actually work.

What are your favorite cold weather clothes?  Or if you live somewhere super warm go ahead and rub it in and tell us about your favorite shorts!