5 items of kit to assist me keep energetic in winter

It’s 3pm on a weekday. I’ve been staring at my laptop for seven hours and I’m amazed that I’m no longer on time. My fingers hurt from typing. A 30 minute run would be the perfect reset, but it’s 35 degrees and windy. Do i really want to go outside?

I can usually make it out the door thanks to certain well-used equipment. The first quarter of the run is a slog, but the rest is pure joy. When I get home I feel energized and present. Still, there are days when I can’t find the motivation – when it’s so damn cold that running would be pure misery. Then I pull out the yoga mat or those other important things so that I can focus again to finish the work day.

Patagonia Houdini Air Jacket ($ 170)

(Photo: Jakob Schiller)

I call this my “first 15 minute” jacket. This is because the thin nylon shell of the Houdini Air cuts the cold air just enough that I can find my pace at the onset of a cold Run. With its breathable back, it also ventilates when it heats up, so that I don’t make my shirt sweat. When I get too warm, I take it off, put it in my breast pocket – it squeezes the size of an apple – and stuff it in my trouser pocket. I appreciate that it comes in bright colors (I have the chartreuse yellow which helps drivers see me during the day) and is coated with a DWR finish that I can use to shake off light rain or snow. When I’m not walking in it, the Houdini Air lives in my hiking and spring ski bags. It’s the layer I throw on when ascending a windy ridge or skin up the mountain.

Jaybird Vista Wireless Headphones ($ 180)

Winter-Workout-Gear-Jaybird_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller)

It’s better to run with headphones on than without. A quick playlist motivates me and improves my pace by at least 15 seconds per mile. There are cheaper versions of course, but I like the Vista Buds because they have all of the features I want for outdoor training: they’re wireless and sound amazing, with sharp highs and full lows; They are fully waterproof so I don’t have to worry about ruining them with sweat or rain. and they never slip out of my ears or need to be adjusted when driving down paths or sidewalks. A full charge in their case gives me 16 hours of use.

Lululemon the reversible five-millimeter yoga mat ($ 68)

Winter-workout-equipment-lululemon_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller)

I’ve had back problems for years and am so tight that I scream loudly when I try to touch my toes. So it was a big focus for me this winter to use this mat more. I use it every morning to loosen up my back, and when it’s too cold to run I do a stretching routine or an online yoga session instead. I still have a long way to go before anyone can call me flexible, but stretching is great brain refreshment and makes me a better runner and cyclist. Weighing in at over 5 pounds, this mat offers plenty of cushioning, and the five millimeters of padding makes a tile or brick floor more forgiving (but you probably don’t want to take this thing with you to yoga class). A polyurethane coating absorbs sweat and prevents me from falling on my face. An antimicrobial additive prevents it from smelling.

Hoka One One Clifton 7 running shoe ($ 130)

Winter-workout-equipment-hoka_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller)

There was a time in my early thirties when I thought I would never run again. My lower back pain was the worst, and running only added to the restlessness. But thanks to physical therapy, stretching and those Hoka shoes, running is now my main form of weekly winter exercise. These kicks are supportive, but also comfortable (thanks to the thick, characteristic Hoka sole). They made my back happy and allow me to drive 15 to 20 miles every week – or just enough to enjoy a guilt free beer every night. They have a breathable mesh construction, but when I pair them with a wool sock like this one from Voormi, I have no problem wearing them in freezing temperatures. At less than 9 ounces per shoe, they’ll feel weak out of the box, but even after a few hundred miles they still have plenty of life.

Black Diamond Sprint 225 headlights ($ 45)

Winter-workout-equipment-blackdiamond_h.jpg(Photo: Jakob Schiller)

Sometimes my day is crazy and I can’t go outside until it’s dark. I could theoretically walk without headlights, but too often I’ve stumbled over hidden potholes or been hummed by cars that couldn’t see me until they were too close. To avoid all of this, I am now using the Sprint, which pumps out 225 lumens but weighs two ounces. At full brightness, I can see well over ten feet ahead, and running at full speed is not a problem. If I want to have a dimmer beam all I have to do is tap the side of the light instead of fiddling with a button. I’m also a big fan of the rechargeable battery meter on the side; It quickly tells me how much juice is left so I know if I need to plug it in at the end of my run. (At the maximum setting, I have about two and a half hours of light.) The sprint is also my choice for backcountry skiing as it’s powerful enough to light up the trail if I start before dawn or get stuck on the trail after the break Darkness.

Main photo: Jakob Schiller

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