Winter is cold, dark and produces the kind of surfaces that are difficult to walk on — let alone run on. Winter is also an extra-busy time of year jam-packed with holiday events and, let’s face it, a strong urge to sit on the couch and binge watch your favorite shows. So, it’s not the best season for running outdoors.
For some, these difficulties are enough to put off running until the spring. In fact, data from MapMyRun shows some runners stop running altogether during the coldest months, with the main drop-off occurring as fall transitions into winter. Some of this can be attributed to holiday stress, travel and busier schedules, but the primary reason is the weather.
Other people choose to log their miles indoors on a treadmill during the colder months, with MapMyRun finding indoor runs increase 11% during winter. That’s a perfectly fine option for those with in-home treadmills or gyms nearby, but we also see those who shift indoors shortening their workouts by an average of 25%. Fortunately for joggers who prefer al fresco exercise, there’s an easy way to continue pounding the slightly-more-slippery pavement: Wear the right gear.
GLOVES CAN HELP YOU RUN ALL WINTER LONG
“To stay in the game, our data show that having the right gear is super important,” says Jeff Knight, senior manager of product science. Among MapMyRun users, cold-weather gear like jackets, beanies and gloves is associated with a 33% increase in women and 28% increase in men continuing to run throughout winter. As anyone who’s ever forgotten their gloves on a cold run knows, nothing feels the frosty bite faster than your extremities.
“As you run, your body pulls blood into your core and legs and away from your hands, so they have a tendency to get colder,” says Jason Miller, Under Armour’s senior lead analyst of product analytics. No one wants cold hands. But you can’t run with your hands in your pockets, says Miller, so full-finger gloves are the best option for protecting your hands from the elements while maintaining proper running form. In fact, running gloves are 16% more likely to get men out the door and 11% more likely to encourage women to venture out for a winter jog.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT RUNNING GLOVES
When searching for a pair of gloves, finding the right thickness is key. You want gloves that will keep your hands warm, but remember: You’re not going skiing. “Don’t get super thick gloves because your hands will heat up as you run,” says Knight. Just like jackets, gloves are often temperature rated, so you want to look for something that’s rated for the temperature you’ll be running in.
Knight suggests choosing gloves from a running-specific line because they will often have helpful features. “Some have fingertips that work with a phone,” he says, which is great for scrolling through your playlist or using running apps like MapMyRun. “It seems trivial, but if it helps you, it’s worth it. Two dollar knit gloves just don’t compare to a nice pair of running gloves.”