You may have picked up on it, but I live in the mountains. We get some crazy weather, and some of the fastest swings from nice to terrible that I have experienced. For example: Last Friday, I was too warm in shorts and a tech tee; yesterday afternoon, I lost circulation in one of my digits because the cold wind blasted right through my double-layer gloves. One thing I have found is that a really trusty jacket can make a huge difference on a cold, windy, winter run. If you're looking for one yourself, or buying for someone for Christmas, here are a few pointers on getting the right jacket:
- Avoid bulk, and instead go for wind and moisture blocking ability. A good winter jacket should be a shell to wear over other layers, in my opinion. Base layers are for warmth, while the jacket is to create a block so that the body heat stays in and the cold stays out. Also, if you're going to be running through snow, look for a smooth fabric that won't collect the snowflakes (which will, in turn, melt and ruin the whole deal).
- Cool it with the zippers. One zipper is plenty; the side vents and such are just superfluous, if you ask me. Zippers also are infiltration points for cold and moisture. If the jacket has outside pockets, these should zip up, too.
- Look for at least one inside pocket. This is a valuable spot to stash your phone (if you run with it), or keep a small bottle of fluid so that it won't freeze.
- Choose a bright color that has reflective material. This jacket will be for low-visibility running, from time-to-time, so it can serve the added purpose of safety.
I love running in the cold, as long as I gear up appropriately. Choose wisely from the jacket options, and you'll be just as happy out there in the elements.