winter running: cold weather gear

So… My plan this training cycle was to run outside as much as possible.  But, I’ll admit, I’ve been taking it to the treadmill a lot more often than I would like.  Part of it is because I just don’t have a safe place to run, thanks to snow covered sidewalks and busy roads.  But, mostly, I’m just a big, fat wimp and don’t want to freeze my rear off.  That, and I just don’t want to pack that much clothes in my work bag.

However, I have my limits for the treadmill, and training for a half marathon definitely exceeds those limits.  I’ve done 13 miles on a treadmill before, and I promise to never do that again.  Regardless of how I am able to occupy my mind and time while on the treadmill, it simply cannot beat outdoor running to me.  And I refuse to do anything over an hour on the treadmill anymore.  Which means, I’ve gotta do those long runs outside in the frigid weather.


Here are my “rules of thumb” when it comes to what to wear when running outside in the cold:

The Concrete Runner - Cold Weather Gear (1)

60 degrees or warmer:  Shorts and T-shirt.  Let’s face it, that’s perfect running weather!

50 to 60 degrees:  Shorts and a long sleeve shirt.  I typically wear another layer under my long sleeves so if I get to warm, I can shed that.

45 to 50 degrees:  Shorts, long sleeve shirt, ear warmers, and gloves.  I’ve found that I can handle shorts when the temps are above 45 degrees, but I still need things to keep my hands and ears warm.  Depending on the wind, I might shed the gloves, but I typically leave them on.

32 to 45 degrees:  Leggings, long sleeve shirt, ear warmers, and gloves.  I can get away with gloves instead of mittens if it’s over 32 degrees, but depending on the wind, I might wear a hat instead of the ear warmers.

32 degrees or colder:  Leggings, long sleeve shirt, jacket, hat, and mittens.  The freezing mark is about my limit for outdoor runs, but I’ll go out if it’s in the 20s and I have no other options.  However, mittens are an absolute MUST for me, and even then, my fingers still go numb.  I also add an extra layer for warmth, plus my CEP Compression socks help keep me a little warmer too.

Other bad news about winter running?  Darkness.  Now that I’m not nursing Miles in the mornings anymore, I can get away with waking up a little bit later to start my long run, so I don’t have to deal with the dark nearly as much.  But, it still can be an issue on days I need to wake up a little earlier, like before work to run or if we have something going on in the morning the day of my long run.

The two things I worry about more than anything when running in the dark:  my footing and being killed.  OK, that puts it a little harshly, but I’m always worried about being attacked when I’m running in the dark.  I feel like I could take someone, but I need a little extra help.

Safety is definitely key, so I rely on a few things when it comes to running in the dark.  First of all, I ALWAYS have my phone on me, just in case something happens.  (I have a SPI Belt that I absolutely love – I honestly forget that I’m wearing it a lot of times!)  I have also started carrying mace with me – again, just for some extra back up should I need it.

But, the biggest game changer for me lately has been my knuckle lights.  I asked for these for Christmas, knowing that I would probably need to do some runs in the dark come track season.  These definitely make me feel safe and are the best lights I have used.  Now, I can see the road and trails, and cars can see me.  I definitely feel much safer with them, for the only reason that I can see what’s going on around me.  (Full disclosure:  no money exchanged hands for me to brag about Knuckle Lights – I seriously love them from my own personal experience and want EVERY runner to be safe.)

How do you stay safe while running?  At what temperature do you feel comfortable wearing shorts?

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#gostl half marathon training: week 5

One GREAT week, followed by one not-so-great week.  This past week was a fairly busy one for us.  Dentist appointments on Monday, MacKenna’s eye doctor on Tuesday, and trying to get sub plans ready on Friday for today since we are out a babysitter today.  It made getting in my planned runs a little difficult this week.

OK, that’s partially a lie.  This was the first week where I didn’t have to feed Miles in the morning, giving me 30 extra minutes in my morning.  And instead of waking up at the same time I had been to go run, I decided to sleep in those extra 30 minutes.  Unfortunately, I’m still exhausted AND I didn’t get my planned workouts in… #fail


But, a lot of that is all in the mindset.  I could get discouraged and feel like this is a huge setback to my training, which is definitely something I used to do.  Instead, I’m just going to cut my losses and be happy with the fact that I still got some decent workouts in, regardless of the lower mileage I put in this week.

Blog - Image Template (2)

Monday:  No run today, so ended up with a running WOD instead.  (2.23 miles @ 7:08/mile)

Run 600m
Sit-ups 50x
Run 1000m
Sit-ups 30x
Run 2000m
Sit-ups 20x

Tuesday:  Another no-run day, but I was able to get in a short WOD with some of my students.

AMRAP in 5 minutes:
Push-ups 5x
Sit-ups 15x
Squats 30x

Wednesday:  40 minute treadmill run (4.72 miles @ 8:04/mile) – I ended up running longer than I had planned because I was reading while I ran and got sucked in.  I’ll do a book review once I finish it.

3 rounds:
Run 600m (1.05 miles)
Bridges 21x
Sit-ups 21x
Lunges 21x


Thursday:  30 minute treadmill run (3.69 miles @ 8:08/mile) – This was supposed to be a hill interval run, but again, I was reading and didn’t feel like messing with the controls, so instead, I did a Tabata hill workout after.

8 x 20s w/ 10s recovery (0.41 miles)

5 rounds:
Deadlifts 10x, 85 lbs
Push-ups 15x
Situps 20x


Friday:  I had planned on getting in a 30 minute run – or at least a 2 mile run – but I ended up losing my iPad after my workout on Thursday and spent a good 30 minutes looking for it.  I still don’t know where it is, but luckily there are cameras to the fitness center so I can see (1) if I left it there or (2) who took it.  I’m bummed and pissed at myself for losing it.  Ugh.  Thank goodness I was able to get a WOD in…

2 rounds:
Run 1000m (1.17 miles)
DB Thrusters 50x, 10 lbs
Inverted Rows 30x

Saturday:  80 minute long run (9.69 miles @ 8:15/mile) – Thankfully this was a redeeming run for a crappy week of running.  I was so lost in my thoughts that the miles just flew by.  I love runs like that!


Sunday:  OFF

Total:  22.96 miles

In other running related news, I am officially a Rock ‘n’ Blogger for 2016!


This is my second year on the Rock ‘n’ Blog team and I’m so excited to be running some awesome Rock ‘n’ Roll races again!  I have not officially decided which races I will be doing again this year, but I am thinking the Chicago Remix again for sure (5K on Saturday, half marathon on Sunday), possibly St. Louis but Matt suggested Denver which is the same weekend in October.  That makes it a little tougher to pull off, but we shall see.  If I can find some cheap airfare somewhere, I might try another destination race!

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stitch fix review // january

**Disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.**

I received my January fix on January 15th, so again, I’m a little bit behind on posting my review.  I don’t think I really had any specifics for my stylist this time around, just some cute clothes that could last me through the winter.  While I feel like my fixes definitely get better every single time, I think she nailed it on this one.  So much so that I decided to immediately change my status from “monthly” to “every 3 months” for when I receive my fixes.

I wanted to only love and keep 2 things in this fix.  And while I definitely felt like there were 2 that were absolutely PERFECT for me, the other 3 tops I received were too cute and perfect to pass up.  Oops, sorry.  Spoiler alert…

The Concrete Runner - Stitch Fix Review - January

Marson Wide Leg Jean


I seriously struggle when it comes to finding jeans that I love.  They need to be comfortable for me to actually want to wear all weekend long, but they also have to fit me well too.  While most runners have issues with things fitting their waist but not their thighs, I have the complete opposite problem.  I have to get sizes that fit my waist, so they are inevitably too big on my booty and legs.

I feel like I lucked out with this pair though.  I think it helps that they are wide leg jeans so they don’t need to be fitted to my legs.  These were seriously soooooo comfortable and trendy, I immediately fell in love!

Verdict:  KEEP!

Newberg Lace Front Panel Knit Top


I loved the detail on this – lace detail is one of my favorites.  But, I wasn’t totally in love with this.  It was definitely cute on, but I was hoping it was longer so I could wear it with leggings.  Still cute though, and definitely cute with my new jeans.  And, always a winner for me, it was super comfy!

Verdict:  KEEP!

Avi Open Drape Cardigan


I literally did not even need to try this one on.  I fell in love with it just from the picture alone!  I have been wanting a chunky cardigan since I was having maternity pictures taken with Miles and just couldn’t find one I love.  This one, though, was perfect.  I’ve worn it twice since I got it too.  Yup, that’s 2 out of 3 weekends.  Don’t judge…

Verdict:  KEEP!

Gideon Polka Dot Sweater


With as much as I love lace, I love polka dots even more.  This fit perfectly, but I felt like it was similar to a lot of other sweaters I already own.  Until I looked in my closet and realized I had purged most of my sweaters like this.  I had sort of the same issue with this as with the lace top – I wanted it to be longer to wear with leggings, but again, it’ll look super cute with skinny jeans and my matching polka dot TOMS!

Verdict:  KEEP!

Gemmi Side Slit Pullover Sweater


This was the one that I definitely was not sold on.  Even when I tried it on, I wasn’t in love with it.  It was just too different from what I would normally wear and I wasn’t in love with the big slits up the side.  And again, not a leggings sweater like I was hoping.  However, since then, I have worn it out with skinny jeans and my fuzzy boots and it has become one of my favorites!  It’s comfortable and really cute with a plaid scarf.  Plus, I feel the grey goes with just about everything!

Verdict:  KEEP!

So, I had another “keep it all” fix!  I am officially set for the rest of the winter.  I think of my clothes, the majority of what I wear now is Stitch Fix clothes – and I ALWAYS get compliments on them. (Even if those come from my mom, but she’s also my biggest critic!)  Like I said, I had to reschedule my next fix for 3 months because I just didn’t feel like I would wear anything else for the rest of the winter.  I have enough clothes now that I won’t be wearing the same 3 tops over and over again.  (Says the girl who wore her brand new chunky sweaters 2 weekends in a row…)

On a related note, has anyone tried Wantable?  It’s similar to Stitch Fix but they have a few different options.  They have the Collection, which includes makeup, accessories, or intimates and a base rate and you keep what you want and return what you don’t, no additional cost for the things you keep.  But, I’m more interested in the Edits.  Edits has 2 choices, either Style or Fitness and works exactly like Stitch Fix.  I just signed up for my first one to try it out – I’ll let you know how it goes!

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