Hill running is brilliant all year round but in winter it has a special charm that only this season can provide. Hills and mountains look that much more challenging and majestic with their peaks capped in snow and charging downhill knowing that if you trip you’ll simply flop in to soft white power, makes it even more fun. However, to fully enjoy playing in this winter wonderland safely, you have to ensure that you are properly equipped and few things are more important than what you wear…
What you put on your feet in the hills matters. My go to shoe year-round is the Inov8 X-Talon 212 and even with snow on the ground that doesn’t change, the grip on these shoes is simply phenomenal and even on icy, technical downhills, I’ve never felt the need to use the ice spikes that I carry with me in my pack. To go with good shoes you want good socks. A wool blend sock such as the Hilly Mono Skin Off Road sock will help keep your feet warm even when wet.
For clothing you want to wear between 2-3 layers rather a single thick layer. By doing this you can regulate your body temperature by adding or removing layers as necessary.
The trick here is to try to wear enough layers to stay warm whilst on the move, but not so many that you sweat, as you will rapidly cool, begin to shiver and risk hypothermia.
Choose a light breathable long sleeve t-shirt such as the Salomon Agile Long Sleeved T-Shirt, it will provide warmth whilst quickly wicking any sweat away from your body.
This should be a looser fitting top worn over the base layer to trap warm air but shouldn’t be too thick in order to avoid overheating. Like with socks tops with a wool blend such as the Ronhill Infinity Merino T-Shirt will provide extra warmth whilst still being thin enough to provide breathability.
This should ideally be a waterproof layer with a hood to block out the wind and rain in order to keep you warm and dry. My own Ronhill Infinity Torrent Jacket is coming up for 4 years old now and despite taking a battering, is still going strong. This should also be a bright colour to help you be seen on the hillside in the event you get in to difficulty.
When the weather is bad enough to force me out of shorts and in to leggings I choose Salomon Trail Runner WS Tights. The windproofing on these is brilliant, I have ran in conditions of -20C (including wind chill) and was comfortable the entire time! I also like to wear shorts over the top of my leggings as a point of modesty as well as adding another protective layer to the unmentionables…
In addition to all this it is also important to carry a beanie hat and gloves to protect your head and hands as well a neck gaiter to plug any gaps in your insulation. Ronhill produce all of these in Merino Wool for additional warmth.
Now that you’ve kitted yourself out for the conditions, get out there and have fun!