5 essential items for running in the Swedish winter

As well as a healthy dose of motivation, what are five essential things that will keep you out running this winter?

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with, nor do I benefit from, any of the brands or products mentioned in this article.

1. Running spikes for your shoes 

Unless you are planning on buying a new pair of expensive winter shoes with spikes, you will need a temporary solution to deal with the ice and snow that can make running both difficult and dangerous (for injuries) in the winter. There are two types of solutions: slip on and slip off traction devices an attaching screws/spikes to your own shoes.

The main advantage of slip on and slip off traction devices is if you reach a road or path on a section of your run where there is no ice you can take them off. However most of the time you will manage these sections with screws in if you decide for the less flexible but less fidgety screws option.

If you want to purchase traction for your shoes, you should check out the YakTrax Run, Due North Everyday Traction Aids or IceSpikes. There is also the do-it-yourself option, you just need some screws, a drill, and screw driver, as shown below!

Courtesy of Competitor Magazine.

2. Headlamp

Unless you are running in the middle part of the day then it is likely that a lot of your winter running is going to be done under the cover of darkness. Although you can find some paths that are reasonably well lit in Stockholm, taking your head torch out with you is always a sensible idea. 

There are a range of headlamps available on the market, and they vary substantially in price depending on the quality. After going through several cheap, battery powered headlamps I have been looking into buying a rechargeable headlamp instead. I like the look of the lightweight and low-profile Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp, which uses a wide oval-shaped beam to illuminate the ground while you run. I am yet to buy though, so if you have a better suggestion, let me know.

Running with a head lamp

3. WINTER JACKET

Winter running is all about layering correctly, managing that delicate balance between warmth and breathability so that you don´t find yourself freezing or overheating mid run. The jacket that forms the protective outer shell should stop wind, water, snow, and anything else the winter can throw at you from getting through and chilling your core. Therefore wind breaking and water resistant are essential characteristics and the right fabric is key. It is also great if you can find a jacket that has some reflective strips, to improve your visibility in the darkness. I like the Puma Night Cat Jacket

4. BEANIE

You regularly hear people say that you lose the majority of your body heat through your head. Not true. At most, according to a 2008 report in the British Medical Journal, a person loses 7-10% of their body heat through their head. Nevertheless, conserving some of that heat to keep you warm is a good idea when you are running in the winter. The best way to do that is a with a good beanie, preferably one that will breathe a little while keeping you warm. I like the Drylete Cap from Saucony (not shown below).

Running in Stockholm in the snow

5. GLOVES

If you have ever been for a run in the winter in insufficient clothing and without gloves, you will know that the hands are the first body parts to feel the impact. Almost every one of the usual sports brands have a pair of running gloves on the market. I like the HEAD gloves with SensaTEC so you can still touch your phone screen with ease. 

So these are my 5 essential items, but what do you consider your essential items for winter runs?