Winter Running with Ski Goggles
Since having a little time off over the holidays, I’ve been sleeping in and running when the sun is out. This fends off the winter chill a bit but causes another problem. The bright sun is blinding, and squinting for 45 minutes causes headaches. A few years ago, I tried something new, and it solved all my problems.
I had often worn my summer sunglasses on winter runs. Why not? They provide protection from the sun and provide a little wind barrier – right? Not so much. Sunglasses may seem like the simple solution, but they actually have two fatal flaws when used in the winter:
- Fogging. No matter how expensive your sunglass are, the will fog up. Glasses fog up due to condensation. The warm, wet air, usually from the sweat off your face or your breath (or both), condenses on the lenses because they are colder than the warm air.
- Freezing. They do nothing to protect your eyeballs from freezing. If anything, the cold gets trapped inside – between the lenses and your face. Also, as sport sunglasses are meant to breathe, they probably have some extra ventilation going straight to your face.
Unless your running at the North Pole, your eyes won’t actually freeze (Santa beware). That being said, it can certainly feel like it when it’s 10 degrees with a windchill that drops below zero. Running with exposed skin in the winter can be extremely dangerous.
My simple solution is to wear ski goggles. Yes you look like a huge dork (see picture), but for as little as $15, these wonders of winter sports serve tree critical purposes:
- Sun Protection. Goggles shield your eyes from an intense winter sun. Snow reflects 85% UV radiation vs 25% off concrete. That’s over three times more intense than summer running!
- Windshield. They literally give your eyes and surrounding face a windshield. Even in the coldest of weather, ski goggles will protect that area of your body from frostbite. You may not realize the rest of your body is numb.
- No Fog. Most lenses have a double layer preventing warm moisture from creating fog. The foam around the ski goggles is designed to keep the moisture from your face away from the lens. Also, they have vents that allow the warm air out (not in). Not to mention some have an anti-fog coating on them.
The only downside of using goggles is that it cuts down your peripheral vision a bit. Test this before you head out on your first run. It’s nothing a simple adjustment of your neck can’t fix but look carefully before darting across Hennepin ave.
Before your next winter run, grab yourself a pair of ski goggles. Even the cheapest pair will provide some much-needed winter protection from the sun and cold.