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What Our Editors Loved in February

This time of year, we’re reaching for anything and everything that can add some brightness to weary winter training. Here are the essential gear finds, music, books, podcasts, and general miscellany that our Run Editors loved from last month.

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February: the shortest month of the longest season. Here, in the mountains of Colorado, this is when training really starts to feel like a grind. It’s cold. It’s snowy. Longer days and ambitious race goals are calling. But there’s still lots of work to be done on and off the trails. 

Here’s what’s helping us reconnect with a sense of joy and adventure on the tail end of winter.


Saucony Endorphin Speed 3 RUNSHIELD – $180 

For especially chilly days, the Saucony Endorphin Speed 3’s bring an additional level of protection and warmth without being overkill. I love these shoes for days when it’s below freezing, and I still want a bit of pep in my step. The nylon plate adds propulsion without feeling overly stiff (carbon on a very cold day can feel a bit hard, in my perception) and the Runshield adds insulation without feeling bulky or sweaty.  – Zoë Rom, Editor in Chief, Trail Runner and Managing Editor, Women’s Running

RELATED: The Best Gore-Tex Shoes For Rainy Day Runs

(Photo: Courtesy of Inov8)

Inov8 Trailfly G 270 v2 – $170

The updated light and fast, zero-drop trail running shoe (with a 22mm total stack height) is ideal for speedy runs and short- to moderate-distance racing. The second version of this shoe has a new upper with more stretchiness, support, and breathability in the forefoot and a smoother and cushier fully gusseted tongue that both contribute to a better overall fit, durability, and protection. The Graphene-enhanced rubber outsole is grippy, mildly elastic, and durable, which is why it’s ideal for quick and dynamic movements on technical trails. The rugged 4mm rubber lugs adhere to just about everything, making this shoe incredibly reliable for uphill running, downhill running, cornering, and awkward foot steps. — Brian Metzler, Contributing Editor

Bambū Werx Performance Socks – $14

Bambū Werx Performance Socks are thin, light, soft, highly breathable, and less prone to heat retention, which makes them ideal for running long distances. They are made primarily from bamboo, which is a sustainably produced material that is naturally antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and highly absorbent. I’ve run numerous long runs in all types of conditions and love how they wick away moisture from my feet in hot, humid conditions, but I also appreciate how comfortable they feel on cold-weather runs too. Bambū Werx partners with One Tree Planted, which plants a new tree for every $50 in Bambū Werx purchases. – BM

(Photo: Courtesy of Ibex)

Ibex Wool Glove Liner – $50

There’s something about wearing thin gloves and a t-shirt or tank-top that just feels right, and that’s exactly what I experienced recently for a half marathon in the desert. It was cold but sunny, conditions ripe for uncomfortable extremities but a warm core–nothing too alarming. These Ibex wool liners were perfect for the task. I’ve also used them as a liner glove for colder Nordic skiing, but on their own they meet the task and do the job, while feeling elegant and silky, but not too delicate. Consider this a shameless plug for all things Ibex; everything I own of theirs is top-notch, plus I’m a sucker for natural fibers. Merino wool? Ultralight? Comfortable and touch-screen compatible? Here for it.  – Nicholas Triolo, Senior Editor, Outside Run and Trail Runner

Ciele M FLRJacket – Elite – X-Ray – $400 

OK, so don’t be scared by the price tag. Yes, it’s steep, but this sleek, ultralight but durable-as-nails running shell might be the only one you’ll need for the next three decades, and think about how much money that would save you? It’s waterproof yet breathable (holy grail, right?) and it has these vents in all the right places to keep out the swamp effect that so many of my other rain jackets tend to retain. Plus, I’m all for garments that don’t have an in-your-face logo plastered all over it, and this jacket is discrete in that way. From the hoodie construction to the thumb cuffs, to the perfectly placed internal pocket system, I have yet to see a better fully waterproof running jacket at this weight. – NT

Janji Mercury Track Pant – $98 

For some reason I missed the memo until recently on how exceptional Janji is, on all fronts. Why didn’t anyone tell me? These Mercury Track pants were my first entry into Janji, and I’m so into them. Truth be told, I’m more of a tights guy when it comes to hard training in the cold, but I’ve worn these on recovery runs, and just about every strength session in the gym this winter. Crazy soft with a perfect ratio of form-fitting-to-relaxed, the Mercury pant clocks in at under 10 ounces and performs at a wide range of temperatures. I’ve been waiting for pants like this. – NT

Outdoor Research Trail Mix Gloves – $26

Radical vulnerability: I have Raynaud’s, which means that circulation for some of my fingers is terrible. Any sustained cold will turn them white as a sheet. I say this not to invite a pity-party, but rather to assure you that I’m on the perennial hunt for the best in gloves because I need them to work. I’ve been really impressed with Outdoor Research’s line of training gloves. I swear, I look forward to putting these gloves on. Grid fleece is my love language, and these are not super awkward-tight to take on and off, yet still have a high-temperature rating, with their ActiveTemp technology. I feel like anything Outdoor Research does is of the highest quality, and these gloves hit the bullseye. – NT

RELATED: Here’s the Running Gear That Keeps Me Comfortable in Colorado All Winter 

Reading Material

I Have Some Questions For You – Rebecca Makkai

February is for fiction! Rebecca Makkai (author of The Great Believers)’s novel is an investigation of true-crime culture and a send-up of academia that dissects how we experience stories. This absolute labyrinth of a narrative unfolds in just under 500 pages of a story that twists and turns in on itself. – ZR

I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness – Claire Vaye Watkins

This darkly funny novel had me laughing out loud and wincing in turn. The author takes us on a surreal odyssey through depression, motherhood, and an artist looking to reclaim her identity in the wake of marital rupture. – ZR

Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship – Stan Tatkin

This 2011 book by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, is a must-read for anyone who is getting into a long-term relationship or anyone who has been in one for years. It gives the perspective of how your partner thinks and acts and how that most likely differs than how you operate. Some of it is basic-level stuff, some of it is more complicated. But it is all the stuff we too often overlook as our minds our clouded with our own ways of thinking about things and doing things. – BM

Mount Analogue – René Daumal

Would you ever embark on a multiyear expedition to a mountain that you cannot quite see? If you’re looking for a gorgeous, strange, metaphysical journey into the heart of the journey toward truth and enlightenment, this novel (recommended to me by our very own Zoë Rom, Editor in Chief of Trail Runner!) delivers the goods. I think about it now whenever I’m running up a peak. How do I relate to this ascent? What am I seeking? What do I think waits for me at the top? Is there even a summit there, or are we always forever climbing? – NT

Guru Marathon – Sri Chinmoy

Ever since I knew about ultrarunning, I feel like there was always this elephant in the room, murmurings of this extraordinary race in New York City where participants will run around a city block for 3,100 miles, and that it’s not really even billed as a race, but more a transcendent run, a spiritual enterprise. After watching 3100: Run and Become (which I highly recommend watching), I began to entrust that everything its filmmaker Sanjay Rawal touches turns to gold, so this new book, in collaboration with District Vision (we’ve included their Keiichi eyewear in a previous gear roundup) is exquisite. For a beautiful art object with poetry and archival images of Sri Chinmoy and the history of this wonderful and strange event, a book doesn’t get closer to an offering of compassion than this. What a gift to the world. – NT

Heavy Rotation (Listening)

Ezra Klein – How the Attention Industry Really Works 

This podcast felt like a prescient reminder of the ways that our current media economy captures our attention, and what that does to our culture, hearts, and minds. I’ve been sending this episode around to everyone who’s interested in producing and consuming media more mindfully. – ZR

History of Literature Podcast

Warning: this is an extremely nerdy podcast on the classic authors and books of the world, but it’s also highly entertaining and educational, even for the nerd-adjacent. The host is hilarious, and I’ve found these hour-long episodes to be extremely smart and fun, the perfect acquaintance for long runs where I want my intellect to be fed nutrition, just as I tend to my body for training. If you’re into books, into the history of how ideas are distributed through time and space, this audio thread is my new obsession. – NT

The Daily Rally
Outside’s latest audio production is a nibble of inspiration every day. In fact, you could grind beans, boil water, make a pour over, hit that fist sip while listening, and perfectly time the caffeine jolt with inspiring stories of outdoorspeople finding their way in the wild. The first episode with professional snowboarder Jess Kimura, will make you cry, I promise, so start there. – NT

RELATED: You Can Listen To Music When Running If It Brings You Joy

On Being – Ada Limón 

After a hiatus, Krista Tippett and the folks at On Being are back for more audio inspiration at the interaction of faith, ecology, and belonging. This live recorded episode with the current U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón was a special conversation full of levity and seriousness. There’s a thread about loving the place where you live that I think about whenever I’m out on my local trails in Missoula, and Limón is one of my all-time favorite poets, someone to read even if you’re not traditionally one to gravitate toward poetry. – NT

Saddest Factory Radio

To get psyched for Boygenius’ upcoming album,  I’ve been tuning into Phoebe Bridgers’s radio show on Sirius XMU (you can also find the playlist here on Spotify, but Phoebe’s analysis and explanation of why she picked each song is what really brings the show to life). The set-list is eclectic but helps reveal some of the fun influences behind Boygenius and Phoebe’s songwriting. – ZR

The Poet Laureate Has Gone to His Shed 

Britain’s Poet Laureate Simon Armitage talks to guests about life, language, and music from his shed overlooking the Pennines in Yorkshire. He’s interviewed everyone from J.K. Rowling to the then HRH Prince Charles. This particular episode is with champion fell runner Sabrina Vergee, who is a vet that takes to the hills and nails FKTs in between her daily duties. Bonus: He writes a haiku for every guest who visits the shed and serves them a glass of sherry, if they are so inclined. This is true poetry in motion. – Melanie Mitchell, Brand Director

Other Good Stuff

Bag Balm – $5

These months are challenging for keeping the skin happy and healthy. Where I live in Montana, high winds and sustained temperatures below zero always require a lip balm nearby, and this bag balm has been a go-to lately. Easy to apply, simple ingredients, no fragrance or additives. Made in Vermont since 1899, too, which is a bonus. Old school but long-lasting – right in my wheelhouse. – NT

Gnarly Nutrition – Whey Grass-Fed Protein – $62 

One of my favorite things about this option—and there are exactly one million protein supplement options out there, let’s be real—is that it comes in a metal container. I know, you want to know what’s inside the container, but it means a lot to me that they’ve thought about plastic packaging and have made efforts to move away from plastic. Two scoops deliver 25 grams of high-grade protein, post-run or in the middle of my work day when a boost is needed but I’ve maxed out on caffeine. Low sugar, too, is always something I look for. Gnarly nailed it. – NT

Party Down (on Starz)

I know that no one needs another streaming service, but you are absolutely missing out if you aren’t watching Party Down. A rag-tag bunch of caterers who are chasing dreams in Hollywood come together for a series of gigs in hilarious, 30-minute bursts. Party Down has been sustaining me as I vegetate after long runs, and even for a few longer sessions on the treadmill. – ZR