Since I'm home sick today, on the couch, looking outside wishing I could run, I figured why not join in the link up and write about cold weather running. After all, I run outside all year round! I have an ancient treadmill, which I rarely use, unless conditions are so icy that I risk slipping and falling. I actually enjoy running outside in the winter for several reasons. And just to be clear, I don't like winter or cold weather one bit. But getting outside and knocking off the miles in the winter makes me feel more badass than any other time I run. Take that winter! Plus, breathing the fresh air and getting some natural light helps keep SAD (seasonal affective disorder) at bay. When people learn that I run outside in the winter, the number one comment I get is "you're crazy". Well, I'm a runner. That's a given. The other comment is, "I don't know how to dress for the cold". Well, here's your guide. Having run through many winters, including last winter's polar vortex, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on running in the cold.
I read once somewhere that you should dress for 10 degrees warmer than it actually is. This is really just a guide, and it is a good place to start. Now, if it's 0F, there isn't much difference dressing for 10F. It's all COLD! But check the weather conditions. If there's wind, there's wind chill, and you have to plan for that. If the sun is out, then you'll be a little warmer than you might if its' cloudy. And it's always better to underdress than to overdress. You will heat up as you start to run. You will sweat.
|Hell, yeah, I'm cold! This is the bike path where I trained all summer!|
I start with a long bra top and cover that with a wicking shirt. Over that goes another shirt, usually with thumbholes. If it's really cold, I might wear my fleece vest over that. On the bottom, I wear tights. For really cold conditions, I have fleece lined tights. I also have "windproof" tights I ordered from Athleta last year. They don't move as well as my regular tights, but if it is cold enough that I need to wear them, then I'm not moving that well either! On my feet go the smartwool socks, length again depending on the conditions. And then my shoes.
Now if it is snowy or has snowed over night, I usually will wear my shoes with YakTrax. These are coils that you slip over the soles of your shoes to help give traction in the snow. Running with YakTrax do make a difference in the way you strike the ground. Your shoes will feel stiffer, and you most likely will feel it later in your calves. Sometimes, if it's "warmer" and the snow is melting during my run, I take the YakTrax off and just use the velcro to wrap them around my arms.
|He could have used Stabilicers!|
When it's icy, I have Stabilicers to wear on my shoes. YakTrax do not work very well on ice. Speaking from experience, your shoes become like ice skates. Trust me on this. I've wiped out on hidden ice wearing my YakTrax. The Stabilicers have spikes in them to grip ice that you might encounter. They work great. They don't work as well in snow, which is why I have both. Yes, I'm hard core. But I'm still a little afraid to completely trust my Stabilicers and so I tend to run much slower and more gingerly than I would in clear conditions.
I always wear a hat or a fleece headband, and if it is really cold and windy, I have a neoprene face mask. I think I look pretty badass in it, but my family just laughs at me. Yeah, laugh away...
|Cold weather runner. Don't mess.|
My gloves have mitten covers on them, which work amazing to keep my fingers warm. I pull my thumbholes over my gloves. If it is really cold, I put hand warmers inside the mittens. If they get too hot, I can just keep them in my pockets.
And away I go. It is a lot of preparation to get outside in the winter, but once you're out there, you won't regret it. There are a couple other things to keep in mind:
-you will most likely have to run in the road, because a lot of people don't clear their sidewalks
-cars cannot stop quickly on snowy or icy roads. You have to stay alert.
-there can be ice hidden under snow so be careful
-you won't be the only runner out there! Remember the runners' code and wave and smile!
-running the morning after a snowstorm is truly an amazing experience. Take in the beauty and enjoy that you are able to do this!
Thanks to Run the Great Wide Somewhere , MCM mama runs, and My No-Guilt Life for hosting the link up. This was right up my alley!!!