Change the pace – winter running

Forget about a White Christmas- it’s a White Halloween! There’s snow on the ground, we haven’t reached temps above freezing in almost two weeks, and all the Canadian Geese have headed south for the winter.

I ride on my bike trainer once the weather turns. I’m a fair-weather golfer. And although I love to ski, when it’s cold I spend more time warming up in the chalet than I do on the mountain. Running is different story.

You’ll catch me out there when it’s cold, when it’s sleeting, when it’s snowing, when the wind is howling, and when skin can freeze in mere minutes.

All it takes is the right clothing, the will to run, and the understanding that you’ll be slower!

Here are my five top tips to help you enjoy running outside through a cold winter:

  1. Protect your feet. Along with thick, wicking socks, find running shoes with Gore-Tex. Last year was the first year I had Gore-Tex shoes (Nike Air Pegasus GTX). They protected my feet from the wind and wet, and had better grips.
  2. Layer, layer, layer (next week I’ll delve more into winter running clothes). Wear technical gear, and be sure to layer up.
  3. Glow. If you work days, you’ll most likely be running in the dark during winter. Snow banks that can hide pedestrians and slippery roads also factor in to your safety. Buy clothes with reflective strips on them, and buy running lamps, lights, or reflective bands. Although most jackets and shoes have reflection on them, I like to double up. I have arm band lights that I wear, along with reflective straps I can put on my arms, wrists, or ankles.
  4. Be wind-wise. When it’s below freezing, wind can drastically affect the temperature. If it’s windy, run a route so the wind is at your back at the end of your run once you’re wet with sweat.
  5. Get naked. Get out of your damp clothes as soon as you get home! Your body temperature will drop once you stop, so you’ll catch quite a chill if you stay in your wet clothes. If you can’t fully change, at least take off your wet sports bra.

Check back next Wednesday for a blog strictly about winter running clothing, as there’s a lot you can wear to protect yourself from the elements, from head to toe!

Do you have any tips to add? Do you run in the cold or switch to the treadmill when temperatures dip?

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30 responses to “Change the pace – winter running

  1. Oh wow!! I can’t believe its snowing so much already!! Its raining here, but still pretty warm! I really like running in the winter too, but without the right gear I wouldn’t step ONE foot out the door!! TOO COLD!

  2. I love winter running but I don’t ever get my clothes right so I’m looking forward to next week!! You look so cold in that photo!

  3. These past 2 years, I have gotten so much better about running in the cold winter snow, but not when it is too freezing because then it’s just not fun. I got the Brooks trail running shoes last year and they were amazing in the snow. Although ice is still tough. I do look forward to taking my biking indoors to the spin classes since I don’t have a trainer and hate exercising in my house! Stay warm!

  4. Nooooo, not snow!!

    I completely avoided running outside in the winter last year because I didn’t think it was possible to stay warm enough in the Canadian winters. haha!
    I plan on the outside runs this year – and i’m kinda excited!

    I need to get reflective straps!

  5. I definitely go to the treadmill when it gets cold, and my kind of cold is nowhere near what you experience! Wow! I think I underestimated what winter is like in your part of the world 🙂

  6. Great post and this will be the first year I’m planning on running outside as much as possible. Keep the advice and suggestions coming!

  7. Wow–that’s early for snow! I am like you, I will go out no matter what. It’s sometimes hard to get out the door, but once I do, I am always happy I chose that over the treadmill. I think it helps me get through winter, in fact, in a much better mood!

  8. OMG my cute little snow bunny!! Awww.

    Last year when I was training for my marathon it SNOWED in Georgia, and I could have seriously used those little spiky shoe things. But you probably live in them this time of year.

    Great tips – it’s hardcore to run in the winter!

  9. Ugh – I don’t know what I’d do if I had to run in the snow! Probably buy a treadmill 🙂

    I don’t mind running in the rain, but we get a couple of days of snow each year and I don’t run… but you’re right, I don’t have the proper gear. I’ll use that as my excuse!

  10. Wow now I feel like a baby for complaining about running in the dark 50 degree mornings…. Snow running is hardcore!

  11. Ahh snow!? I do NOT want the snow to hit my area, WAY TO GO getting out there anyway. I don’t mind running in the cold, or the rain, but snow is rough haha!

  12. I can’t live without my face mask in the winter. That’s probably the reason I get outside when it’s cold out. And I’m always cold. Last year at this time, we had snow already (Northeast, Massachusetts), but this year we’re all in different degrees of cleaning up post-hurricane Sandy.

    All I can say is that I’m so grateful for what’s forecasted to be a fantastic day for my first ultra this weekend. Thank you Mother Nature 🙂

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