After all my complaining yesterday… it was colder today (-32 three hours before our run).
I did drag my brother outside for our mile, but we seriously considered the gym instead. We got outside though, and finished the whole run before we would have gotten to town.
Running in the winter can be awesome, but being prepared is key. No one likes frostbite on their fingers or nose.
I always start with base layers I would normally wear to the gym. My standard gear is a pair of Nike running leggings and a long sleeve T-shirt (Target men’s cotton – $8). Recently I’ve been loving long-sleeves, but T-shirts work fine too, especially if three sets of sleeves aren’t necessary in your environment.
If it isn’t too cold running tights by themselves can be enough. Otherwise, on days like today, I throw on a second pair of North Face running leggings. I got my pair in a loose fit to wear as joggers/sweats and to layer for winter sports.
On top as my second layer I wear a crew-neck sweatshirt in a fairly light knit. After that I have a North Face wind resistant jacket that’s about 5 years old (well worth the investment for me). Wind resistant is the key factor in top layers. My jacket is fairly insulated so I wear a light sweatshirt underneath, but my brother wears a lighter top shell and heavier sweatshirt. There are lots of options, but the wind will steal body heat faster than anything else.
I always wear my outdoor running shoes and tall socks. Wool socks for extreme cold otherwise regular sport socks are usually all I need.
Wear a hat and gloves. Always. With all the smart-phone friendly options, there’s no reason for frozen fingers.
Protecting your face and lungs is also super important in extreme cold. Coughing all day after a short run in cold, dry air is not a good time.
I wear a sport scarf in an infinity scarf style. It’s a light, breathable material and I use the slack in the scarf to tie the second loop around my face, covering my mouth and nose. My brother wears a running face mask that works great for him. Find something you like but (as they say in EMT class) make sure you protect that airway!
Keep in mind I’ve been running short distances in sub-zero temperatures. A lot of cooling and comfort factors change with milage and temp variations.
Happy running everyone, stay warm!