Despite temperatures in the 20’s and below, long weekend runs of brilliant sunshine and fresh snow on the trees, can be the most enjoyable.
But the weekday runs, for people who work traditional hours, create some challenges:
- Darkness upon waking and/or when returning home from work
- Plummeting temperatures
- Falling snow
- Snow and ice on the ground
Fitting in your runs during the winter months in the northern hemisphere takes ingenuity, planning and flexibility. It also requires understanding your own tolerance for the weather and your own safety.
You have some choices to make about where to run — outside or inside?
Here are some tips:
- If it’s dark outside, wear clothing with reflective gear or perhaps wear a flashing light.
- If there is ice on the ground, particularly black ice or ice that has thawed and refroze into lumpy ridges of ice, run inside. There’s no point risking a fall or twisting an ankle.
- If its snowing outside – you will have to decide whether to run inside or outside, depending on ice conditions. If running outside, you may want windproof, waterproof, and breathable shell pants to go over your tights, and Yaktrax or some other device to wear over your shoes to grip the ground.
How do you figure out what to wear?
- Dress in layers. Read this blog post about Winter Running Gear.
- Dress for 15-20 degrees warmer than actual outside temperature.
- Keep a diary of what you wear and the temperature to take the guess work out of what to wear every time you go out for a run. I did this the first couple of winters I ran and found that every 5 degrees below 40 degrees my layering was slightly different.*
Don’t forget the typical running essentials
- Water! Even though its cold you still can get dehydrated.
- For runs longer than an hour, you will need to replenish with electrolytes just as you would in the summer.
- Wear sunglasses. I have sunglasses with interchangeable lenses:
- Sunny – amber or darker lenses
- Overcast – rose or yellow lenses
- Warm up inside, so you can hit the ground running when you go outside
*My Sample Diary
- 42-50 degrees: lightweight tights, tank top or short sleeve shirt, lightweight long sleeve shirt, vest, hat, gloves
- 32-41 degrees: lightweight tights, tank top or short sleeve shirt, midweight long sleeve shirt, vest
- 25-32 degrees: lightweight tights, tank top or short sleeve shirt, midweight long sleeve shirt, unlined windproof jacket, hat, gloves, mittens
- 20-25 degrees: midweight tights, tank top or short sleeve shirt, lightweight long sleeve shirt, lined windproof jacket, hat, gloves, mittens
- Below 20 degrees: midweight tights, windproof shell pants, tank top or short sleeve shirt, midweight long sleeve shirt, lined windproof jacket, balaclava, gloves, mittens