Not the blog title you’d expect to see from a California girl, right? Or maybe you are assuming I am referring to cold as like…50 degrees. Let’s get real – I do think that is cold.
But no, what I am talking about today is real, actual, less than 20 degrees COLD. You see, my sweet boyfriend grew up in Alaska. And we got visit now and again. And if you think a little snow and temps in the teens is going to stop me from running, then I feel like I hardly know you!
Let’s first consider the things I feel are the most important:
- Extremities – keep them warm!!
- Do NOT get wet. Stay dry and you have a much better chance of staying warm.
- Safety – no slipping!!
- Layer. Layer. Layer.
- Also, do not turn your back to said boyfriend when there is a large snowdrift nearby.
Ok – so let’s start from the bottom and work our way up, shall we?
- Shoes: I put YakTraks on mine. They have a running version and a pro version. The pro version got a bit shredded when I ran, so the running version will be coming with me this time. I know there are quite a few brands/types out there, but these are the only ones I’ve used.
- Foot warmers: My feet have a tendency to get cold and stay cold. Even on a warm rainy day, even after running 10 miles, my feet will be numb and the rest of me will be overheating. I love these foot warmers for inside your shoes. They have them just for toes too.
- Socks: I like these merino wool socks and I will sometimes layer them over my other socks. A lot of my running leggings leave a tiny gap between my no show socks and the bottom of the legging, so I wear these over the gap.
- Leggings: Lululemon, Lucy, Patagonia and The North Face have some great ones that have a performance fleece type of deal that really does make a difference. In a pinch, you could layer tights under sweatpants or rain pants, but these are very very helpful.
- Base layer: Lululemon just came out with a tech fleece base layer that looks like it would do the trick quite nicely. That said, I generally just wear one or two long sleeve tech shirts under my coat. I have a really good winter running coat, so I think that makes a big difference and would choose to invest in a coat vs a $118 top. SmartWool also makes a lot of really good options that are on sale right now at REI.
- Coat: I got my running coat for Christmas last year, and I love it. Of course Lululemon has come out with a new and improved version this year – the Down For a Run jacket. Definitely an investment piece, but if you are spending a lot of time running in the cold, it makes a world of difference. The white color is beautiful too. Another good option would be to layer a sweatshirt under a windbreaker.
- Neck/face: A buff or balaclava of some kind is definitely necessary to keep from breathing in frigid air and feeling like you have smoked a pack a day for the last 15 years. They make them with fleece lining, which is awesome.
- Head and ears: I found this hat at REI and I know everyone is going to give me crap for wearing it. I don’t care because my noodle will be warm! Definitely keep your ears covered at least though. Lululemon has one with a spot for pony tails.
- Hands: These and these are my favorite gloves.
- Hot hands: Slip these in your jacket pockets or even inside your gloves and thank me later.
- Headlamp: I like this headlamp, but I do try to avoid running in the dark AND the snow.
Some things to remember:
- Your muscles are working a whole new type of way, so you might need to adjust your workout. It takes a lot more energy to run on snow than not snow. Yes, this means you should have wine later.
- Shorten your stride and keep your feet lower to the ground. If you have a choice between fresh snow or packed snow, choose fresh because there is less chance of slipping. Also make sure you aren’t running in an area where there could be something dangerous looming under snow (i.e. a rake for the yard).
- Give yourself some grace and take it slow. If it is so cold that the cushioning in your shoes even feels different, just imagine what is going in with your muscles.
- Just because it is winter, doesn’t mean you can’t get the c**p sunburnt out of your exposed skin. After reading that guide above, probably nothing is exposed, but whatever is can get completely fried. Wear sunscreen.
- Hydration – see above, just because it is winter, doesn’t mean you get to skip hydration. Wine does not count.
I also wanted to share this link with you guys. It is the Runner’s World “what to wear calculator.” You put in the conditions, your info and if you want to feel warm, cool or in-between and it gives a helpful guide for what to wear! It is usually pretty spot on too.
I hope that helps! Or maybe if you are an experienced winter runner like myself, you are cracking up at my feeble winter knowledge. Which I can’t blame you for. Happy running and stay warm!
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