JUST DO IT!
…But I can understand it is intimidating if you are new to running or have previously been a fair-weather runner and now are being forced outside in the winter conditions! So here are some tips that I hope will help you along the way, because weather is NOT an excuse to skip a run.
But first let us bust some myths. NO your lungs will not freeze from running in the cold. I have been running all winter long for two decades and I sit here writing this with two health lungs. By the time the cold air gets to your lungs the air has warmed up and will not harm your lungs. Running in the winter is totally safe but there are tips to make it more enjoyable and precautions to take into account. Continue reading to learn more.
Dress for it:
- Remember to consider the temperature to be 10 degrees warmer than it says it is.
- Layers, layers, layers
- Inner layer– should be sweat wicking material. I like a light long sleeve and if it is really cold I will even wear a pair of spandex shorts to keep my butt warm
- Middle layer– this becomes a bit more personal and is dependent on how cold it is but I like to go with a bit of a looser fitting warmer layer here such as the Nike sphere. If it is really cold I will wear a warm pair of tights such as the Nike hyperwarm. You could even add a vest to this layer as well.
- Outer layer– key here is something that cuts the wind and stands up to any precipitation you my encounter. Remember a lot of the cold comes from the windchill so if we can cut that it makes a huge difference. So a good jacket that can withstand the elements is a must. My fav is Nike Shield jacket and Nike shield tights. Bonus is if the jacket has a hood I will put it up if it is raining/snowing or extra cold.
- Hands– I like flip gloves that have a mitten component. I will sometimes add cheap dollar store gloves under or if it is really cold do straight up mittens
- Head– headband usually works for me but if it is really cold I will wear a running toque
- Face– well this is the face masks time to shine. I do not tend to cover my face but if it is really cold I will wear a neck warmer that can be pulled over my face if needed.
- I suggest recording what you were, the temperature and how comfortable you were for the first little while until you figure out what works for you.
- Must haves, in my opinion, are a good running jacket and winter running tights both of which should be able to cut the wind and stand up to the elements.
- Stay tuned for a reel coming your way later this week!
Winter running shoes are worth it:
- They keep your feet dry & warm
- They help you to not slip with a grippier tread
- My personal favourite is the Nike Zoom Pegasus 37 shield (I literally cannot stop talking about them)
Slow it down:
- Ease into the pace and know that it may be a little slower than your normal pace
- Even better idea is to do a little pre run warm up including some activations and mobility before heading out the door give this a try: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZ9M5EgoFvY
- Allow yourself to run based on effort through the winter rather than forcing specific paces
- Remember the goal is to be fast on race day not in the middle of winter
- Be sure to slow down and be cautious especially around corners
- Pay attention to the ground and slow down when it looks like it may be icey; hitting a pace is never worth falling.
Know your route:
- Pay attention to areas that are well maintained. This is likely more main streets compared to residential roads
- Locally in Toronto the Martin Goodman Trail (MGT) or lakeshore trail is always well maintained through the winter (plowed and salted)
- Another good place typically is cemeteries provided you can get out during the daylight
- Locally in Toronto there is also an initiative to help people stay active outside which is HUGE for runners check it out here: https://runningmagazine.ca/the-scene/toronto-to-maintain-60k-of-paths-with-welcome-t-o-winter-initiative/
- With the winter weather comes lots of darkness
- So if you do have to run in the dark be sure to wear reflective gear AND have lights on you in order to be seen by other runners, cyclist and most importantly cars
Why I love it:
There is something about getting out there for a run in challenging conditions that makes you feel pretty badass! There is also something magical about going for a run in fresh snow, give it a try ;).
Winter lasts a while, so we best embrace it! Use it as an opportunity to work on your mental toughness. And remember you can use these tough winter runs as fuel to keep you going come race day.
Have fun! At the end of the day that is why we are doing this. Be playful and enjoy it. And do not forget how badass you are for getting out there and getting it done!