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Sunday, 9 February 2014

COLD Weather Running. As in sub-ZERO.

With all the awesome winter weather we have been having, I have been struggling with getting out there for a run. Or getting out there for a long enough run. 
It might be pretty...but it's cold!
 ♥ Good ol Canadian Winters 
Motivation is hard when it's slippery. It's snowy. It can be icy. Dangerous... wah wah! It's is hard to log miles. 
How cold? 
I mean cold. I don't mean having to wear capris and long sleeves out  for a long run (no offence to you in warmer climates..but THAT ain't cold!). 
I mean deep freeze. 
As in 'I just ran a half marathon in -26C (-15F)' ... yes THAT cold. 

So with that I thought I would give a little bit of advice (or my opinion) on WHAT the heck to wear to brave the cold! This topic has been done to death...but sometimes I find you need a cold weather expert to wade in on this topic!
What makes ME an expert, you ask? 
This photo. HA! No really... this info is solely based on being Canadian, reading numerous articles ... and well, living on the Canadian prairies for most of my life. I hope some of it helps you! OR gives you a laugh.
LAYER. Remember this basic rule: wear a base layer, insulating layer and make the top layer windproof. Find a brand you love. Make sure it wicks..cause you do sweat. Depending on how cold it is you may need to add a layer. Sometimes I wear a jacket AND then put my windbreaker over that.

COVER UP! We Canadians know that some days our skin needs to be covered. Frostbite HURTS! Cover your ears, hands, wrists, ankles and neck. We learn early that up to 50% of body heat is lost through the head.  Wear a balaclava or toque to keep warm. Mittens are warmer than gloves. On a really cold day, I wear mitts over my gloves! You can't freeze your lungs in sub-zero weather.  The body warms the air before it enters the lungs. Some people like a face mask to help help warm the air.

SLOW DOWN. Shorten your stride to improve footing on icy roads. Wear trail shoes, yak trax, or ice grips over the soles of your shoes for greater traction. Speed work is best one on a least where I live! Take corners and turnarounds slowly. 

WARM UP! In cold temperatures take a bit of time to warm up properly, start your runs at a comfortable pace and slowly build up the pace to a pace slower than your normal training pace.

THERMALS? That's up to you...If I am out for 2 hours, I will put on long underwear under my warmest pants. OR if it is really windy, then on go the wind stopper pants. I like wool socks all year round. Find thermals socks if you find your feet get cold.

LUBE UP! Protect your face (ears an nose especially) from the elements with vaseline or face balm. My fav (year round) is Kiehl's Cross-Terrain UV Face Protector! And keep your lips covered with your fav chapstick or moisturizer?  

HYDRATE. You need water. This can be a challenge if you are out longer than 2 hours. Ever had your water freeze? It sucks! Wear your water bottle under your jacket to keep it from freezing. Put HOT water in your bottle or pack. 

It is hard to get out there, but with the help of friends you CAN keep focussed. 
I am trying to remember that...with a marathon coming in just 16 short weeks I have to get out there snow, rain, or shine! 
 It really does make the "I don't wanna run in the cold" a LOT more fun. 
 Suffer in numbers! 

 And then revel in the accomplishment! 

And...most of all...know when to say it is JUST to dangerous to run. I pull the plug at around at -40 (the point where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet!)
 I call that at -40 (the point where Celsius and Fahrenheit meet!)
And sometimes a few degrees warmer than that. Warmer. HA. get it??? 

Do you treadmill throughout the winter? 
Or, do you brave the elements?
What is your fav or least fav part of winter running?
When do you say 'uncle' to mothernature? 


  1. your amazing..I cant imagine trying to run in that level of cold!

  2. Love this post!! Thanks for pointing it out to me. :) I am seriously just done with this cold snap though that has lasted since the beginning of Dec for us. I am ok with the couple week deep freeze, but this year... ugh. Congrats on braving the elements! I so wanted that medal this year... it is so pretty!!