When I tell people that I run 365 days a year outdoors, I get the look. The look of “Are you crazy?” The thoughts of someone running in sub-zero temperatures through a snow storm are too far from normal for people to understand let alone respect.
I can tell you, there is no greater feeling then running through the winter months. Sure, it can be tough physically and mentally but the rewards far outweigh the challenges of the weather.
Many people ask me how I survive the winter months of running and I figured that I would pass them along:
1. Shoes. Regular road running shoes won’t cut it. One patch of ice and you will be recreating the Brian Orser long program from the 1990 Olympics. Strap on trail shoes for those winter runs. Personally, I bought a pair of winter running shoes with spikes. They do a fantastic job of holding the ground and avoids slipping on the icy sections of roads. The negative part of spiked shoes is that you can’t go on the roads or sidewalks.
2. Clothing. The key to surviving the weather is to dress appropriately. Think layers. Start off with the base layers followed by sweaters and running tights. Lastly, end off with a running jacket (shell) and wind resistant pants. If the weather commands it, go with double gloves and a warm hat.
3. Liquids. Even though it is cold out, you cannot forget about hydration. Hydration in the winter requires a little body heat to be successful. Personally, I use the Nathan running belt with 10oz bottles of water. I put the belt on under the jacket so that my body heat keeps the water from freezing.
4. Reflective gear & lights. The dark and cold winter nights necessitate that you put on some reflective gear so that you don’t become the new hood ornament for the Cadillac. I use a construction vest in the heavy snowfall or night time runs. I even use the Firefly lights from Road ID. They are LED lights that can be seen from a very long distance away. Having already been hit by a car twice before, you can never be too careful on the roads of Ontario.
5. Enjoy the run. Remember that getting out the door is 90% of the battle. Once you are out there, enjoy it. Listen to your feet come down onto the freshly fallen snow. A winter run can be an incredibly spirtual run that allows one to refocus themselves.
Happy Winter Running!