A few years ago, I made a deal with myself that I would run outside all winter as long as it was above 10F (because treadmill). A year later, I dropped my limit to 0F, and unless the wind chill is ridiculous (usually -10F or colder), I bundle up and head out. Because as much as I prefer sports bra, speed shorts and trucker hat running weather, there’s something so invigorating about running outside when there’s snow on the ground – except for maybe the thawing process when your skin tingles as it warms up!
That said, we recently got a (free!) treadmill, which will be a great addition to our tri room when we (finally) swap out the 15 amp outlet for a 20 amp. It would have come in quite handy recently when wind chills plummeted to sub -30F.
Anyway, the anatomy of a winter run! It’s often said that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. So here’s what keeps me toasty and running outside through all kinds of wintry weather (hint: layers are key!). And, in Minnesnowta – you never know what you’re gonna get… snow in April can happen!
1 – brushed running tights. My go-tos are lululemon speed tights and toasty tech tights (for the sub 10F temps). And, on really cold days – 10F and colder – I layer up with a pair of lulu quilted insulated shorts. Because cold crotch isn’t fun.
2 – base layer long sleeve. The lululemon swiftly long sleeve is what I reach for time and time again. Even on the coldest days I’m good with just one under my down jacket. Tip: be sure to tuck it in to keep it from riding up.
3 – down jacket. The lulu fluff off jacket has been my go-to for three winters. It’s perfect for temps 25F and colder, and even then I sometimes get too warm – which is where the zippered vents come in handy. The longer back covers part of your bum, and reflective zippers are a bonus for night runs.
4 – neck gaiter. I wear this SmartWool neck gater almost every run colder than 30F. The mid-weight merino wool keeps my neck warm – and, it’s snug enough to pull over your chin and nose and stay put (the only downfall is it freezes from your breath when it’s super cold).
5 – hat + mittens. Again, my go-tos are lulu. I’ve had this turquoise hat for a few years, and it still looks new. The mittens are two-in-ones… a lighter luon base mitten (compatible with your iPhone) and a fingerless down over mitten when it’s colder (for me, 20F and lower).
6 – socks. Depending on temp, my sock choice varies. If it’s super cold and snowy, SmartWool is the ticket. I alternate between a heavier and midweight crew sock that tucks under my tights to keep out snow. If it’s 25F or warmer, I opt for Feetures no-shows.
7 – headlamp. While my main running route is fairly well lit, well plowed and along a well traveled road in the ‘burbs, a headlamp still lights the way. An older version of the Black Diamond spot headlamp is my go-to.
9 – Garmin 920. Slow is the new fast, and the 920 keeps me on pace to nail every mile interval almost exactly the same.
If you run outdoors through the winter months, what are your keep-you-warm must-haves?
Happy winter running, friends!