Seeing as I go to Northeastern University, I have lucked out with a beautiful gym to allow me to run in even the cruelest weather.
Of course, most people don’t have access to the Marino Center, and are stuck training in the great outdoors. This post is dedicated to these people, particularly readers from New England.
- I try to dress with the notion that it is 20 degrees warmer than it actually is, that way, once I get a few minutes into the run, I’m not overheating.
- Thus far, I haven’t run in weather below five degrees, and haven’t found a hat or ear warmers necessary – my head gets warmest first. As a result, I’d recommend not wearing such unless it’s below ten degrees. If you do decide to wear a hat or ear warmers, get something that can fit in your pocket. Same goes for gloves. I’ll wear gloves – but only if I know they can fit in my pocket. Call me cheap, but I’m still a fan of the small, stretchy gloves that any local drugstore carries.
- I have 3 pairs of running Spandex for all different temperatures. I splurged on my “freezing wear” pair of Spandex, getting this pair from Under Armour. They’ve been great so far, but I think it’s possible to find an equally effective cheaper pair. I’ve had great luck with Marika running products, which are sold for dirt cheap at Marshall’s.
- Layer, layer, layer – but keep your layers light! It’s better to have 5 layers of light and airy clothing than it is to have one layer of super thick apparel. Why? You can shed layers easily – I often will toss off a layer and hide it in a bush, grabbing it on my route back.
- Don’t forget to keep your neck warm. You’ll be amazed at how miserable running can be when your neck feels like it’s turning into an icicle. I like wearing turtlenecks, and on freezing days, I’ve even worn a gator over it. I love gators because you can use them to just cover your neck, or stretch them to cover your entire head as well. Very versatile, very useful, very necessary to own (and as a winter sports fanatic, I find they’re perfect for skiing and snowboarding as well).
- Insulated underwear: Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your bum warm. Your hip joints, much like your knees and ankles, are prone to “locking” up in cold weather. Help prevent this, and keep your bum warm by wearing a pair of short running spandex under your long spandex/running pants. As a former volleyball player, I’ve just used standard volleyball spandex, which have worked fine, but in colder areas, I’d recommend getting some especially insulated undies.
- If it’s raining or snowing, don’t be embarrassed to wear a pair of athletic shades to protect your eyes. I’m currently saving up for this pair of sunglasses (we’ve got a long ways to go), but my brother had an old pair of Oakleys lying around that I’ll throw on just before a sprinkling run.
Running in cold weather, rain and snow doesn’t always sounds ideal, but I think it’s really important to be able to run in all conditions. The runs are always a bit harder, and definitely add a different mental challenge to the run. However, if it’s raining or snowing, be careful not to slip.
This past week I went out for a run while it was sprinkling and ended up busting my left leg a bit. I got barely a slow mile in, and then had to walk the second bit.
I have a feeling it will be a few days before I’ll be able to get in a good run again, as I’m still a bit sore. Go go gadget Ibuprofen!
I love this article from Shape magazine about cold weather running. I can say from prior experience that cold weather running really does help alleviate the winter blues.
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.” -Bill Bowerman