Wednesday, December 8, 2010

running cold - rae's gear & tips

Those of you who are frequent visitors will know that I've been whining about the cold, dark days of winter for the past several weeks. The temp has dropped to minus 15-degrees celsius here in Southern Ontario (that's about 2-degrees fahrenheit for my friends south of the border). The world has been blanketed in pristine, white snow and the neighborhood is actually quite pretty. I kinda feel like I'm living in a snow globe...

I didn't always have such an optimistic view of the white stuff. It threatened to force me inside for dreadmill runs. That was, until I did a little research and invested in some simple winter-wear. You'll be pleased know that I have made peace with winter running. Read on.

As it turns out, all you need to survive winter running is some common sense.

1. Stay dry, stay warm

Dressing in layers is a great way to stay dry and warm. It's not about bulk - it's about layering thin, moisture wicking fabrics to keep your skin dry and trap warm air between layers. I've added 4 critical pieces of gear to my standard ensemble of tights and a shirt. First, I invested in a insulated, wind blocking jacket from the North Face ($129). This jacket is so comfortable! It is breathable and has velcro at the wrists to trap warm air in. Better yet, it has a nice reflective stripe across the back - perfect for evening visibility.

Second, I found a New Balance long-sleeved shirt at Winners ($14.99) - a great second layer over top of my normal running shirts. Can't beat that price! :)

Third, a good hat that covers the ears. Did you know the body loses most of it's heat from the head? It does. Wear a hat.

And finally, some gloves ($1.99). Mitts are actually better for keeping warm, but I hate it when my hands get hot, so gloves it is. Running shoes: Mizuno Wave Alchemy 9's ($149).

2. Prepare for the elements
The winter air is particularly harsh and dry. Be sure to apply a good moisturizer and lip balm before you head out. Don't forget about SPF protection! Just because it's cold doesn't mean the sun's rays won't get you. In fact, the snow will reflect the light....sunglasses are a must for those of you lucky enough to run in the day. ;)

3. Go easy
I have found that it takes me quite a while to get warmed up in the winter. Be sure to take it easy so that you don't injure yourself. Let those muscles get warm before you cut loose. As well, recognize that not everyone is kind enough to shovel and salt their walkways. Tread with caution. Take small steps. You don't want to risk a wipe-out on the ice!

And there you have it. Me...a snow bunny! It took some time, but it's finally happened and my cardiovascular system and weight are the better for it. I'm already tracking a three-pound loss this week. Eat THAT winter!!!

Happy trails everyone!


  1. Good for you RAE......just went thru the layer stuff myself...enjoy!!!!

  2. You brave soul! I have been avoiding an outdoor run since the weather took a turn towards winter. I'm afraid...very afraid. I need to follow in your footsteps!

  3. That's a great pic of (presumably) your street. Love the "living in a snow globe" device. I spent my college years in Rochester, NY, so I can definitely relate.

  4. Uggggh!!! You're one tough nut! I'm so tired of the snow, and cold, and mist, and gray!! Is it too much to ask for some sunshine now and then??? I'm ready to bust out of this ice cube!!

    (36 year old fulltime RVer living la vida loca with a cute-butt husband and a stink-butt dog!)

  5. It's funny you should say it feels like living in a snowglobe as I was thinking that to myself just the other morning. I did a ten mile power walk in it the other day though, I got a bit brave I guess! It's mind over matter when your fingers are frozen to the bone.

  6. Sounds so simple, yet ends up gangsta at the end - nice twist!

  7. Love the pic! Good on your for running outside!

  8. Too cc ccc ccc ccold.

    Keep up the weight loss! The pounds come off and the speed goes up!

  9. 1. I really want to go to Canada!!
    2. I need to grab some chap stick ... and start using my lotion at night. My face is so freaking dry now that it is so cold out there.
    3. Love your bundled up picture!!

  10. I'm gonna put your advice to good use on Saturday's Santa Run

  11. I love the snowy picture. It never looks like that here (or I should say rarely...Georgia). When it snows, we shut down. I would never dream of running in it! Good for look cute in your gear! :) Go get'em girl!

  12. LOL - Love it. That first picture is so pretty. I'm sure being it in is a different story. I'm going to stop complaining about it being cold where I'm from. I think the low has been 31 degrees. ;) Keep on runnin! One of us has to ;)

  13. Sooooo helpful! I was just thinking about going for a run the other day. Any advice for rainy days (for us Seattle-bunnies)? Or does the snowy gear help keep rain out too?

  14. P.S. I swiped my wife's Burt's bees lip balm for running today ... we'll see if I get faster!

  15. As I was staring at the treadmill this morning... dreading it! I am going to admit! I got in a bubblebath instead! I need to get my butt outside!
    Have a pretty day!

  16. Oh, that snow picture is so pretty. Congrats on getting out there in it and working out!