Winter Running – How To Layer for Extreme Cold

It’s too cold in the winter to enjoy the outdoors. No one – I mean NO ONE, is to be seen outside when the air temperature hits 0°C (32°F). So THEY say. Sadly, almost everyone it seems locks themselves away in their over sized temperature controlled clown cars that take them from their temperature controlled boxes to their temperature controlled cubes in the sky. And for many Canadians this means that you might be locked away from the great outdoors for a better part of half a year.

I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, but what I can tell you is that you can survive an outdoor run in the middle of a Canadian winter. If you prepare properly, you will be warm and you might even like it. So, stop being a big fat Dorito eating couch dwelling wimp and take a good read through this post. And prepare to get on out there no matter what the weather might bring.

1) Winter Running – Wear Layers. The most crucial thing to consider when venturing outdoors in the extreme cold is clothing. Dressing appropriately for the conditions is key and this includes mastering the fine art of layering. Most of the issues that people have with the extreme cold can be avoided completely by layering with the correct clothing.

When you are running, biking or doing other high exertion activities, the golden rule is that you usually dress for 10 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. I agree with this completely. It’s better to start a bit cooler and warm up during your run. Below I will break down exactly what I wear for a 6-10K run in various cold temperature conditions.

-15°C to -40°C Salomon Spike Cross Shoes (5) – Running Socks – Thermal Tights (13) – Insulated pants (6) – Light Wicking T-shirt – (Synthetic*) (12) – Long Sleeve Performance Shirt (Synthetic) (1) – Wind Proof Shell (2). Running Gloves (Synthetic) (8) – Regular Mitts (3). Neoprene Face Mask (4) – Neck Warmer  (7) – Toque (Eh?) and Hood (2). I would also recommend ski goggles (9) depending on wind and snow conditions.

Running-Stuff
*Synthetic fabrics help wick sweat away from your body and help regulate body heat.

0°C -15°C Salomon Spike Cross Shoes (5) – Running Socks – Insulated pants (6) – Light Running shirt (Synthetic) (12) – Long Sleeve Performance Shirt (Synthetic) (1) – Wind Proof Shell (2) – Running Gloves (8) Neck Warmer (7) Toque and Hood (2).

0°C +15°C Salomon Speed Cross – Running Socks – Running pants or Shorts – Light Running shirt (Synthetic) (12) – Long Sleeve Performance Shirt (Synthetic) (1) – Running Gloves (8)

+15°C – +30°C Regular Vented Running Shoes – Running Socks – Short Sleeve Running Shirt (Synthetic) (12) – Shorts.

I also use a Garmin 305 (10) to track running stats, an MP3 Player (11) to keep me entertained and a Gregory Backpack for hauling any extra gear. The backpack is key for storing extra layers, cell phone and water.

2) Winter Running Safety.  My Salomon shoes, jacket and backpack are highly reflective and I also attach a blinking light to my pack for extra visibility during night running. Reflective gear and lights are great on ensuring that you can be seen but never assume anyone can actually see you. Always get eye contact and a visual wave from motorists and assume that you NEVER have the right of way.

3) What about falling/slipping on all that ice? This is where your shoes are one of the most important pieces of safety gear when it comes to winter running. The Salomon Spike Cross shoes have never let me down. (I’m not getting paid or sponsored to say any of this). I have tried several times to get these shoes to fail. I have targeted large patches of ice and ran full speed, with a turn and a full stop and have not eaten shit… yet. I don’t want to get too cocky but I have full confidence in the ability of these shoes to keep me upright when it matters most. I would not hesitate to recommend these as suitable winter running shoes.

The shoes are warm and semi-waterproof (No running through streams or rivers but a few seconds in and out of 2-3 inches of water or hard pack snow and your feet will be perfectly happy). The one down fall would be running through deep powder, you might get a bit of snow in the ankle area. A cheap pair of gaiters could fix this quickly. I would give these shoes a 10/10 but they are a little pricey. A pair of these will set you back over $100 and because of that they score a 9. What can I say I’m a bit of a cheap ass.

spike-cross

4) But it’s hard to run in the snow! Yes it is. Think of it as an extra bonus to your work out. You don’t have to run as fast to get extra benefits from your run as some of your energy is being expended pushing through the snow.

5) Last but not least you will be a BADASS. Anyone who is willing to choose to go out in the freezing cold and bust out a mid winter run is someone who should qualify for the title of BADASS. I love winter running as it adds a whole new perspective to winter and the season around you. This perspective is so often missed when you spend the majority of winter locked away. So, get on out there and enjoy this winter by going for a RUN!

Author: The Money Runner

Husband, father, runner, personal finance enthusiast and computer geek. Thanks for visiting. Please check out my other posts and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

Share This Post On

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *