It’s Fairbanks cold outside this week. Frosty enough for an Extreme Cold Warning for Southern Alberta and it looks like it will be sticking around for the next week. This statement issued from Environment Canada sums up the situation:
“A multi-day episode of very cold wind chills continues. The coldest wind chill values will be between minus 40 and minus 50. There have been several reports of *dogs sticking to fire hydrants and lawyers with their hands in their own pockets”
-40 to minus -50 is certifiable crazy but sadly it seems that almost everyone locks themselves away when the temps hit anywhere below zero. And for many Canadians, this means that you’l 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, 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. Below I will break down exactly what I wear for a 6-10K run in various cold temperature conditions
-25°C and warmer.
-15°C to -25°C Salomon Spike Cross Shoes – Running Socks – Thermal Tights – Insulated pants – Light Wicking T-shirt – (Synthetic*) – Long Sleeve Performance Shirt (Synthetic) – Wind Proof Shell. Running Gloves (Synthetic) – Regular Mitts. Neoprene Face Mask – Neck Warmer – Toque (Eh?) and Hood. I would also recommend ski goggles depending on wind and snow conditions.
*Synthetic fabrics help wick sweat away from your body and help regulate body heat.
0°C -15°C Salomon Spike Cross Shoes – Running Socks – Insulated pants – Light Running shirt (Synthetic) – Long Sleeve Performance Shirt (Synthetic) – Wind Proof Shell – Running Gloves Neck Warmer Toque and Hood.
0°C +15°C Salomon Speed Cross – Running Socks – Running pants or Shorts – Light Running shirt (Synthetic) – Long Sleeve Performance Shirt (Synthetic) – Running Gloves
+15°C – +30°C Regular Vented Running Shoes – Running Socks – Short Sleeve Running Shirt (Synthetic) – Shorts.
I also use a Garmin 305 to track running stats, an MP3 Player 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
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 chooses 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!
*This may or may not have been part of the official statement from Environment Canada.
**I’m not affiliated with any of the gear that I recommended. It’s just good stuff.
***Everyone has their favourite – “It’s colder than _________.” Leave a comment below and share.