Call me crazy, but the winter is my favorite time to run. The air is crisp, and though the dry air does take some getting used to and may cause coughing, I still prefer it to humid air where you can barely breathe. Also, when you’re cold, you’re more likely to keep running and not walk. I say as long as the temperature is above 30 degrees, you’re good. Between 20 and 30 degrees is fine as long as you’ve built up some tolerance and your lungs are feeling good enough to handle the extreme air. (Obviously don’t do any hardcore weather running without doctor’s clearance.)
It’ll take some experimenting to get the right balance of layers, but basically when you step outside you want to feel like if you were just going to take a walk, you’d want a coat, while having the sense that once you start moving, you’ll be warm.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1.Running shoes. Duh. To my knowledge they don’t make ice-proof, snow boot running shoes, so be careful and watch where you’re running depending on the conditions.
2.Light, tight, winter running pants/leggings. Every brand makes them. You want your legs to be warm, but don’t go for the baggy sweatpants/five layers look. It’ll slow you down.
3. A lightweight, quick-drying, long-sleeved running shirt.
4. A thermal vest and scarf. I wear tank top, t-shirt, long-sleeved running shirt and then a scarf and fleece vest to finish. If it’s really, really cold, like freezing or below, I’ll wear a hat and gloves. I tend to hold off on these items as long as I can as I find them really annoying while I’m running. So use your judgment. Most important to me is keeping my core warm, since it’s helping me a lot while I’m running. Your arms will be fine with the long sleeved shirt, but keeping your core warm will keep the rest of you warm and functioning well.
5. Tissues and lip balm. Lip balm is an obvious necessity. Tissues are an easy to forget but very important necessity. Running in cold weather is, well, cleansing. Related: learn to keep your pace while you spit efficiently and discretely without getting it all over yourself and the people running behind you. This is a skill unto itself. Also, I think running is the only time that spitting in public is acceptable. If you aren’t getting a little gross, then you probably aren’t working hard enough.
Post-cold weather run:
REHYDRATE. Due to the temperature outside, you will not have realized how much you have sweat. Coconut water really helps too since it naturally replenishes potassium and electrolytes.
Shower very soon. It’s cold outside and probably cold in your apartment, so lounging in your sweaty clothes is a terrible idea. Believe me, I get distracted very easily once I get home and then before I know it I’m hanging out all sweaty and then…shivering. Not good.
Other than that, do the regular things: stretch, eat a balanced meal or snack, and pat yourself on the back for being really cool because you just ran outside in winter.