A few weeks ago I headed out for an 18km run a little later than my usual Sunday morning long-run start time of 6:30 a.m.  As the sun was trying to make itself seen, I thought great!  It shouldn’t be as cold as it was yesterday!  In the winter I find the first few steps out the door the hardest part of the run.  But once I’m out there I don’t regret it, even for a moment.

While I’ve enjoyed running my entire life, I didn’t always enjoy winter running.  At least I didn’t think I would.  I have to admit that in the early years I would wait for the nicest of days to venture out.  For most of the winter, I would keep my workouts inside.  If it was cold and rainy I would just go back to bed and reset the alarm clock.  I finally got over this once I had my children and I realized that this time for me was invaluable and I needed it to help me recharge, regardless of the weather.

Before I lace up, I always check the temperature.  On this particular morning when I left at 9:30 a.m. it was -9, but the wind-chill made it feel more like -15.  Sometimes checking the temperature beforehand sends a chill through my body before I even take a step out of my nice cozy home.  I just have to remind myself that a run outside is much more enjoyable than a run on a treadmill any day of the year, no matter what Mother Nature has in store.

It is essential for me to stay comfortable while running in the cold, so I dress in layers.  Moisture wicking fabrics are a must in order to stay dry.  I wear a synthetic base layer to keep my skin dry and then depending on the temperature a second layer for added warmth.  I always wear a light wind jacket with reflectors to make myself visible to others on the road if the sun is not out.  I wear my regular running shoes but sometimes will slip on ice cleats if it looks like it is going to be slippery out.  If I know the roads have been cleared in the areas I will be running, I sometimes won’t bother as I find them uncomfortable when on the dry pavement.  If there looks to be ice I’ll just slow it down a bit until I feel it is safe to continue at my desired pace.  I wear a hat, in particular a balaclava if it is very cold so I can cover my mouth and nose, and I usually will have a headband on me as well.  If I get too warm with the hat, at least I will have the headband to cover my ears.  I also never forget my winter mittens that have a windproof flap to cover the thumb and finger ports that are also made of moisture wicking material.

For me, winter running is an enjoyable experience during those sometimes dull, gloomy days.  Try to get out there and don’t let those cold Canadian winter days keep you from staying active and enjoying your runs!

Enjoy your run!
A lovely surprise outside my front window this morning!