Yes, my obsession with finding ways to make winter running less miserable continues. This may be evidence of why I’ve been accused of having a one-track mind. But at least I’m using my powers for good and finding ways for all of us to run outside when mere mortals (ie, nonrunners) are home in the PJs, drinking coffee by the fire.
I have been trying to crack the winter-running code for the past couple of years and have made incremental progress. I still don’t recommend running outside when it’s icy, sleeting or otherwise dangerous. But I have gotten to a place where I can run short distances when it’s in the teens or single-digits.
Even when that means looking like Ralphie’s little brother Randy in A Christmas Story.
This weekend, for example, we had frigid temperatures again, but I’d committed to pacing for our running group on Saturday and returning to our Sunday-morning trail route schedule, so I bundled up.
This is what I wore both days:
- Two SmartWool long-sleeve base layer shirts, base layer tights, hoodie and socks
- A Nike winter running jacket, and a Skirt Sports Ice Queen Ultra winter running jacket and tights. And because we were walking the trails on Sunday, I threw on a down Columbia winter jacket at the last minute
- A winter-weight Buff ThermoNet
- A Skirt Sports beanie
- My favorite Manzella Wind Stopper mittens with hand warmers
Overall, my core and hands stayed comfortable for both outings. I wasn’t shivering either day and I wasn’t overly sweaty. So, I think I’ve found the right mix of gear for my comfort level. Surprising that I need so many layers when I typically have trouble keeping cool the other three seasons.
But my poor feet still need some help. They were OK on our Saturday morning run, but the thermometer had dipped to below zero on Sunday and my SmartWool socks were just not nearly enough. My footsies were so cold that I gave up about 1.6 miles into our walk.
I swung by our local Target immediately afterward to pick up more hand warmers and grabbed a bag of toe warmers in the hopes that it’s the missing item that brings it all together. My friend Shannon suggested putting duct tape to cover the mesh on my Brooks Cascadia trail shoes.
I did load up my Contigo thermal bottle with steaming homemade cafe mocha, which was waiting for me in the car. A hot shower and warm clothes at home and I’m no longer a shivering mess. Progress indeed.
What do you do to make winter running suck less? Do you have any tips for keeping my feet warm? (You may have to click on “Continue Reading” to leave a comment.)