Surviving Winter Running

I used to be a fair weather runner.  If it wasn’t sunny and 60 degrees, I probably wasn’t going to run outside.  I may run on the treadmill, but I just wasn’t into running in the rain and the cold and the snow…But then I started training with a group who are not JUST fair runner weathers (or fair weather runners, as the case may be!).  They run in all types of weather–hot, cold, rainy, windy, snowy.  The one condition that nixes an outside run, though, is lightning.  Safety first, above all else.

Oddly enough, over the years, I’ve discovered that I like running in the rain and the snow.  The elements add dimension and interest to running.  And I actually prefer running in the cold instead of the heat.  So yeah, I’ve become an all weather runner.  The run this past weekend cemented that.

This was the view outside on Saturday morning, the morning we had a 7 mile run planned.

IMG_1409The dread of Oklahoma winters–ice.  Thankfully, here in Tulsa, only elevated services got covered in ice.  The roads were wet but not slippery, so our run was a go!

Rain was pouring down, and temperatures were somewhere around the freezing mark when we began our run.  It was COLD!  Barely a minute into the run, I stepped in a puddle of water and soaked my feet.  So I stopped worrying about getting my feet wet.  It already happened.  I just settled into the pace and took in the beauty of ice-covered trees.

So I thought today I’d give you my tips on surviving a run in less than ideal conditions.

  1.  Wear a waterproof jacket.  I’m learning that there is a difference between waterproof and water-resistant.  Water-resistant gear repels water but won’t necessarily keep you dry.  Waterproof gear is supposed to keep you dry.  My NorthFace waterproof jacket held up beautifully on our 7 mile run in full on rain and drizzle.  I didn’t get wet at all.  The only IMG_1405downside to waterproof/resistant gear is that it tends not to be very breathable.  It can get really hot underneath there, so you may not need as many layers on the top as you normally would.  With near freezing temps, I was plenty warm with just a long sleeve technical tee and my jacket.
  2. Wear a hat with a bill.  When I’m running in precipitation, a hat with a bill is a must.  I wear glasses, can’t see a thing without them, and would be in big trouble if the lenses became occluded with water.  Think of how hard it is to see through a windshield in the rain with no windshield wipers.  But whether you wear glasses or not, a hat with a bill keeps the rain or snow out of your face and eyes.  For warmth, I like to wear a headband that covers my ears and my hat over my headband.  I am a fan of Headsweats hats.  They are lightweight, breathable, and easy to adjust for size.IMG_0332
  3. Layer up those gloves!  My hands get miserably cold in the winter.  There are hand warmers that you can use, but I landed on a solution that works great for me.  First, I put on a lightweight pair of moisture wicking gloves.  Next, I put on a pair of just regular knit gloves.  On top of that I put a sock on each hand.  Yes, I said socks.  They act as mittens, keeping your fingers together for warmth.  Through 7 miles in cold rain, my hands stayed nice and warm!IMG_0333
  4. Dress in layers on the bottom.  Some guys on our run Saturday were dressed in shorts.  Maybe I’m a weenie, but I need something to cover my legs when it’s wet and cold outside.  But I don’t want bulky clothing.  I like to wear a pair of running tights and put on a lightweight pair of wind pants on top of them.  The tights provide warmth and the wind pants really block the chill of the wind but don’t add any bulk or weight.  Plus, they protected my legs from the splashing water as we ran through puddles.
  5. Socks–wear them.  I’ve discovered that my favorite running socks, Feetures, tend to dry quickly, or at least don’t feel wet, when they do get wet.  As I mentioned, my feet got soaked early in the run.  My feet initially felt wet and cold, but after just a few minutes, I didn’t notice the IMG_0334wetness any more.  When I got home and took off my shoes and socks, I discovered that my socks were pretty much soaked, although I couldn’t tell.  I am a Feetures fan, so I haven’t tried any other running socks to compare them to, but I was happy with the way Feetures performed in the rain.
  6. Be safe!  Above all, think safety.  If it’s a foggy, gray day, remember your lights.  Let drivers know you’re sharing the streets with them.  Slow your pace.  Wet streets can turn slippery quick whether there’s ice on them or not.  And obviously, if there’s lightning in them thar clouds, stay inside!  No run’s worth getting zapped for.

So don’t let the elements deter you!  Snowy runs have been some of my best runs.  The cold is invigorating, on top of exercise that is also invigorating!

Talk to me:

What kind of outdoor activities do you enjoy in winter?

I’d love to see photos of how you keep on the move in winter.  Leave a comment with your photo attached.


Author: Juanita

Thanks for dropping in! I'm Juanita. People tell me I don't look like a Juanita since I'm red headed and freckled with super pale skin, but what's in a name, right? I'm a 40-something, single (as in no kids, never been married) gal from Oklahoma. I'm a nurse and most importantly, a follower of Jesus. I love chocolate, am scared of heights, and petrified of snakes. After my fortieth birthday and coming to grips with the fact that I was obese, I discovered I'm a runner and a CrossFitter, and that there's a whole lot of life left to live. I just had to get past the fat, stare down the fear, and realize that 40 is not too old for new beginnings. So this is the story of my struggles and adventures in the quest to live a healthy life in mind, body, and soul.

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