Friday Five: Cold Weather Running Tips

As much as it absolutely PAINS me to write about this, the time is near.  Yes people, Winter is Coming.  We've already seen a bit of snow in Toronto, which, if you ask me, is far too early.  "They" say we're going to have another brutal winter this year.  Thankfully I'm not training for a spring marathon next year so I'm not going to have to deal with 20 milers in the snow and ice.  Woohoo for small victories. 

I'm linking up with the Friday Five ladies (Cynthia, Mar & Courtney) for another Friday Five post and this one is all about Cold Weather Running.  Something us Canadians know all about.

1.  Gear Up.   Winter running requires a LOT of clothing.   The key to tolerable winter running is layering.  Invest in a good jacket as that will be your go to piece when the going gets frigid.  I have a Zoot Ultra Jacket that I bought a few years ago that has been my savior in really cold temps.  I can wear it with a thin base layer for those days where it's chilly and I can wear it with a heavier fleece lined top for those freeze the the snot in your nose cold days.  My go to base layer is my Mizuno Breathe Thermo top.  It's hands down one of the best pieces of clothing I own.   I also have an amazing pair of Zoot Ultra tights that get me through those really chilly days. 

2.  Warm Up.  This may seem counter intuitive but on those really chilly days, take 10-15 minutes to do a warm up inside.  The cold won't seem so cold once you get outside.  And, your muscles will thank you. 

3. Don't Neglect Your Extremities.   If you want to stay warm, gloves and a hat are a must.  For really cold days, a balaclava might even be necessary.   In terms of footwear, I swear by my Smart Wool socks.  You want something that keeps you warm yet wicks any sweat or moisture away from your feet.  Wet feet = cold feet and that's incredibly unpleasant on a long run. 

4.  Dress for Less.  In the winter the general rule of thumb is that you should dress for 10-20 degrees warmer than it actually is.  That's a big range because it all boils down to personal preference.  You should be a little chilly when you head out the door because you'll warm up during your run and the ultimate goal is to be comfortable on your run.

5.  Learn to Love the 'Mill.  Sometimes the conditions just don't allow you to go outside so this machine becomes a necessary evil for winter training.  I'll admit, I'm no fan but this past winter was BRUTAL in terms of ice so rather than potentially injure myself by doing my speed work outside, I did about 80% of my speed work inside on the treadmill.  I even did one long run on the treadmill (20km of torture).  It didn't make for the best winter of training but the miles got done and I have to admit, by the end of it all, I actually really enjoyed doing my interval work on the treadmill.

Make sure you head over the the link up to check out the other Friday Five posts! 

Is there anything you'd add to this list? 

What are your go to cold weather pieces?