I walked into work on Monday and my client asked me, "How do you run outside when it's this cold and there is snow on the ground?" I have tried many different tactics for staying warm and until this year I gave up around 35 degrees and headed inside. This year I have taken a few new steps to be successful in staying outdoors.
1) Make a date! Having a running buddy and a scheduled run makes it hard to say no. If you cancel you are giving up your run and most likely theirs. If you don't have a running buddy, put your run in your calendar it helps to make it a priority!
2) Keep your lungs warm. What does that mean? Cover your mouth and nose with a neck gaiter. By keeping your breath warm, breathing will be easier and allow you to prolong your activity.
3) Wear two layers of gloves and hand warmers. I know for me when my hands are cold I could not be more uncomfortable. I have found a strategy to keep my hands warm. I wear a base layer glove and a larger, fleece pair on top. For really cold days, I also use hand warmers.
4) When there is a chance of a slippery/icy surface wear Yaktrax. Yaktrax are a traction device that fit around your running shoes, preventing slipping and allowing you to maintain your running form on uncertain surfaces.
5) Your outermost layer should be wind resistant. Your mid-layer should be looser fitting, fleece is a good option to stay warm. And your base layer should be snug fitting and made of wicking material to pull the moisture away from your skin.
6) How do you know if you are dressed warm enough? Dress for 15 to 20 degrees warmer than the temperature. This will allow your body temperature to increase. It will reduce the risk of overheating and excessive sweating (which can actually make you cold). Wear lots of layers, so you can remove as you go. You should be slightly chilled during your first mile, if you are warm when you step outside you are probably over dressed.
7) Wear a hat. IT IS a myth that we lost 80% of our heat through our head, but the reason you should wear a hat is because you lose heat from areas that are exposed to cold. Therefore if the rest of your body is covered and your head is not, the heat will dissipate from there. So cover it up!