run · thoughts · training · triathlon

Running in the Bitter Cold

It’s happened. Winter has arrived in Minnesota. Strangely, I start to feel like we might get away without the bitter cold blasts of January – especially when the last week of December had 24 degree temperatures and rainy days!

The literal bright spot for me is the sunshine. It’s as sunny as it is cold and if you can find it within yourself to exercise outside I believe that it is absolutely worth it. 

As I was running my short 3 mile route today I started to compile all the lessons I had learned from the last 5 winters of all-weather running. Just in case these might help motivate you out the door, I figured I’d share:

1. Cover everything. Lightly. It is no fun to have to unwind your face or head from underneath layers of scarves while running. Breathing cold air can be difficult but after a few minutes & once you’ve warmed up, you might want to pull down your face covering so make it easy to do so. 

2. Trust your body’s ability to heat itself. Even when it’s frigid you will warm up. It usually takes me about a mile. Sometimes my ankles or feet are cold for the entire first mile, but then my heat catches up with me. To be hot while your eyelashes and nostrils are collecting icicles is truly a feeling of invincibility. 

3. Don’t run on sidewalks. People aren’t the greatest at clearing the snow and ice in the winter. Just run down the middle of the road! The added benefit is that the tire tracks leave an obvious path and black ice can be seen clearly. 

4. Avoid busy streets & car exhaust fumes. I forgot how gross car exhaust fumes are when it’s terribly cold. I’m sure it’s due to some scientific reason. All I know for sure is that the smell & taste of all that carbon monoxide is disgusting in January & February. And it makes it even harder to breathe. 

5. Take all of your clothes off within 2 minutes of getting back inside your house. If you aren’t going directly to the shower just throw on something warm & dry. Don’t even wait to cool down or go through a stretching routine in your sweaty clothes. Otherwise your sweat will chill you and it’ll take more than a hot shower to warm up. 

My phone doesn’t operate when it is this cold so I can’t show you the gorgeous view of the sun over Lake Nokomis this morning. You will just have to imagine the giant orange ball slowly rising over the frozen lake. Instead here is a shot of my winter running gear!

Short sleeve tech tee, long sleeve tech tee, C9 warm running tights, Sporthill wind pants, Smartwool socks, Hoka One One Clifton 2 shoes, Patagonia down jacket, Buff, Mustache Run 10k finisher’s hat and REI fleece lined mittens.

The only new addition are the REI mittens and unfortunately they were too hot. My hands were very sweaty and I had to keep taking them off. Otherwise this is what I wear when it’s below zero with a negative windchill. 


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