Here are some ideas/tips/tricks of the winter running trade to help you get through the cold months to come.
- Don’t want to buy Yak Trax? That’s okay. You can take an oldish pair of running shoes that still have some decent life left in them and modify them. Go to your local hardware store and buy some hex head screws or sheet metal screws (you don’t want flat headed screws). They need to be about ¼-3/8ths in length. You need a bunch of them. Screw them into the bottom of your shoe so the head is out to grip the ice.
- Wear ski goggles to protect your eyes from the cold and snow. A neck gaiter to protect your neck from exposure and a mask if the cold dry air bothers your lungs or makes you cough. Use a thin layer of Vaseline to protect any exposed skin, including your lips.
- Colleges and University campuses are great places to run because they have lots of cleared sidewalks without motorized traffic. They clear their sidewalks regularly and are usually the first to do so. They have their own maintenance crews and don’t have to wait on the city or county to clear things.
- Run with the wind in your face on your way out and the wind at your back on your return trip. During your run, you’re going to get hot and sweaty and having the wind at your back is much better than having it in your face.
- If your shoes are soaking wet when you finish your run, stuff newspaper into them to absorb the water and to help maintain their structure. Don’t put them in the dryer or the oven. It will ruin them.
Here is a guide on how to dress depending on the temperature outside. I found this at RunnersConnect.com. Runnersworld.com has something very similar. Runners World also has this nifty “What to Wear Tool” that takes into consideration your gender, temperature, wind, conditions, time of day and intensity before it pops out a clothing recommendation. Find it here.
- 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest to keep your core warm. Half tights if you’re a polar bear.
10 to 20 degrees:
- 2 tops, 2 bottoms. A jacket over your base layer.
0 to 10 degrees:
- 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Windbrief for the fellas.
Minus 10 to 0 degrees:
- 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.
Minus 20 degrees
- 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses.
- Wear tight clothes because they trap heat better and if they get wet, you can capitalize on your own body heat, much like a wetsuit