Hi everyone! I’m excited to join up for this week’s Friday Five with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia! This week’s topic is Cold Weather Running Tips. And since I live in Alaska now I should be a pro at this, right? Um, nope. It has been colder and snowier all over the Lower 48 this week than in Anchorage and most of Alaska. Do you know what it’s like to watch people in Philly post about snow when you’re just dying for it up here and it’s not coming?!?! Why is the snow in the mountains melting? On a serious note, Anchorage is traditionally the 6th snowiest city in the US (was 17th last year, Philly got more snow) BUT it’s the second coldest city in the US (after Minneapolis). And even though last week I posted a cry for help with winter running, I do have some pretty good experience with cold weather running! So I’m excited to share some cold weather running tips with you that have helped me in the past (but I’m always looking for more gear suggestions too!).
1. Cover up! This one sometimes takes trial and error, but layers are your friend and you always want to be prepared. If it’s below freezing I wear fleece-lined tights and a fleece-lined shirt. I also wear gloves and an ear warmer because without those I am seriously cold. Depending on wind conditions I’ll wear my Buff or running scarf. Sometimes it’s nice to have that extra layer around my neck and helps me breathe better! You can always take stuff off, so I bring all of my layers and once I have an idea of what will work I leave extra ones in the car. You want to dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer but still be safe from the wind and snow!
2. Get traction. If it’s icy or snowy, running gets significantly harder but also more fun. Last year I used YakTrax Run shoe covers, and I LOVED them! They don’t work on trails that are only half covered in ice because they’ll break on regular surfaces, but I was able to maintain a good speed while running on really slippery stuff. This year I got my Mizunos studded so I’ll have to see how that compares!
3. Be more safety aware than usual. Less people are out running in the cold, and there’s also the added dangers of slippery roads and low temps that can seriously mess with a runner. If you run alone like me, make sure it’s on a frequently used trail or road, that you tell someone where you’re going, and that you bring your phone AND an alternate form of ID. My phone dies quickly in the cold so a backup ID option is good (how can I help my phone not do this?). Also, this is not the time to recreate a badass Pinterest quote. If it’s crazy outside and you’re scared to go out, don’t do it. You can always run later (or tomorrow) but if something happens it’s just not worth it.
4. Embrace the snow. It’s so beautiful and peaceful on a snowy trail. There’s just something about running through the snowy woods that makes me incredibly happy. Sure, my toes are wet and I’m using muscles my body never uses, but it’s such a unique way to get outside in the winter. Also, you never know when a race will be snowy and you’ll need to have snow-running skills to do well!
5. Have a post-run warmup plan. I always keep an extra blanket in my car at all times, as well as a dry towel and extra clothes (hoodie, dry sports bra, long sleeved shirt, sweatpants, and dry socks and shoes) in my car whenever I drive to a running trail in the winter. I’ve had to use these more than once and I’ve been so grateful that I could get warmer quickly, especially in the few situations where I was feeling really rough. The best post-run warmup plan? A cup of hot chocolate and a hot shower. It makes it all worth it 🙂
Are you a winter runner? What’s your number one tip for staying warm?