Running Sub 10s (Degrees F, that is)

>> Thursday, January 24, 2013

There's a good chance that you're cold, too. A huge portion of the US is under a deep freeze right now. I can't complain too much because we're having sunshine like we never, ever have -- so, I'll take the dip for some happy rays any day of the week.

The truth remains: It "feels like" -2 degrees F.

My weekly exercise has looked a bit like this lately:

M: Rest day + enjoy gym pool w/ Ada
T: Run 3 to 4 miles, swim 1/2 mile
W: Run 4 to 5 miles
R: Run 3 to 4 miles, swim 1/2 mile
F: OFF or do at-home workout DVD
S: Run 5 to 6 miles
S: Run 8 to 10 miles + yoga (trying to fit this in)

= Running around 25 miles average, etc.

I run on the treadmill some days of the week, but I'd much rather get in the bulk of my mileage outdoors, even when it's frigid. I've written many posts about how to train outdoors + dress for when it's cold (you can check them out here, here, and most recently here).

When you run outdoors this time of year, there's usually one of two reasons to credit.

1.) You are a "real" runner, whatever that means.
2.) You don't have a gym membership or treadmill at home.

I've been in both spots throughout my years of running. But when temps get this cold, I have a  few ways I stay comfortable outdoors.

  • I just jump in. I find I'm always cold the first mile, but then warm up and feel -- dare I say -- comfortable. It's like getting into a pool.
  • I go slow. Adjusting to the cold air can be difficult. It's harder to breathe, so there's no shame in slowing your mile pace. Or deciding not to track at all. You're out there, who cares how fast you're going!
  • I always wear a hat and socks -- heat escapes the heat/feet the fastest.
  • I cover my mouth, too. As I wrote, breathing in the cold air can be harsh on your lungs. It helps to have a line of defense.
  • I slather on the lip balm and lotion before heading out. Dry skin is the enemy and difficult to tame once it takes hold.
  • I wear contacts over glasses due to fogging up. It's the most annoying thing . . . ever!
  • But if it's sunny, I slap on sunglasses -- especially if there's lots of blinding white snow.
  • I have invested in a good running jacket, vest, and tights. You really only need one of each.
  • I have something warm waiting for me at home. Be it tea or a long hot shower. It's helpful to know there's comfort just around the bend.
  • I try to run in the daylight if possible. The night -- darkness -- always feels colder to me no matter the temperature. I may be weird.
  • I am generally aware of the temperature ranges, but don't obsess. I try my best to check what the temp was AFTER I run so I don't dwell on the OMGSOCOLD reality.
Here's what I wore on today's run.

I was completely comfortable after that first mile. Layers upon layers. And I'm glad I did it. I even got a high-five from a fellow crazy runner out there. There weren't many of us, so I was happy to see a kind face, even if it was covered by a scarf!

Is it freezing where you are? Have you been running outdoors?

PS: More Valentine's Day DIY fun on Writing Chapter Three. This time, a Pom Heart Plaque. I'm having too much fun.

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