It's coming down pretty hard, so the kids busted out the gear. It turns out it IS a sledding day.

I’ve mentioned before that Jen and I have committed to running together two days a week. We drop the kids off at school (or meet an hour before pickup) and hit the road (or the trails). We’ve never run less that 5K, and after a couple of 8+ km runs, we’ve made a more solid commitment: Our ‘short’ run day will be a minimum of 6K, and our ‘long’ run day will be 8-10K. Each week.

Running does not come naturally for me; my body is not built for it. But I do it and man does it feel good when I’m done. Having a running partner has changed everything for me. Yes, it’s still hard, but we talk and we laugh and we spur each other on. On days where I want to give a big middle finger to running, Jennifer laughs and makes me run further than I had planned. On days where she was secretly hoping that I wouldn’t show up, I do, and tell her to GET RUNNING LADY. On days that we’re both not feeling it we do it and feel extra victorious when we make it out alive.

In addition to our distance commitment, we’ve committed to running outside all winter. Outside! ALL WINTER. Now, as much as Americans (and a lot of Canadians) think that we’re buried in snow six months of the year, it’s simply not the case. We’re not in (rainy) Vancouver, but we’re also not in the (Arctic-like) Prairies. We’ll get snow, and then it melts. And then we get more snow, and then it melts. So on, and so forth. Except on the ski hill, where it SNOWS. We’re REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THAT.

Jenn bought us some slip-on running trax for running in the snow. I bought some new running gear (Compression pants! Which leave nothing to the imagination!) and plan on wearing my ski jacket on the colder days. I’m already wearing gloves, but might have to buy a balaclava or something? Maybe?

I’m thinking I may need another layer of pants as well, and also a good head shake, because who runs outside in the winter?

(Two winters ago I stopped running altogether and getting started again in the spring was horrible. Last winter, I got a gym membership and ran on a treadmill 2-3 times a week. Treadmill running is as boring as you might imagine. So horrible, so monotonous. The only upside was keeping my running stamina up.)

Do any of you run/exercise outside in the winter? I’d love some advice/gear recommendations.


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  1. Hannah November 13, 2012 2:47 am edit

    Yep, having a running partner is AWESOME. I did my best (and most consistent) running when I was going with my little sister 3 times a week. Sadly, we no longer run together due to various circumstances. Although we do sometimes have duelling treadmills (I mean dreadmills) at the gym.

    I’m not really a run-outside-in-winter kind of girl, so that’s when I retreat indoors and hit the dreadmill. But I LOVE running in summer. I’m impressed that you’re going to keep it up all through your winter! Go girl!

  2. angella November 14, 2012 4:12 pm edit

    Thanks, you!

    Unrelated: I just got back from coffee with Shelley. :)

  3. Kerri November 13, 2012 10:01 am edit

    Running in the winter is my favourite! My must-haves – fleece-lined tights, a toque with a ponytail hole (they do exist!) and the Gore-Tex version of the Nike Air Pegasus. The shoes keep your feet toasty warm and dry – but I live in northern Ontario and once the snow falls, it stays!!

  4. angella November 14, 2012 4:14 pm edit

    After running in the snow yesterday, I am sold! on getting waterproof shoes. It was mild, 2C, but my feet were WET. Thanks for the reco!

  5. Kami November 13, 2012 11:00 am edit

    Since I live in the Arctic like Prairies, I do not run outside during the winter. I have in the past and my best recommendation is to put a pair of wind pants over your running tights on those cold days.

    Have fun! I’ll be on the treadmill doing intervals.

  6. angella November 14, 2012 4:15 pm edit

    Oh, wind pants is a great idea! Happy intervals. :)

  7. kakaty November 13, 2012 12:02 pm edit

    I am NOT a runner but am married to a strange creature who not only loves to run but prefers to do it in winter. That said, I know what gear he likes because I wash it :)
    He’ll run outside down to about 15 degrees (-9 C) and typically does 6-8 miles (I think that’s 9-12k) 3-4x a week.
    – thicker (winter) compression tights (on really cold days he’ll wear his compression sleeves over his calves, too.)
    – smart wool running socks
    – gloves – he splurged on a pair of North Face running gloves a couple of years ago and loves them. They have a vent he can open if his hands are getting too hot and an area on the back of the thumb to absorb a snot wipe (running’s so glamorous)
    -hat/toque – he has a tight-fitting beanie with 2 layers – one to absorb the sweat and one to trap the heat.
    -jacket – he typically just wears a long sleeve tech shirt with a light weight, breathable running jacket over it, even on the coldest of mornings. He heats up fast enough to stay warm.
    -he cycles through 2-3 pairs of shoes all winter as not to beat one pair up too much and uses slip on cleats for when it’s icy/snow (which is 80% of the winter)

    Most of his winter gear he gets though online discount sites and doesn’t have a ton of brand loyalty.

    It’s not unusual for him to come home from a run covered in frost! Good luck this winter!

  8. angella November 14, 2012 4:17 pm edit

    You are the best! The gloves sound amazing, for sure. I heat up pretty quick, too, I’m finding. It was just above freezing yesterday and I had to take off my outer jacket ten minutes in.

  9. K November 13, 2012 12:11 pm edit

    I usually run throughout the winter though not always as consistently as I do the rest of the year. I wear tights and long sleeved layers. I have an under armour cold gear compression shirt that I wear under other shirts (the compression shirt is NOT flattering so I always pair it with a looser shirt on top) for really cold days. I run hot though so I require less gear than most of my running buddies. I also wear a toque and gloves when it is really cold. I need to look into this toque with a ponytail hole mentioned in your comments! Luckily I don’t usually have to contend with snow since the city I run in keeps the sidewalks cleared regularly.

  10. angella November 14, 2012 4:19 pm edit

    Our roads are pretty great, but we went on a mountain trail yesterday and it was pretty snowy. But it was fun! I find that I run hot, too. I had my shirt and hoodie and that was enough – the jacket I had worn on top came off within ten minutes.

    I think I need that toque, too. :)

  11. Elaine November 13, 2012 1:57 pm edit

    We really have no seasons here except HOT and “cool-ish” so I cannot comment on running in the winter except to say that we are just thankful for it to be cool and also, GO YOU!!! :D

  12. angella November 14, 2012 4:19 pm edit

    Thanks, you. :)

  13. ChrisB November 13, 2012 3:00 pm edit

    I commend you for making the commitment to sticking with running outside throughout the winter. Many runners do this and love it. Obviously I don’t have to brave the element during the winter months where I live anymore (my braving the elements sets in by the end of June when temps start to hit 40+ degrees Celsius – come visit!!!), but I did live in Munich for four years while in college and ran every day, rain, shine, snow.
    Layering is the key to avoiding over- or under-dressing. Consider wearing a layer that blocks the wind; pants, tights and top that wick the moisture away from your skin; and, for the coldest days, a mid-layer that fits more loosely—like fleece—that insulates and moves the moisture from your base layer away from your skin.
    Your winter running wardrobe should include a running jacket, hat or headband, gloves, tights and a few long-sleeve shirts. Your body temperature increases as you run, so you don’t need many layers in most winter conditions.
    Dress for 15 to 20 Degrees Warmer: Over-dressing is easy to do in winter running. Dressing for 15 to 20 degrees warmer than it actually is will allow your body temperature to increase and reduce the risk of overheating and excessive sweat. You should feel chilled when you walk out the door. If you are toasty warm, remove a layer. Less is more.
    HAVE FUN!!!

  14. angella November 14, 2012 4:21 pm edit

    Thanks, Coach!

    As always, you have the best running advice. :)

    (I’ll pass on the 40+ C. I can’t do it, Captain.)

  15. Steph November 13, 2012 4:17 pm edit

    You inspire me.

  16. angella November 14, 2012 4:21 pm edit

    Aw, shucks. :)

  17. jenn November 14, 2012 4:01 pm edit

    I LOVE Running in the winter. And it gets pretty cold here (Minnesota). Its sure beats running in the humid hot summer. But weird.. I prefer to run alone. Not even with my husband :) It’s my time, just me, and I love it.

  18. angella November 14, 2012 4:22 pm edit

    I totally hear you – I still try to fit in one solo run a week. I love the me time, too.

  19. Mrs. Wilson November 14, 2012 4:29 pm edit

    I don’t have any gear recommendations, but I kind of envy your mild winters. Only the hardcores are out in the -50 temperatures here!

  20. Kristen November 14, 2012 5:58 pm edit

    I’m so darn proud of you, lady. It’s great to set that commitment early on, too — I decided all summer that I’d get up early to run so I didn’t lose my mileage, and when I actually DID it? I felt like a total rock star. I mean, that’s nowhere near as hard running in winter, but, hey, there you go.

    One thing I’ve found is that treadmill running gets more interesting with A) a friend (on a different treadmill, OBVIOUSLY) and B) an interval workout planned (like 1 minute at 8.5 mph, then bringing it down 0.1 every 15 seconds or something). So, if you’re forced inside, that might help!

  21. Victoria November 14, 2012 9:49 pm edit

    I really liked whatever it was running pants that I got at MEC. They were specific to minus whatever and they actually worked. I also got a decent pair of gloves, and a balaclava thingy and thin but good toque (oh, and ear band,) and a wind breaker weather proof but light-ish reflective jacket. For me it was worrying about slipping that made it tricky so if you have good grips and aren’t running on poorly kept sidewalk (boo Victora, boo!) you should be good to go. But investing in the cold weather specific run gear (OH, and SOCKS!) really helped make it doable. Worth the bucks for sure.

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