First off let me preface by saying that running in cold and treacherous conditions may be dangerous. Please be careful if you are not used to running in wintery weather.
That being said, running in snowy wintery conditions can be awesome! Getting outside in blustery conditions does take a little practice but with the right gear and mindset it may be your new favorite running season.
Choosing what to wear will take time to figure out based on your preferences. This is probably the most crucial aspect of winter running. The challenge lies in temperature and moisture control. When you start running you will always be cold if you are dressed properly then hopefully you will warm up to a comfortable temperature. Layers and a light wind breaker that you can peel off once you begin warming up is always an options. Plus it is great to have a windbreaker in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. You will also want to wear a material that wicks moisture. Under your laysers of warm clothes you will build up sweat as you run. If you are not wear moisture wicking clothes you will eventually become quite chilly as you have wet clothes against your body.
Extremities are important. Your core generally isn’t too hard to regulate but hands, feet, ears can quickly become unbearably cold while the rest of you is hot if you do not have proper clothing. Reno Running Company carries a variety of gloves and mittens made specifically for runners. They are lightweight and convertible. I highly recommend a buff for your head. If you have not tried a buff for around your neck, face, head wrists, etc. do yourself a favor and watch our video about buffs.
When it comes to your feet you will want to run with taller run specific socks to wick the moisture and prevent blisters. You will want to go with a thick winter version. Also, you may want to consider investing in gore-tex or waterproof shoe. Lastly, when the snow is a bit deeper ankle gaiters which are generally meant for rocks and debris work great to keep snow from packing down your ankles
Some runners avoid winter running because it can be quite slippery and they are afraid of falling. That is understandable. However, there are ways to prevent this. Firstly I would recommend running somewhere flat if you are uncomfortable running in slippery conditions. Any little bit of off-camber terrain can cause slippage and cause you splat. Another tip is to stay off road. Sometimes the dirt and sand from trails provides a bit more grip than a slick and icy sidewalk. Lastly, you may want to consider get a pair of traction devices for your shoes. They work great and can be used on almost any type of running shoe. What am I talking about?…. just watch another video
Also, since it is darker in the winter months you should also be prepared with lighting (headlamp and blinking safety lights) should you find yourself out in the dark.
So if it still sounds quite miserable to you I challenge you to give it a shot. Find some buddies and go play in the snow. Winter months are a great time to not focus on nailing specific workouts but to get out the door and continue that active lifestyle by simply moving, feeling the crisp fresh air and reaping the reward for the accomplishment of crushing a wintery blizzard run. You’ll feel great!
Written by Ben Tedore,
Sierra Endurance Sports Athlete