Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cold Weather Hacks for the Outdoor Runner


What happens when you're a runner and the temps turn cold?

If you're anything like me, you suck it up and head outside! It's no secret that I don't like 'Milly (my treadmill), and she's not too fond of me either.

I live in Iowa, after all, and winter seems to last six months (at the minimum) here. We not only have frigidly cold temps (often sub-ZERO with windchill), we also tend to get a lot of snow and the wind can be most ferocious. But, I refuse to let Momma N defeat me.




To make the frigid temps a bit more bearable, one needs to learn to layer one's running gear. You will see temperature charts all over the place, indicating what to wear or how many layers are optimal. In all honesty, I have found it's really a matter of personal preference. Some of us get warm faster than others and some of us need more layers.

None the less, I have come up with these Cold Weather Hacks for the Outdoor Runner. All of these have worked well for me. I have to confess, these little hacks have given me a certain (subtle) guilty pleasure because most cost nothing but a little creativity and forethought.

Here are a few of my favorites:

*Consider layering a fleece headband UNDER a stocking hat.  A hat will keep you warm, but sometimes if the wind is blowing, a little extra something underneath will make it that much warmer.
Can you see the turquoise headband, hiding underneath the hat? (ignore the ice crystals on my ears)
*Wearing arm warmers between the layers on your arms works wonders. Usually, my base layer is pretty fitted (and is fleece-lined). A second layer over that adds more warmth, but sneaking in an additional layer (via an arm warmer, BETWEEN the layers) really ups the toasty-ness. I have several pairs of "real" arm warmers. but actually my favorite hack is to wear a pair of cut-off knee-high stockings instead, especially in the winter.
You can find inexpensive stockings at discount stores like Target or Walmart
*How about layering light-weight tights (or basic leggings) over fleece-lined running tights? Who doesn't like a little extra color or a funky pattern? Walmart has tons of cheap leggings for less than $5.00...which I would not wear anywhere in public (or even on their own, because they're not really warm). Layering them over "real" running tights works just fine for me, thank you very much.
Remember my obnoxious Christmas "tights" from last year? They actually were inexpensive leggings layered over thermal running tights!
*Sunglasses are not just for summer. When there's a layer of snow on the ground, a bright sunshiny day can almost be blinding. Even on a cloudy, grey day, sunglasses are ideal for keeping the cold air and wind buffered from your eyes. I have extremely dry skin and very sensitive eyes....so any eye irritation results in tears flowing down my face. When the temps are cold, those tears feel like ice water. Brrrr. Personally, I'm in no hurry for developing more wrinkles, so keeping my eyes covered is a no-brainer.
Wearing your sunglasses OVER your headband or hat will keep your ears covered better than if the worn under
*Keep your phone warm, too! My phone's battery doesn't have a lot of mojo on really cold days, but when I place the phone in a fleece mitten or glove and cradle it in the palm of my hand (under my curled up fingers), it has a lot more protection from the cold. Besides, I cannot stand feeling it bounce in my pocket and it's a hassle trying to dig it out from under my layers if I have it in a belt.
Stash your phone in an extra warm & toasty glove or mitten
So, there you have it. A few inexpensive hacks to get you through the cold weather... or at the very least, make the cold weather a little more bearable.

Granted, not everyone is as eager to brave the elements outdoors as I am. Some may prefer to stay inside, either opting for a trip to an indoor track or firing up a treadmill. That's all good. Myself, I prefer the fresh air and constantly changing terrain the outdoors offer. That's my story (and I'm sticking with it).

How about you? Are you an outdoor runner who braves the cold weather? Or do you prefer to stay inside when the temps plummet? Got any cold weather hacks of your own to share?

I'm linking this with Meranda and Lacey for the Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness link-up. 



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***Disclaimer*** Much of this text, as well as some of the pictures, first appeared in a previous post, Winter Running Hacks for 2018 (January 2018).

36 comments:

  1. I am ok with running in the cold, its when it gets icy that I turn to the treadmill! And to be honest most days it just saves time and is easier to run indoors than to layer up. We got a few inches yesterday which makes for an icy mess out there this morning:(

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    1. The ice does make it more dangerous! Those are the days I usually skip running altogether to avoid the 'mill....unless there's been several icy days in a row....then I might have to reacquaint with 'Milly

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  2. I will definitely brave cold weather, but not always. If I'm feeling run down, I won't do it. Today we are in the midst of a snowstorm. And while I could probably run outside due to my screw shoes, there's also the little fact of drivers on the road. It's really too treacherous to drive out to a path, so I will be on the treadmill today.

    Totally agree about the sunglasses. But sometimes all they do is fog up!

    I may have to try the arm warmer thing -- I haven't in the past. Although I could see them getting really soggy. I sweat everywhere!

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    1. I'm not afraid of the cold weather, either. Thankfully, I don't usually have any early spring big races, so I don't have to follow much of a training regimen in the cold months...if I miss a run here or there, it's not a big deal at all.

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  3. You know I am out there all year long. It doesn't mean I like it, tho!

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    1. Agreed. I don't love it either...but I can tolerate it. Some.

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  4. These are great ideas. I run hot but have less tolerance for being cold during that first mile than I used to. Great reminded on the phone!

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    1. I don't like being cold either...hence, that's why I love summer so much more ;-)

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  5. These ARE great cold weather running tips. I especially love the headband under the hat trick and the funky Wallmart tights over fleece-lined running tights. I'm gonna try those.

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    1. I like funky and crazy patterns on my legs...but I flat-out refuse to pay top dollar for fancy thermal tights. I'd rather have a couple pair of quality tights (even if they're ugly) that I can "pretty up" with inexpensive (but fun) leggings ;-)

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  6. I love running outside through the winter as much as possible however around here there are times when the roads are clearly unsafe to do so. As much as I plan my routes to stay off the shoulders of roads, there are a few areas that that's not possible. When it's super snowy/icy those shoulders are gone and I just don't trust the drivers enough to feel safe.

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    1. No kidding...I never trust drivers to see me, or if they'll be able to slow down if they needed to avoid hitting me.

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  7. I too like being outside and most of my TM runs are because I am pressed for time and prefer to stay home rather than weather related.
    I love the idea of the inexpensive leggings over real running tights. That's a great way to be festive for a race yet stay warm. I recently got some very thick fleece lined pantyhose for work and now I'm thinking maybe I should wear them under leggings for running as well. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I even wear my running tights under my jeans or "regular" leggings on really cold days (and to football games).

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  8. These are great tips! I really hate the cold so this is helpful

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    1. I'm not a fan of the cold either. Give me summer!!!!

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  9. Definitely cannot let momma nature win! Great tip to put your phone into a mitten to stay warm

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    1. Right? if the phone is in a mitten, it's easily accessible for those selfies ;-)

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  10. Great tips! I hadn't thought about layering the arm warmers or the cheap tights. I'll have to remember that as Winter gets going.

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    1. My arms/legs are always colder than my core...so the extra layers feel good.

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  11. Love all your layering tips. I've never thought about putting "printed" tights that I Wouldn't wear in public either over my running pants. Kinda makes it fun too!

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    1. Seriously, some of the printed leggings are just ghastly for fashion's sake, but they are fun for running ;-)

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  12. I don't mind the cold as long as the sun is out. I'm having a hard time right now since it's dark when I get home, and with winter, that means I can't see the conditions outside. I'd rather be training outside, but my treadmill works with my schedule.

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  13. Wow, I thought I knew all the hacks! I never thought to put my phone in a fleece mitten or something similar. They have been times I ran and my phone said it was too cold to work and turned off! I totally wear sunglasses in the winter. You are right, the snow is bright! I save the treadmill for the slippy days, not the cold days.

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    1. I save my treadmill for slippery days, too....or I just skip running LOL

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  14. I HATE being cold and when it is cold and windy out, I struggle to stay warm. My hands and my feet are the worst. I find adding a pair of knee-high socks (just plain cotton tube socks) helps enormously. Last year, my mom got me a pair of Kinvara runshields for Christmas and they are the bomb. Low cost alternative is duct-taping the mesh sections of shoes. Who need ventilation in the winter? I also wear plain everyday fleece mittens and hat - so much warmer than running gloves and specialty hats. This week I was out in the real feel temp of 11 degrees and was toasty except for my face... I will say I hate the wind, howeever, so if it is cold (under 25) and the wind is above 12 miles per hour, I am on the treadmill.

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    1. The wind definitely is the deal breaker for me....if it's super windy, I try to stay on routes that are more sheltered (with houses or trees) to avoid as much of the wind as possible.

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  15. Great tips! I love to run outside in winter but hands and phone are always an issue. I like the mitten trick and will try it! Also if you bring a portable charger, you can wake up your phone. I have a really small one!

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    1. I do have a portable charger, but I hate having too many things to carry LOL I don't like having things in both hands, and I detest things bouncing around in my pockets. I'm kind of high-maintenance ;-)

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  16. We just got a huge snow storm, so these tips are perfect! I love running in the winter as long as it is not icy out!!

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  17. Great tips and I particularly like the layered leggings one. I have running glasses with reactolite lenses which are perfect for summer and winter running - I'm really glad I invested in those.

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  18. Re: tights layers, I've fallen in love with Cuddl Dudds. They're too warm on top but perfect as a layer underneath a wind friendly one. I wish they were on sale more. I have a pai of the $5 Walmart tights that I bought while on vacation and my leggings tore. They're crap, but they're good in a pinch.

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  19. When I was in Chicago last weekend I was reminded of the bitter cold that I used to run in! I can't believe I was that girl that ran all the time in the winter!
    I have to say now that I have been in Texas for almost 10 years, I am a wimp in the cold! Haha

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  20. I detest being cold so I’m definitely loving all of these! I like the phone one too! I forget that it can get cold too! :P

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  21. An ear warmer underneath of a hat is a great idea. Thanks for the suggestion!

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