I don’t belong to a gym and I don’t have a treadmill so every single run happens outside (unless I’m on vacation somewhere with a gym). It’s winter right now and it’s Calgary so I’ve been out running in temperatures from about plus 10C to minus 25C so far this season. I will never love winter running because I hate being cold but I know that I can run without freezing in most weather once I put on the right gear. Here’s a little look at what I wear to run at above zero right down to those -30 days.
When It Is Warm (> 0C)
The best part about winter in Calgary is those warm days that happen and make it feel like it’s not winter. When I get to run on those days, I usually just put on my winter running tights (an older pair of Garneau winter tights), a mid-weight Icebreaker merino shirt and my spring running jacket (an on-sale MEC Tace jacket). I have lots of cheap pairs of polypropylene gloves and a (very old) MEC fleece headband to keep the hands and head warm.
Between Zero and About Minus 10
Despite my almost constant whining about the cold, my usual running temperatures seem to fall in this range. I trade my lightweight jacket for my beloved Lululemon Run Inspire winter running jacket and add a fleece toque and thicker gloves. My winter running jacket (which is now into its third winter) has a few features that make it perfect for all temperatures – sleeves that add an extra layer of hand warmth and a double zipper on the neck that allows me to fit a neck warmer underneath so I can wear it for anything.
I will throw a light weight merino wool shirt underneath and then add a pair of windstopper pants ($10 on sale at MEC) to keep me warm if it is a little cooler, I’m feeling wimpy, or it is windy out. I also start out with my fleece neck warmer and a pair of windproof gloves (which may come off part way through the run).
Not Wanting to Go Running Cold (about -25C to anything colder)
Once it starts to get really cold I add a pair of fleece pants to the bottom and another jacket to my top. My down(ish) jacket was inspired by this Lululemon jacket but since I didn’t have almost $300 for more running gear I found a similar type item at the thrift store ($5) which works great on those few days a year I really need it. All this stuff weighs a bit more than I’d like but when it is that cold I’m not usually out for speed.
My feet are always in my trail shoes and a pair of wool socks. Feet are the one body part I haven’t really figured out how to dress for cold weather, so when it gets really cold I just have to suffer with chilly toes. If it is icy I have a pair of grippy things for my shoes but I don’t wear them that often since I don’t like how they feel on cement when there is no ice. I keep my phone in my SPIbelt and I’ve also attached a front and back light to the belt for added visibility in the morning and at night. If it is really cold I put the phone inside my jacket.