Running on pavement = not bad.
Running on compact snow = do-able.
Running on fluffy snow = slippery.
Running in slush = death.
Winnipeg couldn’t have been more ready to dip back down from arctic temperatures to something semi-livable last weekend. From skating at the forks to going for a stroll in shorts, people celebrated the comfortable winter temperatures. I celebrated with a jog and it was a slushy, sloppy mess. I was overdressed, STILL managed to chap my face and dragged myself through way too much slush and puddles. One treat, however, was the clean pavement that peeked through.
The forecast predicts some more unusually warm days this month, so enjoy the weather while we have it but keep in mind important cold weather basics that I managed to mess up.
- Wear moisture wicking socks. It’s still cold enough for a cotton sock to make your feet cold from perspiration. Plus, if you wind up running through some slush, your feet will feel a bit more protected from wetness with a proper sock. Acrylic is a good moisture wicking fabric.
- Re-evaluate your runners. Many running shoes have areas of mesh to maximize breathability. If your runners have a lot of mesh, you’re asking for trouble in wet conditions. You can buy trail running shoes that are suitable for winter, but I recommend a shoe with minimal mesh that can be worn all seasons.
- Protect your face. When it’s really cold, a scarf, balaclava or bandana is great. When it’s not too cold, still consider putting Vaseline on your cheeks. The condensation from your breath will moisten your face. If you take a walking break or do a cool down, your face will get cold again. This change in temperature can lead to uncomfortable windburn or chapped skin.
- Cover your head. Because you lose so much heat on your head, it’s important to cover up, even when the temperatures are closer to zero. Your ears especially can get cold. Again, thin moisture wicking fabric will keep you more comfortable and prevent overheating.
- Don’t overdress. I spend a lot of time finding ways to keep warm, but when the weather is nice, overdressing can be brutal. You should never need more than three layers, even in the most frigid temperatures. In temps -10(ish) or warmer, you probably don’t need your insulation layer.