3 Ways to Survive Winter Running

I like running in cool weather. In Colorado, where I lived for 7 years, the air is cool and the sun is warm and I’m a happy girl.

Disgusting place to run, huh?

Disgusting place to run, huh?

In New York, how do I put this? There’s a lot less sun and a lot more frickin freezing cool air.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

On days like yesterday when the temperature is 22, feels like 12 with 22 mph wind gusts, it’s hard to go out and run. Especially if you’re kinda “eh” about running at the moment. So what are sure-fire ways to get your buns out there on the frozen pavement?

  1. Go with a friend. Birdie and I chatted through 5 miles yesterday and it made a WORLD of difference. She is one of 2 reasons I will run through this winter. The other is pure vanity, I’ll admit it.
  2. Run to food. Most breakfast places in the ‘burbs don’t care if you’re in run clothes and I know my favorite diner doesn’t judge. If pancakes don’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.
  3. Sign up for a weekend fun run. No pressure, just a few dollars paid might be what you need to get to that weekend morning run or midweek training run.
I draw the line if I need more layers than this.

I draw the line if I need more layers than this.

How do you stay motivated in the cold? Let’s be real, vanity is the primary motivator in my world. There, I’ve said it twice so you don’t have to feel shy about it. Friends, food, and races are a bonus.

Now go out and run!

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Winter Running

This time of year is probably my 2nd favorite time of year to run. First place is always Fall. 50°. Shorts. Long sleeve shirt. Love.

Fall in New York is just the best.

Winter running is awesome because I don’t sweat like a beast and I can run in the middle of the afternoon instead of the crack of dawn. Yay!

If you’re not dressed to run in the Winter, it can be a miserable experience.

 

Cold days + wrong gear = treadmill

For my 34° (feels like 29°) run in Central Park this morning, I was a tad overdressed but here’s what I wore:

LONG TIGHTS! It’s getting cold out there.

I’m wearing: Saucony tights (they don’t make them anymore, but these are close) and everything else is lululemon. Why? I have yet to fall in love with a pair of lululemon winter running tights. Don’t worry. They’re working on it.

My jacket is not available now, but the Run: Nuthin’ But Run Jacket and I threw the Run: Swiftly 1/2 Zip Long Sleeve on underneath.

 

I love a 1/2 zip anything. I get hot when I run but reserve the right to get chilled by a brisk wind all of the sudden. The half-zip keeps me running through all seasons. Love this.

I have a secret. I always wear a tank top underneath. Why? Isn’t that too much? Here’s the hard, fast truth.

The Cool Racerback is long enough to cover my lower back and upper butt and that is my key to staying warm. One good gust blowing up my back or down my bottom and I’m getting in a cab.

CRBs 4-eva!

So, yeah. I like to be cozy. This morning, I could have replaced the long-sleeve 1/2 zip with a short sleeve and been plenty comfortable.

My favorite gloves (until that cold air starts blowing down from Canada) are the Brisk: Run Gloves:

Easy access to my iPod or iPhone. Me likey.

And then the Brisk: Run Headband, which is the best way to display a pop of fun color on your run, especially if you’re running in the dark!

As the weather gets colder, I don’t necessarily add layers, but I change them. Always a moisture-wicking first layer, but I may opt for one of the new fancy-schmancy jackets lulu has right now. Stay tuned for that review! More is not always better, sometimes you just need a warmer single layer.

Dear Santa,
I want this.
xoxo
Abby

So, there you have it. Now you’re dressed and ready to go out in the cold and run your butts off. Hey, who will I see at the NYC Runs Hot Chocolate 5K/10K on December 16th? I’ll probably try to wear my brightest lulu so my husband can spot me (he misses me pretty regularly, I have no idea how).

Congratulations to the HUNDREDS of you who PR’d this weekend in Philly. Can’t wait to read all the roundups.

What are your go-to cold weather pieces? Am I missing something awesome? Tell me!

Now go out and run!

Winter Accessories & Mulligan

Today was supposed to be my first video blog, complete with exercises. Guys, it was bad. I mean, like, embarrassingly, horrifyingly BAD. I will try again tomorrow. I also didn’t get to make this amazingness tonight because the post office was a zoo. Damn. *sigh* Tomorrow is another day. Instead, let’s talk more about winter running!

I was sprinting up and down First Avenue on the very lovely 38th St. to 42nd St. hill this morning and loving every single minute of it. The Runner’s World Holiday Streak is alive and well with me! I thought about all the runners who have turned in their sneakers since having completed whatever race they ran this Fall and how sad I was for them that they’d not be experiencing the joy of running in the cold, crisp air of winter because they’re afraid of being cold. My New Yorkers feel me on this (and my Chicagoans even more!): winter running is AWESOME!

I plan on giving a step-by-step of how to prepare for the cold as the winter gets on, but for now let’s start with the basics. Accessories!

#1. Gloves!

Fancy-schmancy, high-tech little things!

These lululemon Run: Brisk gloves are perfect for right now. They’re light but give just the right amount of warmth until we dip into the freezing temperatures and have to bring out the big guns. Bonus: they have these awesome tech-y tabs on the thumb and forefinger so you can use all your gadgets without having to take off your gloves. So cool. They go fast, so look for them in your local store. The arctic run gloves are a warmer option that also have the tab-y things.

#2. Neck warmer (Is there a better name for this?)

No need for a zip-up with this little gem!

So, not all of my tops have a zip-up over the neck and I really like my neck to be warm when I’m out in the wintertime. Hello neck warmer! The drawstring allows me to tighten it over my neck so none of that cool East River breeze sends chills down my back. It’s also long enough to be pulled up over my mouth and nose for those REALLY cold runs. I got this last year from “Santa” from lululemon and haven’t seen another one since, but Under Armour makes these.

#3. A great hat

Mmmmm...toasty warm.

I don’t generally break out the hats until about mid-January. I’m a ear-warmer girl til then. But when I do, I bring out the big guns. This Under Armour beanie is lined with a moisture-wicking layer (because we all know what a sweaty beast I am) but then has a super-cute and super-warm knit top layer that has NEVER failed to keep my head toasty warm on even the coldest of runs. It’s awesome.

These three things will make or break your winter running season. Invest wisely in good, quality items and you will be that “crazy runner” blazing through the wintery streets and loving every minute of it.

Now go out and run!

Winter Running: The Sweaty Truth

My 6.5 miles this morning was a balmy 37°, exactly the temperature I like my runs to be! Cool, breezy and I still get all sweaty and warm by the end. I am still wearing my favorite Run: Inspire Crops Run: Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve & the slightly heavier Define Jacket on my runs. I am also sporting my Run: Brisk gloves but they are clean out of them all over the country AND online! (All images courtesy of lululemon athletica because I forgot to take one of myself)

I don’t generally break out the super-long, brushed inside layer Sugoi tights until about mid-January. Because I have the luxury of running when the sun is out in the winter, it isn’t necessary to do the crazy-warm hat and full tights that those of you who are busting out your runs at 5am in the dark. Ya’ll bundle up out there!

The idea surrounding dressing properly for your winter runs is that you are warm enough that you DO sweat. Sometimes it’s just too damn cold and, no matter how many layers you have on, you just don’t feel those beads of sweat roll down your face.

HOWEVER (read this carefully)

JUST BECAUSE YOU AREN’T DRIPPING SWEAT, DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT SWEATING!!!!!!

What it means is that you may not be releasing as much heat as during the hot summer months and/or the heat that your body is releasing that normally forms sweat beads on your skin is evaporating quickly in the cool, dry air. If your heart rate is elevated, you are releasing heat from your body. It’s science. You are sweating whether you feel sweaty or not.

What does this mean for your winter running? Quite simply, it means you need to pay as much attention to your hydration in the winter as you do in the summer. MORE, since the heat blasting from your office building and forced air heaters at home are probably sucking every bit of moisture out of your body throughout the day and by the time you get to your run, you’re already dehydrated.

The water fountains in Central Park are almost all turned off (didn’t the just turn on?) but the Hudson River Park ones are year-round temperature controlled so New Yorkers, take note and plan ahead for your runs. The rest of you, don’t forget your mobile hydration! Last thing you want is to be the runner who passed out due to hydration on the coldest day of the year. That’s just embarrassing.

Ok, now go out and run!

(PS. I wrote this entire post with one hand while the other arm had an IV in it. Now that’s talent!)