I love winter running!
Yes, even living in Montreal, where it snows in the winter and can be as cold as -30 degrees Celsius. I would even say that winter is my favorite season for running. The landscapes are white and deserted, my usual routes change completely: the Quebec mountains become magnificent playgrounds.
Running in winter can be great as long as you are well equipped! Indeed, you have to adapt to the wind, the temperature, the snow, the humidity, and the terrain.
I'm going to tell you how I dress from head to toe so you’ll be happy to run even on the coldest days!
How to Dress to Run in the Cold
Always wear a toque, preferably a sports toque, which is thinner and more comfortable than ordinary models. Also, models designed for sports wick away perspiration.
I have a neck warmer that I wear over my running coat. When it's really cold, I pull it up to just under my eyes so my face is protected from the wind.
I usually wear 3 layers of clothing. My number one rule: NO COTTON! Cotton clothes get wet with sweat and can get very cold. Prefer polyester or warm and breathable wools like merino wool.
My 3 Layers:
1st layer: close to the body, long sleeves, to absorb perspiration.
2nd layer: close to the body, thicker to keep warm.
3rd layer: running jacket with a zipper to let in some air if it's hot.
Don't overdress, it's normal to feel a little cold at first, after a few minutes of effort the body heat increases.
Never leave home without mittens! I prefer mittens to gloves, when fingers are stuck together they keep each other warm.
The Lower Body
I wear leggings. And if it's very cold I add jogging pants over them.
Waterproof merino wool socks.
Shoes: after trying out several shoes, I decided not to buy specific shoes for winter. I keep the same shoes that I use the rest of the year, I just wear warmer socks that don't stay wet. It's a personal choice. I am not afraid of the cold and I find that Gore-Tex shoes are not ideal; the snow always ends up entering through the top and the water gets stuck in these "waterproof" shoes. One thus finishes with the wet feet!
Crampons: on some rare days, I carry crampons in my bag to avoid slipping when the paths are very icy. I use these crampons about 2-3 times a year (I run 6 days a week, all year long).
Bonus: If you are well equipped, you will see that you will never need to think about bringing your smile, it will naturally accompany you on each of your winter outings, as you run alone in the beautiful forests, trails, or white parks of Quebec!
3 Tips to Start Winter Running
If these few lines motivate you to try winter running, here are three tips:
First, make small loops around your home. That way, if you get too cold or too hot you can adjust your outfit.
Don't leave with empty pockets. Bring your transit card, money, and a mask. If the wind picks up and it suddenly becomes very cold, you may appreciate having the option of taking public transportation home or sheltering somewhere.
Running in winter is more demanding than in other seasons. Don't expect to run at the same pace as in the summer, and plan for more rest between sessions.
Hope to see you on the white paths of Mount Royal!