Running in the severely cold
This past weekend, I decided to go running in -30 weather. I’ve told a lot of people about this. Yes, I feel like a tough Canuck telling people (lame, but so true), but I think I’ve been over-sharing because it truly was a painful experience that I want others to be better prepared for.
Fortunately, I purchased winter running pants just prior to the run. In addition, I wore my ski jacket, ski mittens, balaclava, hat, and ski socks. The pants helped considerably, but did not help to keep the top part of my thighs, nor my glutes warm. In fact, it became so painful that I had to vigorously rub my hands up and down my legs and arse for the last 3 km of the run. I’m sure the smarty pants in their warm vehicles got a kick out of my rubbing antics.
Apart from the pearly eyelashes (see image below) and very cold legs, it was actually a great run. I think if you dress appropriately (i.e. wear long johns under your running pants), you will run pain free. While the thought of going out in that kind of temperature is often not tempting, I encourage you not to shy away immediately. Yet, I must also encourage caution as another friend, an avid runner, went out on the same day and got frostbite on both of her big toes. Not nice at all and she is not able to run for another 3 weeks.
All in all, if you want to run / hike / walk outside when the temperature is below humane levels, you need to dress appropriately and pay attention to body cues. Run with someone so you can check on one another – the nose and cheeks require vigilant checking to ensure against frostbite. If your toes start to hurt, get inside. And don’t forget about staying hydrated. My friend, featured in the picture, brought water that froze within 25 minutes of being outside (yikes). Even on cold days, it’s important to bring water and fuel (if necessary). I noticed one man in the group had his water underneath his coat and close to his body. I believe this helped to keep it from freezing. We live and learn!
If outside is not for you, there are endless indoor activities to help you stay fit. Finding some activity to help get through the winter will help with mood, sleep, weight levels, and energy level. Thus, it’s not the getting outside that’s important (though the sun does help), it’s the movement. Find a way to move this winter and I promise it will be an easier season for you.