20 points to consider if you're feeling brave enough to go running (er, what you call movement @ 3km/hr ) in -20C weather and beyond!
Check where wind is blowing (usually west). Run in that direction first, when you’re strongest. By the time you have screamed at wind gusts and negotiated icy streets and sidewalks for that long, it’s time to run back with wind and towards cozy home.
If wind is coming from north, be fully prepared to feel cold down to bones despite multiple layers of thermal protection, as northern winds have that magical superpower of preventing proper body functioning.
Be sure to meditate on wind, especially those 60k wind gusts.
Ponder on the mystery of water that is now being experienced as the glory known as ice. Save appreciation of said water element when you are in your cozy armchair in front of the fireplace with hot cocoa, fleece pajamas and electric blanket.
Running in a snowstorm can be such a blessing to develop that quality that is known as patience, especially when it feels like you are running at 3 km/hr while battling crazy wind gusts, icy snow, freezing rain, and slippery trails, all the while screaming at the powers that be. Also, a good time to ponder on how the boringness of running on a treadmill at the gym with zero wind chill factor might be a better alternative, never mind the cheesy pop music, staring mock-gobbers, grunting gents, or tampon-smelly women. Be sure to do it all over again tomorrow!
Speaking of fleece, be sure to invest in several pairs of fleece-lined nylon windproof pants. Also, thermal underwear, anti-blister socks, several pairs of running shoes, ski masks, hats, and a few pair of gloves. Er, just to mention a few things.
When it comes to shoes, do invest in several pairs, as slush and icy water particles do enjoy playing inside of shoes. Anti-blister socks can most certainly be helpful, but don’t forget to have several types of plasters on hand. Big Note: barefoot running and minimalist shoes do not mix well in Canadian winter. AVOID at all costs!
Do not believe in weather person. Check wind chill factor. Ah, now that’s more like it!
Check temperature outside and dress according to every -10 degrees, adding 1 further layer, as described below:
-10 to -20: 2 layers: thermal top + hoodie + ski jacket with armpit vents, thermal pants + fleece-lined nylon pants, wool-based running socks, medium fleece-lined ski gloves, 2 scarves, hat + hood
-20 to -30: 3 layers: long-sleeved tee + thermal top + hoodie + lined ski jacket, thermal pants + heavy fleece-lined nylon ski pants, wool socks, heavy fleece lined ski gloves, ski mask + hat + hood
-30 +: in the words of a friend of mine: are you insane?! While wind chill can mean true weather is really more like -40, re-considering a circuit training workout at home might be a valuable idea. Leave home only if you wish to encounter no one and spend quality time with self.
Be prepared to take a full 10 minutes (might be more like 15) to suit yourself up before leaving the warmth, comfort, and joy of home for fun icy-run. Also, be fully prepared that run may turn into jog, jog may turn into walking, and walking into snow-shoeing-like movements at snail’s pace. It was the hare that won the race after all, you know!
Pee as you are getting ready. Force self to pee second time, just before you leave house and have only to put on shoes, even if it’s just a dribble. Realize that outhouses are not in fashion during winter and warm body parts plus -20 weather do not sync well. Repeat, expose at own risk!
Good news: If sunny outside, streets should be clear, and yep, it’s darn tootin’ cold out (read: at least -15). If there’s a snowstorm, cheer up: it’s not as cold (only -5 or -10 with the accompanying delights of blustery winds, ice pellets, and showering snow).
Meditate on the beauty that is ice as you slip and slide and step gingerly across slippery surfaces. Also, meditate on the weight that is snow and do not believe mind saying you are back-pedaling with every step and running at 3 km/hr, even though it feels like grandma could run faster than you.
Case in point: when wind is howling outside like a banshee, look at vids of grandma and grandpa (aged 80+) setting world running records. Do NOT notice how there is absence of snow and ice, but that movement at any pace is key!
Be fully prepared to listen to whistling wind as opposed to nice music. Increasing sound is like spraying potpourri in a smelly bathroom: both are still there, and it might even incite wind to whip louder than before. Value hearing, and promise self to go running on treadmill at gym tomorrow in fartlek-style to avoid boredom. Find musical harmony in whistling wind for now.
While running in boots may seem like a good idea, heavy clunky weights are best for short-term bouts of activity called weight training. One set is usually 45-60 seconds, which is about the time it will take to realize that TRAIL shoes are so-called for winter running.
If rebounding on snow and ice sounds fun, then investing in snow tires (also called cleats or crampons) is for you! No, of course you don’t sound like a clopping horse running over dry pavement, or is that more like nails scraping on a blackboard? Don’t mind that black ice has a mind of its own, and sees silly crampons as child’s play.
WARNING, WARNING! Do not bother to spend too much time on warm-up, as -20 weather will have your warm body back to 0 degrees baseline in lickety-split time.
Running in -30 weather is totally doable. Do be prepared for testing waterproof mascara (if using, remembering that formula is water-, not ice-, proof) and adoring sensation of running blind with lashes now called glued-up icicles. Do NOT eat garlic, as hot air generated from mouth helps to keep face relatively warm under ski mask.
When running in -20 weather and beyond, do not believe mind when it says you look and feel like a puffed-up marshmallow penguin. Remember that holidays are long gone, and the extra fat padding is more like a protective layer of much needed isolation, er, insulation. Also, remember that there are only X number more days until spring, when slush puddles, hail, flurries, rain, and a mixed bag of wet weather are at their prime. Yes indeedy, good times await!