what to wear at -30C and still run

So yeah, it’s cold, really cold, pretty cold…stupid cold!

So what?…..

You’re training, you’re in training….in-door track, treadmill…NOT AN OPTION.

I’ve run on both and never enjoyed either, so never again…ever…if you can handle boredom, sure, but for me, I’d rather watch a blank wall…..

So you bundle up; enough to keep warm and not freeze, but not so much so you can’t move!

The secret is to always remember; as soon as you start to move, you’ll warm up.

Also know that those parts of you that are vital will get warm fluid first, as everything you have rushes in to protect those vital organs……those capitaries heading out to your fingers, your face, your toes, will remain chilled for a little longer…..so expect that, dress for that, knowing that eventually you may have to strip down.

At -30C (which is really really close to -30F) the main fear is frost bite...sure, all exposed skin will freeze in minutes, if not seconds…..but, you are moving – you’re a runner – you will warm up that exposed skin at some point…..

That little white spot…...FROST BITE!….apparently…….I’ve had that before, and if you’ve had it once, it will return…so the experts say……I think it makes me look bad ass?


What do I wear………not as much as you would think….

so this is it…….except for the Hudson Bay Blanket….( which would be oh so warm if you could wrap yourself and run?)

Those socks look kind of like nothing, right?…They’re made by Brooks; I think I got them for free at a store contest….

I just need them to not get and stay wet, and cover up any skin that might otherwise become exposed…

My feet never seem to get especially cold: I just use my everyday shoes (the Brooks Adrenaline mostly). I know for some the combination of mesh and windchill causes problems, but for me, no issues…..everyone is different….so just cover up that mash, go for something that has GORTEX to keep you warm and dry…

My legs have never been a huge concern either……though as I’ve gotten older, I find I just make more of an effort to be comfortable, rather than just enjoying the chill and tuffng it out….

So today, a base layer…

Just a base layer I picked up from the Running Room forever ago, just to retain some heat…. also some protective wind briefs; ’cause, yeah if that body certain part freezes guys, well, pain like you wouldn’t believe, and even worse when that body part begins to thaw!…all from that Running Room stash….

The tights, from Ron Hill are to provide protection from wind chill (google Ron Hill, he’s a pretty interesting character in running lore, amongst other things, having run for every day for 52 years and 39 days, 1964 to 2017, EVERY DAY!) ……these arn’t the best, not especially special, winter specific, but with the layers beneath, the combo works well for me……I do have others that have more of a shield over the thighs, and more winter wind chill specific, but most days I don’t need that, and those tights are a little more constricting..so…I live for minimum!

Upper body, 3 layers…here is what I wear to wick, basically, and to add some warmth

From the Vancouver Running Co. …(yes, I have put on a lot of weight…IT’S CHRISTMAS!) This layer wicks, no sweat build up, and some warmth…….a little skin tight, but it does trap heat…and it’s all I need..

On top…..CRAFT……it’s an older item, but it’s there for the warmth, it doesn’t capture sweat then get soaked and freeze.

The jacket….you see it on top in pretty much every winter selfie I take…..New Balance

It’s perfect….not too heavy, maybe a little too warm on days that arn’t -30C,……..

the real secret is that BUFF……sometimes it does cover my face, but mostly I just stuff it under the top of the jacket to keep my body heat inside, the cold out

Top off the head….

The first concern is that heat escapes out the top of your head……in summer that’s kind of a concern for other reasons….. for winter…..I choose a tuque, today I had a balaclava as well, to help with the cold…….

Then a pair of Brooks gloves, I slip hand warmers into those gloves, something called Little Hotties

and with all of that I’m good to go…….

Today was okay…I know with the ice and snow, it’s slippery (it’s like trying to run on sand, without a beach) speed won’t be the concern; the pace will be slow, the heart rate may not be…..just working on strength, endurance……and hopefully the work will pay off in the spring…

A good week….the march towards 2022 continues…I’ve managed 6 out of 7 days in a row, 8 out of 9 with one rest day….I feel the need for a rest day soon, gotta recover.

The commitment is as close as I could get to 1000K for the year, and almost every day until January 1st!…….I need to do at least 5K on that January 1st, cause, well, turning 63 (BOOOOOOOO) !

Running every day seriously I know isn’t healthy, but sometimes, that challenge helps bump up and inspire………cross training, rest and recovery, yoga, strength, that whole package is important…will work that into the weekly training schedule, starting next MONDAY…….but for this week, run, will try and stay warm….and will make an effort to stay away from that desert tray!

-27C feels like -37C but Good

That may or, may not be Santa off in the distance, but yeah, it started up cold……

okay it remained cold for the short just under 4K run……but am so glad I got out…

I procrastnated for most of Christmas morning….then after the gifts were all opened, I knew I had to get out before the family get together, and yeah, FOOD!!…….

at one time, I was thinking maybe not….I’ve been out 4 out of the last 5 days, 6 out of the last 7….should I take Christmas day off as a day off…..would it be the worst thing….

BUT IT’S CHRISTMAS…..a tradition…even though it’s the coldest it’s been here on Christmas Day in 50 year, you still have to go…

There’s still that commitment, every day until the end of the year, until I turn 63.

The whole purpose being to get me ready for 2022, ready to begin that focused march towards the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon on May 1st………

So yeah, I ran today……not that far, a pretty good route, some trail, some through the ‘hood…..and yeah, dispite all that, no matter what, no matter the distance, you still get some fitness…

You would think snot would freee at -37 C (for those of you outside of Canuck metric land, that’s -34.6F…the colder it gets, the closer the two sort of measure the same sort of suffering)

So what do you wear at -37C? Everything?

The jacket, this New Balance jacket has been doing the trick…it’s lined and warm…I complained about it a few times over the past year – it’s a little too warm – but at -37C it does the trick. Keeps out the wind chills, and it fits and feels like a great runner’s jacket……..

I did two layers underneath, I needed that……a Craft base layer ……one they don’t make anymore, but it’s been good for 6 winters, so still works, and then I threw just a random long sleeve on top…..that did the trick….we do carry Craft gear at our Running Room store in St. Albert…..and their stuff aways seems to work well in the colder seasons.

Bottoms, was simple…a Ron Hill pair of tights – again something I’ve had for a while, but I like them…they’re not winter specific, but my legs don’t always get that cold, I just need something to keep the wind chill off…..and possibly for the first time ever, I wore a base layer, and a warm bit of protective gear to keep the privates warm…….none of it was all that thick, so all fit well….

Socks, just a pair Feetures socks just longer than usual (I usually like showing a little skin…again, my lower body doesn’t always get that cold…..

The head…just an old toque from a Hair Massacure event (yeah you know, you dye your hair pink, get it shaved, raise money to fight cancer in kids) and a BUFF

the only issue was…my glasses fogged up (I can’t wear contacts!)….so I just took them off and stuff ’em in a pocket…I can see well enough without, just don’t ask me to read a book.

I’ll model for tomorrow’s post…I plan another run, and will probably dress the same, it works!…….

With all the extra gear, and the traction aids on my Brooks Adrenalines, I did feel a little heavier…so wasn’t moving too quickly (that was yesterday’s run/workout)………..

So the lesson…it’s almost never too cold to run. I seem to have developed a love of running on ice….I seem to almost be looking for something to stick those pins into…..I usually like to stick between -25C and +25C, but if you’ve got a run plan, or even if it’s a want not a need, it still can be done…..

And even though at 63, trying to run every day is probably not what the doctor ordered, but just as with every run, it just felt so good…….the really only bad run, is the one you don’t do.

So…..see you tomorrow?