Saturday Sweat: How to Break a Sweat Running in the Winter

If any of you out there are trying to work up the courage to brave the winter wonderland for the sake of fitness – I promise you, you can do it!

If you ask Will what my normal body temperature is, he would probably tell you that he does not know how I made it through 21 winters without him to keep me warm. I am pretty sure he thinks I live in a near constant state of hypothermia… When we were dating he kept an extra jacket around at all times because he knew I would need it.

All this to say that I am the least likely person to advocate running in the cold, but here I am doing so. If I can do it, anyone can.

Last weekend I ran 8 miles in 20 degree weather and this week over lunch break I ran 3.25 miles in 8 degree weather on snow covered sidewalks (yeah my thighs are still sore from that…. It’s like running on sand). I can honestly say that I broke a sweat on that run…. Even though my runny nose was starting to freeze over.

Here is how I bundle up for these runs:

  • Leggings
  • Soccer pants/sweat pants
  • Long sleeved t-shirt
  • Running jacket
  • Fleece gloves
  • Ear muffs
There's my get up.  That's all there is to it.   but seriously, go get one of those jackets!

There’s my get up. That’s all there is to it.
but seriously, go get one of those jackets!

Yep that’s it. The secret really is the running jacket. For the last few years I’ve tried to suck it up with a normal hoodie and/or Under Armour, but it just didn’t cut it. For one thing, The wind still got through my clothes….. I don’t think I need to expound on how much that sucks. And the other thing is that sweatshirts don’t breathe, so once my core temperature was up from running a couple of miles I felt like I was suffocating.

This year I finally broke down and decided I wanted to invest in a nice running jacket. Hubster got me the one in these pictures on a steal at Kohls right after Christmas. And let me tell you, it has made a huge difference. It’s worth the money. Mine is Fila brand. It’s not fleece so it is not all staticky. It also has thumb holes in the sleeves! I would recommend it to anyone in the market! I bought a size bigger than I need because I wanted to have some wiggle room and be able to fit a shirt underneath it.

I have Under Armour, but with the running jacket I really don’t need it. The running jacket keeps the wind off my torso so I stay warmer, and after 2 miles or so I’m actually warm enough that I need to unzip the top of the jacket and take my gloves off. But unlike a sweatshirt it breathes a little so I don’t feel too warm.

As for training for the marathon in this weather, you can see in last Saturday’s post that I typically only have one long run. So I try to figure out a way to fit my long run in on the warmest day of the week. I have figured out how to survive the cold for the short thirty minute-ish runs.

I know it’s going to be cold this week, but you can do it! If you can press through for two miles you’ll start warming up enough that the cold is not an issue. Give it a try. You’ll be impressed with yourself.

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