I remember training with a girlfriend for a half marathon in the dead of winter. We weren’t heavy duty runners, but we were dedicated. Up at 5am to meet for our 5:30am rendezvous through the streets of Perth. I was so afraid my alarm wasn’t going to go off I would wake up every hour from 2am onwards. As the weeks and mileage increased the lack of sleep was taking its toll, but that is a story for another day.
As you know its dark and its cold in Canada at 5:30am in January. One morning we went to the high school track to count our cadence. 180 steps per minute is the key number to work towards. After several laps of counting and I couldn’t even see my watch, I exclaimed to my friend “what are we doing out here!!!” Why are we doing this?” We looked at each other and laughed till we dropped. To tell you the truth, neither of us had an answer -other than enjoying each others company,. We walked back.
What to wear is the first question that jumps into your head after you roll out of bed. From my perspective it is all about layers. The first layer being the most important. The first layer has to be the most breathable, yet with warm properties. Merino wool works best for me. I wear a tank top and then a long sleeve UnderArmour heatgear. The arm warmers go on next followed by my best winter top – the Sugoi Speedster. It is a little heavier fabric with a hoody that surrounds your face perfectly (no need for a headband or even a beanie on most days). There is a ponytail opening in the hood, foldover mitt at the wrist and a nice deep side pocket to hold your mitts once you’ve gained some body warmth. Finally, the lightweight rain jacket covers it all. I have found that this works great up to about -20. If it is more than -20 I put on a heavier overcoat.
Now, the footwear is another story. I hate Yaktraks and love my Asics Trabuco GoreTex. I run carefree over ice and snow without a worry. I am warm and dry and they get me through the spring puddles and slush as well.
Where to run in winter? I would say, hit the trails! Seek out the mountains. Run for the hills. The white expanse, the deafening quiet, the closeness to the stars, the wonderful sun warming your every step. Winter really is the best time of year to be running. Try it, you’ll like it.
One of the Goats (Mary)