Since moving back to the suburbs, I’ve been taking advantage of as many outdoors runs possible before the weather turned to full-time tundra. Now that we’re in December, the frost on my car windshield each morning has proven the cold is officially here to stay for the next 2.5 months – joy…
I know many of you have found refuge in outdoor exercise since the start of the Pandemic (I hear you loud & clear) and the thought of continuing such outside in the freezing cold makes your bones hurt (again, I’m with ya on that.) I personally HATE running in any temp lower than 48F because the air inhaled feels like literal razor blades entering my lungs. It also doesn’t help that I have mild asthma, making any sort of thin air circumstances harder to breathe in by default.
But enough with the complaining on my end, because frankly I can’t stand the thought of indoor at-home workouts throughout the entire winter season – the first lockdown round was hard enough. Although I’m very grateful gyms in New Jersey are still open and holding indoor classes at limited capacity, there’s only one way for me to get that solid 3-4 miles in & that’s by running outside. So I had to learn to adapt to the cold, very fast.
In all honesty, dressing properly for the weather is the quickest solution to an effective, outdoor workout. So often I would under-dress to compensate for heating up, only to find myself in a very unpleasant cold sweat that came in waves & made feel rotten during and post-workout. Also, if you’ve ever run outside in the freezing cold without a hat or something covering your ears – OUCH! After one too many instances of burning extremities and shivering on mile 2, I had to rethink my attire.
What I’ve found to be the best layering scenario is a thin long-sleeve top underneath an activewear fleece of sorts. You’d be surprised how little this kind of material reflects your activity level – in other words, you won’t be finding yourself washing it after every workout you wear & sweat in it. What I love about this sherpa fleece I’m wearing here is the fact it has a higher neck, allowing me to leave my neck warmer at home (although I do love wearing my Turtle neck warmer on occasion – it’s the same one I use skiing.)
Another must-have accessory for your winter workout is something to cover your ears. As mentioned above, there’s not many more unpleasant things like burning ears from windburn/chill post-run. I found these wool headbands on Etsy (sold out/unavailable, similar here) that do the job on extremely cold days but there are plenty of fleece-lined earwarmer headbands that will do the job just as well. I personally like headband options like these more than beanies because they’re better at keeping your hair in place and not slipping as much.
Also – If you’re someone who’s hands tend to get very chilly easily, I highly suggest a pair of fleece-lined lightweight running gloves. I personally love my two pairs from Spyder & Adidas most. They’re also great to drive with during those early mornings when the steering wheel is still freezing to the touch. I keep one pair in the car so I have them at all times.
Below I’ve linked some great outdoor winter workout pieces that will do you good working out in those arctic temps. On another note – I forgot to mention above that there are several leggings out there that offer thicker, fleece-like fabric (without actually being fleece) to keep your legs warmer when exposed to the elements. I know it’s hard to determine what leggings are warmer vs others when shopping online but I’ve done the research for you & linked a few finds below. But all you have to do is look at the product details/material & care info & see if it’s made of a thermal fabric AND is meant to be a running/workout tight (not a long-john, Hot Chilis pant for under snow pants, etc.)