We've had a pretty bad patch of winter weather in North Carolina this year. Everything from slushy rain and snowstorms, to teen temperatures and ice pellets. While I'd much rather be curled up inside watching House of Cards, training season goes on no matter what the weather is like. Here's a few things I've learned during the course of my last few bad-weather runs:
Get yourself a lightweight, waterproof coat
You're supposed to dress for a run as if it were 20 degrees warmer, but when your +20 degrees is still under 45, it's hard to know what to wear. I found that no matter what the temperature is outside, a lightweight jacket is best because ya get hot fast (at least when running in the South). Plus a bulky jacket seems like nothing but a burden a mile into your run. Second most important thing in your winter running jacket? WATERPROOF. Rain or snow, if your jacket isn't waterproof you will get soaked (plus you risk damaging anything you're carrying in your pockets!). I learned my lesson the hard way during a miserably cold and rainy run in a fleece jacket last February. After that, I made it my mission to find something both light and waterproof. I've got a version of this jacket and love it (and found it at the outlet store for much cheaper!).
Bring some disposable hats and gloves
When it's below 30 degrees outside it's hard to even step out without a hat and gloves. Usually a mile in though, my body is heated up and I'm ready to lose the gloves and hat. I like to stock up on $2-5 gloves and hats from Target that I can throw down somewhere on my route and wouldn't mind losing if I couldn't come back for them.
It's ok to walk or go slowly
A few days after the snowstorm here, I thought all the ice had melted and I was safe to go on a run around Chapel Hill. I was very, very wrong though and quickly found out that Franklin Street sidewalks were mostly ice. Lesson learned? It's ok to walk. While I usually try to avoid walking or doing intervals on my runs, it was far more important to not get injured. I may have added on at least 30 minutes to my time, but I thankfully didn't take a spill!
Bring a buddy
I have trouble motivating myself to even go on a run alone, so you can only imagine my enthusiasm to go on a run at 7a.m. on a Saturday morning in the winter. But somehow I make it out there every Saturday morning, rain or shine (if it's safe to run of course). What gets me out of bed and into the cold to run? My running group! Just knowing that I've got people waiting on me and relying on me to be there to run with them gives me that extra push to run in the winter. If it's too bad to run outside, I usually make plans to run on the treadmills at the gym with Annie or Eric.
While I'm definitely no expert at running in winter weather (I'm a newbie to both), I hope these tips help get you a little more prepared for your next run. And of course if you have any other winter running secrets to share, I'd love to hear them!