Arctic Blast 2010 - Is this really Georgia?

I have been told more than once in the last couple days that I am crazy for running in this weather, and sometimes I wonder if I am not a bit crazy.  Who in their right mind would want to get out of a warm bed and 5:00 in the morning to 15 degrees with a wind chill of ZERO!

This past week has been colder than normal in the Atlanta area, in fact I think we set a new low temperature record yesterday at 14 degrees.

Sunday I went out for my longest run since the marathon and then back issues and finished 6 miles.  It was 28 degrees, windy, and snowed the entire time I was running.  It wasn't a snow that would stick, but it made it much more enjoyable to run.  I ran at Tribble Mill Park and we were one of a very small group of people that were at the park that day, in fact the entire time we were there our car was the only one in the parking lot.


When I woke up yesterday I knew that it was going to be cold and I still planned on getting out and running.  That didn't mean it was easy getting up and getting going though.  I finally won over my bed at 5:00 and headed out the door shortly after for 3 miles. This was the morning of 15 degrees with 15 mph winds bringing a chilly zero degree wind chill.  After the first 1/4 mile I was pretty warm but then I turned into the wind at the 1 mile mark and it was brutally cold on my face. I turned back around after another 1/2 mile and started to feel better until I got to the two mile mark when I made another turn which put the wind in my face again for the rest of the way home.

Today we had a turn in weather and it warmed up a little bit during the day, but all that started to change when I got home and decided to go for a run.  The weather man said that we would be getting some sleet tonight and so I was going to try to get out the door before it started. I knew I was a little late when I heard it hitting the skylight while I was getting changed.

While I was starting out with the 4 miler it wasn't sleeting too bad but the ground was starting to get a little wet, but by the time I got to about 1.5 miles I was starting to run into some icy spots. The difficult part was that it was dark and nearly everything was wet by then and so I couldn't see where the ice was at. I just ran easy and carefully and ran on the grass in areas that looked more suspicious than others.

Cold weather running is really not that bad if you dress properly.  I still make mistakes every once in a while but for the most part I am very comfortable.  I am sure you have read many times that the key to winter running is layering.  In my two sub 30 and windy runs I wore a base layer (something like Under Armour tights and shirt)  I then wore a baggy pair of sweat pants (nobody should have to see me in tights.... nobody!) and two more long sleeve shirts, one cotton and one technical.  Tonight I wore pretty much the same thing but only wore the base layer and technical shirt, I decided it was warm enough and didn't need the cotton shirt as well.  I am sure there are a lot of other runners that are much tougher than I am, but if I don't like to be cold.  I would dress much differently and with fewer layers if I was doing any speed work or harder workouts, but these days they were only easy runs.

I also always wear a warm hat and gloves when I run in colder weather.  If you have seen my head you would know why I wear the hat, and I find that my hands are the first thing to get cold when I run in cooler weather. I have actually run in shorts and short sleeves with gloves before, and even ran the first half of my recent marathon that way.

Many times when I run in really cold weather my hands still get cold in the gloves, that was why I was really excited when I was contacted concerning the HotHands hand warmers.  I have never thought about running with anything other than just clothing for protection against the weather, but I was thrilled to give them a shot.  The package arrived just in time for this Arctic Blast that just arrived and I have had a few opportunities to run with them and have been pleasantly surprised.

I slid one of these right down into my glove in the palm of my hand and they kept my hand warm throughout all the cold weather I have been running in.  My fingers didn't get near as cold as they normally do, but when they would get a little cold I could make a fist and they would warm back up.  I did notice as time progressed later in the morning they started to get really hot.  If they got that hot during a run I may have to remove them for a little bit, but I have not had that happen yet so I am guessing I am either not running long enough or the colder temperatures are keeping them from feeling so hot.

They also sent me a few other samples of their Foot Warmers.  I have not yet had the opportunity to try these out yet because I generally don't have issues with my feet getting cold while running.  I also cannot put anything else in my shoes while I am running because I don't want to cause bunching, blisters, or improper support in my shoes.  I will definitely try these out soon, maybe even in one of our Track Meets in the spring.  There have been plenty of times I have had really cold feet while standing around at a Cross Country Meet in the late fall.  I would have loved to have something like this during those times to keep the toes toasty.

Their prices are very reasonable and for those really cold runs are well worth it if you ask me.

What is your limit when it comes to cold runs?  Do you chicken out and head to the treadmill (or worse yet stay in bed), or are you a die hard runner that doesn't let a little frostbite stand in your way?  What does your winter running outfits consist of?