New York may not be as cold or snowy as, say, Alaska or Chicago or Minnesota. But we still get our fair share of wintry skies and snowflakes (with more than our fair share of slush in the streets). Usually, New Yorkers just carry on, clad in boots and parkas to trudge determinedly to their destinations. After all, snow is better than rain. Central Park becomes a winter wonderland if we’re lucky, with skating rinks to maneuver and hills to sled. And us runners? Well, we keep on running!
Running in the cold doesn’t bother me much. I prefer cold to constant rain, although I make tracks as the raindrops come tumbling down too! Warm, breathable layers are a must. I usually start with a base layer of moisture-wicking fabric on both top and bottom, with a long-sleeved top and long running tights or leggings. I occasionally add another layer of thin regular tights on the bottom if it’s lower than mid-20s Fahrenheit or if it’s very windy. On top, I add a running jacket with a thin Polartec inner lining and a wind-and-water-resistant outer shell (and sometimes another layer in-between). Outer extremities are protected by the requisite hat and gloves – and, of course, a pair of running shoes. If it’s really cold, I sometimes use hand and/or foot-warmers.
That is all you need for running in the cold as comfortably as me. However, running in the snow requires a few extra tools and tricks of the trade. Snow is wet and slippery, and can be dangerous to run in if your shoes are not appropriately festooned with extra traction. I use Due North traction aids, but have heard good things about YakTrax as well. If it snows a LOT wherever you live, investing in Icebug sneakers (with permanent spikes) might be a good idea. Whatever you choose, traction aids should help to keep you on the straight and narrow – running path, that is! Just remember, traction aids are NOT magic, so you’ll still need to keep your run slow and steady and pay attention to the ground beneath your feet. If it looks slippery, it probably is, and even if it doesn’t, there may still be black ice!
It’s also helpful to wear a hat with a brim in addition to a beanie if snow is actually falling while you run, to keep precipitation off your face and enable clearer vision, just like if it was rain. I usually wear a baseball cap over a beanie, or wear a headband and baseball cap, and then use the hood of my wind-and-water-resistant jacket as another insulating layer for my head. After all, it’s where most of the heat escapes from your body. And after that, you’re covered – so get out there and embrace the chance to run in a winter wonderland! (Just remember to exercise caution and good judgment. So if it’s truly a blizzard, stay inside and jump on the dreadmill! Or if the Snowpocalypse comes, like this afternoon, stick with the Gilmore Girls workout – watching Netflix, moving your limbs to reach the cookies you’ve put on the coffee table.)
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