Dec 22, 2013

Honey Badger Don't Care - 6, Running in < 10F

Best to run with a partner or bring a phone when the mercury tickles < 10F.  A black ice slip with ankle sprain on a wooded trail means frostbite and worse if you don't prep for contingency.

Body warms up and stay toasting during the workout, but exposed skin will get cold burns, so cover up!  

Layering is similar to what we talked about last time for the 10 - 20F range.  Just need to thicken up the torso middle layer, go heavy on the gloves and make sure your cheeks are coated with scarf, gaiter or mask.

For a < 10F run, combine a long Jazzercise base layer:

+ Plus + 

Wool socks
Running pants
Long sleeve medium weight fleece
Nylon jacket with zippers and vents
Heavy mittens or two layers of medium gloves
A beard
Neck gaiter, balaclava or clown mask
Sunglasses if snow glare or windy
Bring buddy or a phone

If all else fails, go with Cousin Eddie fuzzy flaps and goggles.

Yesterday the pavement was crusted with 1/8" of ice, so I slipped on tungsten carbide spikes and clawed a 7 mile loop of Beaverdale.

More Weather Wisdom
Heat is harder on the body when working out than cold.  People think we're crazy heading out on a 15 degree day in the powder, but the real danger is that beautiful, sunny 90 degree afternoon.  Drenching your hair in cool water before departing, selecting a route on a shaded trail, early morning or late evening workouts and slowing the pace are some of the ways we deal with heat.  

Rain on a 40 degree day is tough, water penetrates all layers and makes you colder than jogging through snow in 20 degrees.  A baseball cap keeps water off the face, nylon vest helps retain core heat and slows down the torso soak.  Your feet will get soaked, when finished remove the insoles of your Asics and stuff newspapers to speed-dry and reduce the stench.

When it's cold out, don't overdress or you'll get hot, sweat a bunch and refreeze.  Go with just enough layers where you're cold the first mile, but warm and comfortable 10 or 15 minutes into the run.

Wind on a winter days means you'll be warm with the breeze behind and cold against the headwind.  This is why you want a running shell with zippers, so you can regulate the temp and block wind zipped up or vent armpit juice zipped down.  You always want water out, so clothes that block precipitation but let out perspiration.

Some of my favorites have been those where I wanted to stay indoors from the cold, but the mind forced the legs outside.  Winter runs are a treat and often entail trotting through virgin white powder, flanking foraging deer and quiet moments of reflection, experiencing the simple things in a new way.



  1. I've really enjoyed this series and admire your willingness to run in cold weather. 45° has always been my cutoff but now that I know about layering...maybe...

    Also, didn't know that about the 90° days versus cold ones. I've definitely run in days that hot.

    1. Oh I forgot to mention this: men, on the x-cold days, don't forget to pack a third sock...

  2. Great posts Beard and some really useful information. I tend to hit the treadmill when out weather hits the negatives because I don't have enough cold weather gear for heading outside but will be shopping for some when the after Christmas deals start.

    1. That makes me happy, I think you'll learn to love the cold outdoors and the quiet calm running through a park covered with new snow. Target is a good place to start for lower price workout stuff, you may need to follow-up at a running store to complete the shopping list.

  3. Tell me about your fancy yak-tracks! I have been thinking about getting some. - what are the deets?

    1. Yaktrax work great on ice and hard packed snow, less helpful on fresh powder. I have an older pair of pin spikes that slide over my running shoes. Kind of like this but without the steel coils on the heel:

      They add noticeable weight and slow you down a little on the run, but prevent butt bruises from slipping on black ice. I've seen Yaktrax at Scheels and sometimes you can find them at Target. For snow days like today, I just use trail shoes and no spikes.

  4. I loved this series! I am relatively new to running and trying to enjoy it, training for a 10K in March. Unsure of how the weather will be so this was super informative. Will invest in an ICP mask just in case...


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