If you want to be a cold weather runner but aren't sure if you have the guts or knowledge to go for it, allow me to share some of my key pointers.
1. Be prepared with your essentials. I keep all of my cold weather running key pieces in this little ditty that is kept in a kitchen cabinet and close to the door. NOTHING will derail you quicker than not finding matching gloves, your ear warmers, your Garmin, whatever it is you need. Just have it all in the same place and ready for the grabbing.
2. Buy the appropriate gear. If you are trying to run in 17 degree temps while wearing a pair of running capris, you will be miserable. And you'll never want to do it again. Take the time and make the investment in a pair of cold weather running tights, a thin non-cotton, wicking base layer, and a cold weather running jacket or pullover. Target's C9 brand actually has some decent quality cold weather gear. Not to mention affordable. In fact, my favorite running tights are from Target and I would bet they are at least 4 years old. Another key pointer with your running tights....make sure they have a drawstring. Nothing is going to irritate you more than trying to keep your pants up while running. For real. If you don't have a drawstring, they WILL slide down. Trust. I also love Dicks and of course Lulu for running gear.
3. Dress precisely for the temps you will be in. Here is a nice little guideline from Runnersworld.com. Take the time to look at the weather and plan your outfit appropriately.
5. Put your clothes in the dryer before you suit up. I'm not afraid to admit that I've done this many 'o times. When it's brutal outside and I'm running from home, I'll put my clothes in the dryer on high for 10 minutes, dress as fast as possible, and sprint out the door. Ridiculous, I know. Effective in getting me out the door? Yes.
6. Be resourceful and stay committed. This is especially hard for those of us with young kiddos. Fortunately, I have a very supportive husband who doesn't mind me jetting off at the crack of dawn on Saturday mornings. However, there are times when he is out of town and I will have to squeeze in my long runs at 5 a.m. during the week or on an off day from the rest of my posse. You will hate the action of waking up, the action of getting dressed, and the action of leaving your house. However, there is nothing better than a boost of early morning endorphins to carry you through your day. Plus, you'll be ecstatic that you are done for the day.
The key is to plan your week and stick with your plan. Don't let your partners' schedule derail any of this. If you want to make it work, you can. I have also gotten a babysitter so that I can run on occasion. It is $$ well spent and let's face it, we are much better mommy's when we get some physical activity.
7. Just giddy up and do it. Yes, you are likely going to be miserable with a capital M for the first mile. However, things will start to thaw and 2-3 miles in, you will be toasty warm and very likely be in a good groove. You may come to love it. And let's face it, nothing worth having ever comes easy and you will feel HARD CORE when you are done. Promise.