I have been known to go running in some extreme winter weather conditions while looking like someone attempting an everest summit attempt. I have also been called crazy on more then one occasion for doing so.
So I decided to share a quick rundown of the gear I commonly use for extreme cold -10c to -40c running conditions that has been working for me and in many conditions dare I say kept me actually warm on my runs.
You need to keep your head warm, sweat wicking and skin covered to be safe out on your runs. To this end I use a technical fabric Balaclava, cover that that a technical fabric hat and for good measure on cold and high wind days add a pair of ski goggles to keep wind and debris out of my eyes. Last but not least if you are running at night a headlamp is a must.
Your upper body or core is the key to keeping you comfortable and moving outside in cold conditions.
I highly recommend a base rash guard / wicking layer that could be as simple as a close fitting regular running technical to get moisture from your body drawn away from the skin quickly.
Next I specifically recommend Columbia Sportswear’s technical clothing that I have been testing this year.
Columbia’s Omni-Heat line of products has a special liner inside that works to reflect your body heat back at you much like the thermal blankets given to you at the end of races.
Therefore I have been wearing a long sleeved omni-heat thermal base-layer, heavy hoodie style middle layer and capping this off with a full on omni-heat ski jacket when temps really get low.
My gloves are also Columbia omni-heat and are the first gloves I have ever been able to use in -30c windchill that kept my individual fingers warm. If you do not have high quaility gloves I would recommend wind / waterproof mittens that allow your fingers to share heat directly with each other.
Finally I wear a RoadID bracelet over my jacket sleeve so if anything should happen to me on the run I can be identified along with my contact and medical information quickly.
To keep the cold, wind and water at bay you need to layer up your lower body as well if you are looking for comfort and to keep your leg muscles warm enough that they function reasonably well in the cold conditions.
To accomplish this I use MEC winter thermal running tights, under a pair of breathable splash pants to combat wind penetration and the occasional spray of slush from passing vehicles.
To keep my feet warm I use two layers of socks. The first is a normal pair of technical running socks covered up in a pair of calf high smart wool mountaineering socks to insulate. Both layers of socks wick away moisture while keeping in heat.
I then cap that off with a pair of trail shoes with good winter cleat style treds or running shoes with ice spikes to ensure a safe and slip free run. Keep in mind you want shoes 1/2 size larger then usual with a roomy toe box like my Inov 8 Roclites so your more bulky socks will fit comfortably.
All the gear I have discussed are available in women’s and mens varieties and in many cases can be found for some great deals this time of year.
So what is stopping you? Layer up and get out and do more!