Too cold to run outside? Never! Okay, almost never. As long as you do it right. Dress in layers, cover exposed skin, and follow these tips:
No. 1 Take smaller steps when it’s icy or slick. Shortening your stride keeps your feet lower to the ground, and helps to give you more stability and grip.
No. 2 Wear a reflective outer shell. It’ll protect against wind, plus make you more visible—key if you run at dawn or dusk.
No. 3 A face mask is your friend! It helps to warm the air before it enters your lungs. Breathing in icy air won’t hurt you, but it sure doesn’t feel very comfortable.
No. 4 Running for more than 45 minutes? Pack water, and drink it, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Stash your bottle under your coat. Body heat will keep it from freezing.
No. 5 Run into the wind heading out. You’ll have it at your back coming home.
No. 6 Follow a route that keeps you close to home base—your house, the cottage—or at least near some kind of shelter. Do multiple loops of a shorter circuit. Boring? Maybe. But if the cold becomes unbearable, the wind ramps up, or you slip and injure yourself, you aren’t far from warmth and safety.
No. 7 If you’re prone to overheating, wear upper body layers with pit zips in the armpits. Open them for ventilation. Sweating in the cold is no good; damp skin loses heat faster than dry skin.
No.8 If it’s -30°C or below, stay indoors. Maybe have some hot chocolate. Toned calves aren’t worth risking severe frostbite or hypothermia.