We are so spoiled here in Erie where our winter temps are stay in the double digits and, usually, in the high 20s/low 30s (Exhibit A above). There’s nothing like a stretch of single-digit days to make us truly appreciate 28 degrees, right?
I’ve been running through Erie winters for more than a dozen years. Here are a few tips I’ve learned the hard way:
1. The thermostat can’t be trusted. Forget fahrenheit, pay attention to the wind chill (also known as the “feels like”) temperature, and dress for that. A general rule of thumb when trying to decide how many layers? Dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer (that a rule that holds fast year-round).
2. Two words: Hot Hands. These little hot packs, which I wrote about back when I blogged at Life & Her Times, can be the difference between returning home from a run with five fully functional digits or two lobster claws. Try turning a door knob or, say, unpinning your car key from your tights, with lobster claws. (There was a time recently, I thought I was going to have to take off my pants in the parking lot of Penn State Behrend to go home after a cold evening run). On the coldest of days, I sandwich a hot pack between a pair of gloves and an outside mitten layer. Warm hands make all the difference.
3. Run point A to B. Figure out which way the wind is blowing and have a friend/spouse/ex lover/old roomate…I don’t care…drive you out in the opposite direction however many miles you need to run and drop you off so you can do your whole run with the wind at your back.
4. Protect your face. Freezer burn isn’t just for leftovers. The winter winds and bitter cold can do a number on your face. Put some Eucerin around your eyes, nose and lips to stave off the Keith Richards look. You can also use Aquaphor or Vaseline, but don’t use it when it’s sunny because it has a baby oil effect.
5. Go for a gaiter. Scarves are the shit these days (look at me…acting like I know anything about Haute couture, or even how to spell it…you know I just Googled “hot coature,” right?), but when it comes to running, scarves got nothing on neck gaiters, which are warmer, don’t unravel behind you when you run, and can be pulled up to just below your eyes if it’s lobster-claw cold, or pushed down below your chin if you’re overdressed.
Bonus Tip for the boys:
Double up on tights or put a pair of shorts on over (or below) your winter tights. I hear that…um, er…”things” can get real cold.