We had a snow day! (Tips for winter running.)

For the first time since 2018, the Richmond area had an appreciable amount of snow! Now, I follow the meteorologist DT from WxRisk (you can find him on Facebook), and he is usually on point with forecasting, often calling it correctly days before the local meteorologists. Well, this go-round for the east coast Nor’easter, he was wrong! And our beloved Andrew Friedman with NBC12 had it right. We got about 5 inches of snow near Ashland before a solid dose of freezing rain and sleet on top. DT was calling for closer to 6-8 inches in my area with all snow, with more snow on Monday. He had to update his forecast to reflect the move of the low pressure system further up the coast. 

The obligatory back porch snow photo!

What we got sure was pretty, though! I even managed to get out and complete my long run in the mess. I know. If I were smart, I would have run Saturday before the snow. But I had to work! And then after work, I chose to brave the Kroger for some last-minute supplies like the rest of Richmond. And then it was after dark. Sigh. 

My tracks!

But truly, running in the snow makes you feel 100% more bad-ass than any normal run day. It helps to have the right gear! So, what do I wear in the cold and snow?

  • Layers. So many layers! It’s important to keep your core warm! I start with a running tank, followed by a technical long sleeve (bonus if it has thumb holes) topped with a running pullover of some kind, preferably with microfleece lining. I will pull my thumb holes over my gloves, and put my Garmin watch on over the long sleeve, but not the pullover. I have a unisex and a ladies Sport Tek ¼ zip that meet this criteria as well as a Nike pullover. My cold gear running tights are the same material. I was surprised how well it kept me dry on my run through the freezing rain.
Taken after my run when I was nice and warm! Notice the amber lenses on my sunglasses. It was 30 degrees with cold rain/sleet/snow mix on my run.
  • Gloves. On average cold days, I can get by with the cheap $1 knit gloves, taking them off and stuffing them in my bra for safekeeping if I get hot. But when it’s really cold, I need technical gloves with the mitten windbreaker overlay. If I get hot, I’ll fold back the mitten layer. On Sunday’s run, these were a godsend, keeping my fingers dry and warm. Several companies make these. The ones I own are made by Hind, and I bought them ridiculously cheap at Marshall’s, but many running gear companies make these!
One example of running gloves with mitten overalys. These are from Nathan.
  • Ear warmers. I will use these if it’s under 20 degrees. I do tend to get hot, so typically this comes off by mile 1, and I take it off, looping it through my hydration belt for safekeeping. 
  • Hat. Full hat, especially if it’s raining or snowing! You lose 10% of your body heat through your head, so keeping it covered really helps keep you warm, while the bill keeps rain out of your eyes. (You can also trade a hat and ear warmers for a warm beanie. I tend to get too hot for these!)
  • Sunglasses. Yup. Snow creates lots of glare, even if it’s actively precipitating. Using glasses with amber lenses cuts down on the glare without making it too dark while also keeping flakes out of your eyes. My favorites are from Goodr. 
  • Crew length running socks. I want to make sure my ankles are covered! In the snow or cold rain, I will wear these, as well as if it’s under 20 degrees. 
  • Trail shoes. For snow, this helps so much. I really got to put my Hoka Speedgoats to good use yesterday. They have Gore-Tex, so my feet stayed dry! I could feel the cold when I went through puddles or slush, but my feet warmed back up quickly. The tread was also really good at keeping me from slipping. Trail shoes are a wise investment if you take to trails somewhat frequently or encounter winter weather often, even if you are primarily a road runner! They will, for me, last a couple of years because I run roads more frequently than technical trails.
My Hoka Speedgoats and my favorite Nike cold gear run tights with microfleece lining.
  • Hydration belt AND SPIbelt. Here’s a tip: your phone will die quickly in the cold. If I keep my phone in just my hydration belt pouch, it stays way too cold! But in the frigid temps, using the SPIbelt to hold your phone between layers works wonders with maintaining battery life, taking advantage of your core heat to keep that battery warm! When I’m running alone, I never run without my phone. I also play my music straight from my phone’s speaker. That way, I can hear my surroundings, and can definitely hear my music. No one else really can unless they are right beside you. 

I hope you find my experiences helpful! 

I was back to work today, with the roads in much better condition than yesterday, thank goodness! We still have enough on the ground to look pretty, though!

Did you get to run or play in the snow for those of you East Coasters who were lucky enough to get snow? What are some of your favorite items/gear you love to run with in the cold and snow? I’d love to hear about it! As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy. 

Published by annecreates

I am a physical therapist, wife, mom, runner, artist, and vegan. I'm passionate about helping others find wellness! Assistant Coach for the Sports Backers Marathon Training Team. Current ambassador for: Nuun, Switch4Good, and Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon 2021.

9 thoughts on “We had a snow day! (Tips for winter running.)

  1. Great post and list of gear to use. I haven’t been running long enough to collect much cold weather attire, so, instead, I tend to take to the treadmill when it’s snowy and cold outside. We didn’t really get much snow on the ground until around 4pm today. I’m betting it will be slick tomorrow, with the drop in temps tonight.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Only run a handful of times in the snow in Alberta. At the time the hardest thing to dress for was temperatures around -15 degrees and a wicked wind chill. Dressing up too much and you overheat quickly but not enough and the wind can sure bite. Layers are definitely the answer! Good fun though and a nice change from running in West Coast rain!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I LOVED running in the snow when I lived in Michigan. It’s almost peaceful. Didn’t own trail shoes then so my YakTrax or however you spell it were my best friend, ha! Glad you had fun!

    Liked by 2 people

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