Winter running in cold temps (oh, yeah!)

This is why I stay in Alaska and fight the cold and freeze my face off almost every winter run. It’s the blues. I love the blue shadows, and the way the snow turns lavender, and how everywhere I look, there’s more and more blues, and in every possible shade.

View from the Coastal Trail at sunset

It’s cold, though. It was 12 when I set off for my 11 miler this afternoon, and 7 when I finished. I need to get a hat with an attached mask. My poor face, the only exposed part of my whole body, can’t take much more. The cold is exhilarating, but only to a point. After that it simply becomes painful.

I didn’t take any photos of today’s run, but I have some from this weekend.

Saturday, MM and I did our marathon pace runs on the treadmill at Planet Fitness. I love Planet Fitness, love how it caters to everyone and doesn’t allow grunting and everywhere you look, there’s such a wide variety of people, from tired housewives to young things in matching outfits to serious athletes, all of us flocking through the doors the moment the temps dip lower than 15 degrees.

It was MM’s first time running on a treadmill, can you believe that? He lost his virginity! Poor guy stumbled around at but soon got the hang of it. It was fun running side-by-side while watching “House Hunters” on the overhead TV.

Sunday was a marathon training kick-back week, and our long run was only 10 miles. It was about 15 degrees was we set out, with a cold wind blowing off the inlet so that by the second mile, our hair froze and our mouths became numb.

The reversible side of my insulated running skirt is hot pink, how cool is that?
See the moon peeking out from the trees?
Sunset/moonrise over Westchester Lagoon

The return portion of the run was brutal. The sun had set and the temps soared downward. I pumped out the miles at faster-than-my-half-marathon-pace, just to try and keep warm.

The Chester Creek Trail is lit up to halfway around Westchester Lagoon and then the lights quit, thank god. I love running in the snow in the dark. It feel surreal and magical.

This weekend we have a 16-miler scheduled. The high both days is forecasted as 12. Along the inlet it will be even colder. MM bought me some new mittens (supposedly a Christmas present but I couldn’t wait that long) and finally, my hands are warm. Such a blessing, these small things.

If anyone has any running tips for single digits and below zero temps, I’d love to hear them.

Stay warm!

4 thoughts on “Winter running in cold temps (oh, yeah!)

  1. Karen

    Face mask, face mask, face mask. Mine is neoprene on the outside, fleecy on the inside. Makes it windproof and it doesn't get too icy when the condensation freezes. I'm also a fan of windproof ski pants.

    Some people do long runs in two parts: do half, go home and warm up for 30 min, have some tea, and then head back out in a fresh outfit all warmed up.

    Good luck! I trained for a spring marathon through the Fairbanks winter once. It was tough and super cold. It really helps stave off the seasonal depression though.


  2. ajh

    Man that looks cold. I wrote about biking in the cold you wrote about running in it. Your pics are gorgeous especially the first one. I do have a face mask that I only bring out for the very coldest days. I also have some mittens that have gloves inside them that are the best things I own for cold weather. I have never found anything for my toes.


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