Just Another -20F Run Day …


Lisa had a very succinct summary of her feelings about my ‘Polar Vortex run’ two weeks ago: “If the kids are getting a 2 hour school opening delay due to dangerous wind chills, and you are going out for a long run, you are an idiot”. Hard to argue with that logic, really.

While some parts of the east coast were blanketed with snow, we had just a dusting but I am looking at -8F on our outdoor thermometer as I started writing this. The forecast continues to call for near zero temperatuers for the next week or so (and actually the extended forecast keeps extending the deep freeze!) … which means loads of sub-zero running for me!

Fortunately as I found in my ‘clothes challenge’, my running clothes work great down to below -20 wind chills. My only issue was my hands – which is pretty much universally true for me. Last night Chris and I went to the Verizon store and I didn’t wear my gloves … and my hands were cold and my fingers white for about a half-hour after getting home.

So for today I decided to ‘double glove’. What I really need is some over-sized mittens, but I had bit fleece gloves, so I used those. My goal was to prevent the wind getting my hands cold to the point where I would be thinking about quitting due to cold. I wasn’t worried at all about any other part of my body.

Turns out that was pretty much the perfect strategy.

Did my hands get cold? YES! Especially my right hand, but at nearly the same two exact locations as before I found my hands were cold, but I was much less ‘panicky’ about it and was able to power through.

I would like to think that I have mentally ‘conquered’ running in this sort of weather, but that would be a lie. Today I got up, and was out without too much dawdling, and worked through my default 6.75 mile route. Tomorrow? Who knows.


It was actually quite beautiful out there this morning, with a light dusting of crystalline snow barely traveled that crunched underfoot; the only sounds were my footfalls and the wind – and the tree limbs straining against the wind and extreme cold; just after I started running the clouds cleared and the sky was beautifully starry and moonlit – which is a reminder of how nice it is to live someplace without much ‘light pollution’.

To be honest, I was much happier running when it was 25 – 30F last week, but I am glad that I have the proper gear for dealing with these temperatures. Of course friends at work laughed at me, saying they thought of me from the warm comfort of the treadmill at the gym.

How about you – are you experiencing heavy snow or a deep freeze? How have you adjusted your workout plans?

Oh, and for those who didn’t immediately get the ‘earworm’ that entered my head as the title of this post came to me about a mile into my run … here you go, a taste of what I was watching on reruns (now called ‘syndication’) when I was a kid (though I always preferred Lost in Space):

6 thoughts on “Just Another -20F Run Day …

  1. You aren’t crazy for running in -20 degree weather, at least among my friends.. In fact, they think I am because I run on a treadmill instead. My biggest problem is my hands too. I’ve heard of mittens/gloves that are wind resistant and I’ll need to find them and see how they work! I’ll let you know if I approve!

    • The gloves I use – Under Armour Extreme Coldgear Infrared – do use your bodyheat to keep you from getting cold, but I think I still need to look into some big mittens for really cold days. I would rather be on the warm side than be waiting for the heat to gradually kick in!

      And really, I hold nothing against people who choose to be inside on a day like today!

  2. I have been going back and forth all day about whether or not to run outside today! I am working from home so have a little more flexibility. We got about 6 inches of snow yesterday, its currently 12 degrees, feels like -5 and winds are 21 mph. I also don’t know if I will be able to find anywhere that is cleared enough to run. Unfortunately its supposed to be the same weather for the next 3 days. I guess I will be heading to the treadmill at some point:(

    • I love running in the snow, but depending on conditions and traffic, etc that can get really dangerous. Definitely looks like the cold weather is going to keep a grip on the whole east coast for a while!

  3. Oh lord, my uncle was a Monkees freak! He has all the albums still. As for me…I’m getting some colder weather runs in and feeling OK about them. Given the choice, I’ll take 40-60 minutes in the cold over facing the same distance on a treadmill for SURE. Not even a question.

    • Yeah – I saw you got out in 9F temps for a run! Brave soul! In terms of clothes, for me it is about figuring out where THEY want to be rather than where I want them, since they will end up there anyway! 🙂

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