Tag: cold weather

Working with the Weather – St. George City Half Marathon

When you need to run in conditions other than what you’re used to, what is the solution for clothing?

The weather in Saint George Utah will be in the low-mid 30’s to start at 9 AM, possibly up to low-mid 40’s at 11:25 when I should have crossed the finish line.

10 Day forecast for St. George Utah including January 16
10 Day forecast for St. George Utah including January 16

 

From Active.com:

30-40°F

It’s time to start taking your base layers seriously. Make sure they are non-cotton so that they wick sweat off your body—extremely important in colder temperatures when body moisture can lead to hypothermia. Also, start thinking about extremities. Try a fleece headband over your ears and fingerless running gloves for your hands. If it’s below freezing, consider lined leggings and a long-sleeve shirt paired with a running vest. Aim for two layers on top.

Saturday, December 16 looks like it’s going to start out with an overnight low of about 32, rising slowly to 40 around 10 AM.

Hourly forecast for St. George Utah Saturday January 16
Hourly forecast for St. George Utah Saturday January 16

Late Breaking Weather Advisory

Affecting the drive down more than anything else, since we’re heading to St. George mid-day Friday.

    • Issued by MeteoAlarm

      Salt Lake City, UT

      2:59pm MST, Thu Jan 14

… WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 11 AM MST FRIDAY…

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SALT LAKE CITY HAS ISSUED A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW… WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 11 AM MST FRIDAY.

* AFFECTED AREA… THE WASATCH FRONT… WASATCH MOUNTAIN VALLEYS… GREAT SALT LAKE DESERT… WEST CENTRAL UTAH… AND THE SEVIER AND SANPETE VALLEYS.

* SNOW ACCUMULATIONS… GENERALLY 1 TO 4 INCHES… LOCALLY HIGHER AMOUNTS POSSIBLE.

* TIMING… DEVELOPING IN THE PRE-DAWN HOURS… WITH THE BULK OF THE SNOW DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE… BEFORE TAPERING OFF MID DAY.

* IMPACTS… EARLY MORNING SNOWFALL WILL LIKELY CREATE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES DURING THE MORNING COMMUTE. PLAN EXTRA TIME FOR TRAVEL FRIDAY MORNING… AND ALLOW EXTRA FOLLOWING DISTANCE.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS. USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.

FOR WINTER ROAD CONDITIONS FROM THE UTAH DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION…

Early morning in Saint George Utah
Early morning in Saint George Utah
Mid morning in Saint George Utah
Mid morning in Saint George Utah

So I’m working out my clothing selections. I’m used to running at -10F from my days in Colorado, but the whole 35F thing is kind of messing with my head. I’ll keep you in the loop as I decide what to do about it in the next couple of days.

Under Armour Wind Stopper Tights Review

I’ve had my Gore Windstopper tights by UnderArmour out for a handful of winter running outings. Temperatures were between 17F and 34F. It was a tad chilly at 17 and a tad warm at 34, but otherwise a good selection for winter training outside. No real fit issues. No chafing. Easy in and out for bathroom breaks. Easy to adjust the waist tie. No complaints.

See on AMAZON HERE

Gore Windstopper tights by Under Armour Review

Reflective fish scales on the Gore Windstopper tights by Under Armour
Reflective fish scales on the Gore Windstopper tights by Under Armour

Running in Foot Deep Powder

Today was a great day for a trail run. I went trailrunning this morning at -1F (according to the weather channel). Accuweather had it at -13.

Nothing like a little negative F to kick off the morning trail running
Nothing like a little negative F to kick off the morning trail running

I went out on the deck and it felt more like the weather channel had it at -1F so I dressed for that. It was snowing pretty hard and there was at least 8″ of new snow on the ground. I wore a minimum of clothing, in spite of the cold. It’s better to be slightly cold and dry, rather than dressed really warmly but sweat too much. That sweat will chill you if the wind hits it.

Dressed lightly for a winter trail run at -1F
Dressed lightly for a winter trail run at -1F

I wore my Pearl Izumi Trail N2 with Kahtoola microspikes. I’m glad I did. The trail was really bumpy with icy spots under the powder snow. You couldn’t see under the snow so it was good to have the extra spike aggressiveness. I had thought of wearing my Hoka Stinson with the screws in the bottom.

Winter Trailrunning Video on Vimeo:

[weaver_vimeo id=”111698274″]

I wore Salomon hybrid top and bottom. When I say hybrid I mean a thin athletic fleece with wind and water resistant panels. I wore the loose tights without a base layer. On top I had on an Arctyrex mid-weight base layer. That’s it for clothing. For socks I wore thick wool mountaineering socks. For gloves I had on bike commuter lobster mitts from REI for my hands. On my head I wore a buff, a mid-weight helmet liner, and a swag Salomon baseball cap I got at a race.

The snow was light and fluffy and dry so I didn’t really need to worry about my feet getting wet. When I turned around at the 2.5 mile mark the wind was pretty cold on my chest. I had a thin insulated vest in the UD Pack, but in a few minutes I was warm again so it was worth waiting before I got it out. It ended up I didn’t need it.

Winter Trailrunning GPS Track:

[sgpx gpx=”/wp-content/uploads/gpx/11-12-2014-KeystoneGulch.gpx”]

Trail Running Microspikes in Winter

I normally only wear trail running microspikes, like the Kahtoola Microspikes while doing speed ascents on mountains, like Quandary or Grays, Colorado 14ers. The snow this year has been so soft, and the trails have been so slow, that I tried running in just plain lugged shoes, snowshoes [STORY HERE] and my spiked running shoes [STORY HERE]. A couple weeks ago the Spring Thaw finally arrived and after a couple of good damp snowfalls and a few days of sun the trails became more firm with a good surface for spiked running.

Trail Running Spiked Running Shoes in Winter

I was feeling really good on 19 February, so I took off up the trail with a target of something over 2.5 miles. I ended up with 2.6 miles on my spiked Hoka shoes. I was feeling so good that on the way down I did an interval of just cutting loose and came pretty close to a 5:00 pace. That felt awesome. If you love stats check these out, from Strava and Movescount.

One difference between Strava and Movescount is that Strava doesn’t count standing still in the final calculation, whereas Movescount goes from watch ON to watch OFF. It adds in the dead time when you first start the watch and then when you finally roll in to the bus stop and dig through layers of clothing to turn it off. Not a major deal though.

It was great to average 12:14 after averaging in the 15:00-17:00 range for the last 8 weeks. Did I mention that the snow had been deep and soft up to now? It was inspiring and I decided that I’d rest up a day then try again with trail running microspikes on over my non-spiked Hoka running shoes. Say what you want, but I do enjoy the recovery speed in these shoes.

Trail Running Microspikes in Winter

I went back to the trail then on 21 February after a day of rest and for some odd reason I set my target as a fast 10k trail run on the snow in the trail running microspikes from Kahtoola. Like I said before, I had worn them several times on the mountain trails on my ascents. I just had never tried for a less steep speed run in them.

Trail running microspikes by Kahtoola on my Hoka One One Stinson EVO shoes
Trail running microspikes by Kahtoola on my Hoka One One Stinson EVO shoes

Putting on Trail Running Microspikes – the video

For fun I decided to share this little video of putting on the trail running microspikes. I’m in a bus shelter near the trail head, just for convenience for shooting the video.

I got onto the trail and began running. And I just kept on running. And running. It felt good. I enjoyed the traction and the extra few ounces on my feet from the trail running microspikes was almost negligible. I felt like I was going pretty quickly and that inspired me to just keep going to the turn-around point of the run near the bottom of the Santiago Express lift at Keystone Resort. This road is used by the ski patrol and maintenance crew for the Outback area of the ski resort. That’s why the surface texture varies quite a bit. When the snow is soft it’s shin deep snowmobile chop. When the snow is firm and packed it’s the corduroy snowcat tracks. Like that day.

I felt good at the lifts so I took a chug of water and then took off back down. My goal on the way downhill was to let gravity help me to achieve a smooth even speed at about my maximum endurance level. I hung on hard for the whole downhill and it felt great. I don’t know for sure if the extra traction of the trail running microspikes helped, but I’m very happy with the 6.7 miles I ended up with. At a 12:19 pace. Here are the stats for you that are interested:

The most fascinating thing to me is that in the 2.6 miles I was in Zone 6 (anaerobic pace zone via Strava) for 1:45. In the 6.7 miles I stayed in that zone for 9:30. Freaking amazing to me. In trail running microspikes in the snow. To go 2.5 times (two and a half times) as far and only lose 4 seconds per mile (12:14 vs. 12:19) proves that something I’m doing in my training is working. Gives me a lot to think about, for sure.

Trail Running Microspikes by Kahtoola, Hoka running shoes, and UA gloves, drying out after my run
Trail Running Microspikes by Kahtoola, Hoka running shoes, and UA gloves, drying out after my run

Trail Running Microspikes in Action – the video

Here I am holding a camera out away and trying for different angles without breaking my 8:30-ish pace or falling down and breaking me. I love the shadows on the corduroy snow the best. Then the trees blowing by. Enjoy…

So, how do I feel about the trail running microspikes, now that I’ve had a chance to use them? For one thing I can feel them, even through the thick sole of these shoes. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I picked up the pace I was moving fast enough to ignore them. I loved the traction. The weight is obviously irrelevant. I’m going to experiment with what’s left of the Winter going back and forth between the trail running microspikes and the spiked running shoes to see if I can refine my opinion. If you want to be alerted when I write more articles like this, please subscribe to the blog for updates. Thanks.

Trail Running Fartlek Training

I went out this morning for some winter trail running. My goal for the current program was 4.2 miles. I figured I’d be able to crank that out even with some uphill walking in less than an hour depending on snow conditions. I started at a local pool parking lot, like usual. I had done some ice climbing the day before which required a mile approach with over 500′ of elevation gain hiking up a steep gully of rock and ice. I wasn’t sure how that would affect my trail running, so I was ready to just jog lightly if needed.

Spiked Trail Running Shoes
Spiked Trail Running Shoes: Hoka One One Mafate WP with screws

The first part of the road was slick ice over the surface. I was glad to be wearing my spiked trail running shoes [article]. They stuck to the ice and I didn’t feel at risk of falling at all. I ran to the gate, and through. The road surface was pretty icy for the first half mile, with long strips of ice-impregnated dirt showing through. My shoes stuck well. I was glad to be wearing them.

Trail Running in Keystone Colorado
Trail running up Keystone Gulch Road behind Keystone Ski Resort in Colorado

I actually felt really good. I did intervals up the road, choosing somewhat random targets. I ran to a fence post, or a stick along the shoulder, or a mottled shadow. Since you’re not at a track, trail running intervals don’t need to be structured as exact distances or times. This type of random-ish unstructured interval is called “Fartlek”.

Trail Running Fartlek

Fartlek, which means “speed play” in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training. The variable intensity and continuous nature of the exercise places stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. It differs from traditional interval training in that it is unstructured; intensity and/or speed varies, as the athlete wishes. Most fartlek sessions last a minimum of 45 minutes and can vary from aerobic walking to anaerobic sprinting. Fartlek training is generally associated with running, but can include almost any kind of exercise. From Wiki

I ran out 2.1 miles, my half-way point and rested for a minute and took some pictures. I started down, and felt like I was flying. I did a somewhat long trail running interval, and walked down till my heart rate was below 130, then took off flying again. Usually in winter trail running I slog along and just enjoy the scenery. I again set my distance target to various appealing looking sticks or trees or shadows or rocks. It was a struggle to get there sometimes, but it’s great mental discipline.

Trail Running at Keystone Gulch Road
Trail running turnaround point at 2.1 miles surrounded by snowcat tracks

I continued my trail running intervals to my “targets” and walking till my heart rate descended below 130 till I got to the gate. There were a couple guys skinning-up their skis, and someone walking a big dog. I walked past them so I wouldn’t scare them. My heart rate got below 120 for a couple minutes. I took off again on the ice-covered road to the parking area. I felt great. Since I set my new goal to do the Uber Rock 50k trail run in Vail this coming September I’ve adjusted my training program into something like “40 weeks to an ultra”. Trail running 30 miles up and down the mountains between Vail and Minturn will require that I be in the best of shape for it. I learned that in Aspen Backcountry Marathon in 2011. I survived. That about sums it up.

trail running stats on a gps hrm watch
Stats from my Polar RS800cx

Above is the result of my winter trail running fartlek session, via my Polar RS800CX GPS G5 Heart Rate Monitor. Oddly the intervals are mostly fairly regular. I didn’t do that intentionally. According to the Google Earth elevation profile I did 560′ up and down. I take into account stats from both Polar and Google. One is based on atmospheric pressure, the other on waypoint interpretation.

The temperature was about 15 degrees F, but in the sun it felt warm and in the shade cool. For winter trail running you have to dress for both the fast and slow portions of your run. You should feel a little bit warm while fast, and a little cool while slow. I had dressed for a slow trail running session, so I was really warm during the speed intervals. It was a bit too cool to unzip during them though. If you choose to go trail running in the winter, please be careful, dress appropriately to your own metabolism and running goals, and consider wearing spiked shoes or some detachable traction device.

Trail Running in Winter at Keystone

Trail running in the winter can be exhilarating and quite an adventure. It’s one of my favorite activities. I love to run in the Winter in Keystone Colorado at 9300′ or more in elevation. One of my favorite trails to run on is the Keystone Gulch Road. This is the access for snowcats and snowmobiles to the back lifts of Keystone Resort. Normally the road is packed down by the constant daily snowmobile traffic, so it’s easy enough to run in spiked shoes. I had done Gray’s Peak with a friend on Saturday December 29 on a very cold day. My Polar Graph showed that I should have about five days of rest. Today, January 1 was a whole new year, right? I decided a mild bout of winter trail running should be fine.

Trail Running in Winter clothing and gear
Trail Running Winter Clothes and Gear

Trail running this winter morning would be probably the coldest I’ve done. When I started it was zero degrees Fahrenheit out. That’s cold. I’ve run at 5 degrees before. I’ve done the 14ers at below zero. Then you’re moving a lot slower and can wear and carry more emergency gear. I decided on my new Sporthill pants, which did pretty good at 5 degrees the other day. I decided against base layers. I wore a Patagonia fleece hoodie as my next-to-skin layer. Experimenting. I wore a thin waffled fleece over that, then a thin wind shell with breathable panels. I wore my classic favorite TNF running beanie on my head. I’ve grown to like my Injinji liners and Smartwool Men’s PhD Mountaineer Crewsocks as cold weather running footwear. For my hands I decided to experiment with my Burton touch-screen liners under my REI Winter Biking Lobster gloves.

Trail Running on Keystone Gulch Road

Trail Running in the Cold behind Keystone Resort
Trail Running in the Cold behind Keystone Resort

I started my HRM/GPS watch in a parking lot near the entrance to Keystone Gulch Road. The road can be pretty bumpy and has space for only a few cars. Warning: park at your own risk wherever you decide to park since most of this is resort property. I walked quickly up the road swinging my trekking poles, Black Diamond Compactor Ski Poles. Today my goal is to run/walk intervals working on improving my turnover rate (foot strike speed) by making smaller faster steps. I also am going to work on syncing my pole swing with my steps to increase the number of steps per pole swing.

At the gate, just up the road a short bit, I tapped my lap counter and took off running slowly uphill. I worked my way up the Gulch Road with what I interpreted as fairly even run/walk intervals. After a while I decided to do some trail running hill repeats on a particularly pleasant grade. Usually you run up and walk down, or walk up and run down, depending on your training goals. Today I’m running down, quick turnaround then up. I paused at the top for a minute to catch my breath, then repeated it.

Trail Running Hill Repeats in Winter with Poles: Video

When I was done I gathered up my camera and took off trail running in the snow uphill again. The sun was pretty, and the wind was light. Bright flashing crystals of snow blew off the pine trees. I kept up the run/walk intervals for about an hour of total time.

Trail running in winter along the Keystone Resort back side
Making snow at Keystone Resort on North Peak

I had hoped to get to the base of North Peak, near the LaBonte’s Cabin area. I’ve been there a few times for trail running on this road. It’s about three miles from the gate. Today my face was getting really cold and I decided three miles from the parking lot was a good enough turnaround point. I was using my backpack for training and to carry water. I was using my Flexline Hydration system with a Platypus Bladder inside the insulated sleeve of my Marmot Kompressor backpack. I also have my GoLite Bitterroot down jacket for just in case. Smart when it’s at zero degrees.

winter trail running on the snowcat tracks at keystone
View looking down on myself and the snowcat tracks I ran on

On the way downhill I worked to stay around an 11:00 minute mile pace. The footing was rough, between the tracks of a snowcat and multiple snowmobiles passing up and down the road all day. It varied with ice chunks, chopped snow, ice sheets, and narrow gullies between the paths. I can sustain an 8:20 pace on nice dirt trails, but chunky snow is totally a different trail running surface. I had to take a couple of walking intervals but tried to keep them short, drinking from the Flexline tube at each one to stay hydrated. Since the whole run would be less than two hours it wasn’t worth eating. YMMV. Remember that one key to success in using a bladder system at this cold a temperature is to totally blow all the water out of your tube between each drinking session. Short frequent drinks are better than longer drinks at longer intervals. If ice does start to build up you will suck it out of the tube more often and keep it clear with more frequent drinking.

One of my favorite trail running roads at Keystone Resort
Looking down the road at Keystone Gulch behind Keystone Resort

As I got further and further along I had to take more frequent and longer walking breaks. I finally got to the gate and hit my lap counter again to mark it. I ran quite fast down the road, crossing the street carefully, then walked to cool down to the parking lot. My face felt pretty windburned, and when I got home my nose hurt quite a bit when it thawed out. I recommend sealing your nostril skin surface with chapstick when you go out in this level of cold. I will do that next time for sure.

Winter Trail Running: My Stats

I checked the stats on my Polar RS800CX and found that I had spaced out my intervals pretty decently. I had maintained a good pace, especially on the way downhill. I also looked at my heart rate zones and found a good spread, pretty full in the upper middle, where I want it right now. It was a good way to train my last day in Colorado for this trip.

trail running polar graph with elevation, heart rate, and pace
My Polar Graph with elevation, heart rate, and pace from my trail running adventure

If you decide to try trail running in the Winter, I highly recommend you break into it slowly. If you’ve never run outside before, or on uneven surfaces, it might not be a good idea. It’s going to be cold, and if it’s windy, miserable for most people. Wear the appropriate clothing, and try to avoid sweating if you can. It’s best to be slightly cool rather than slightly hot.

Winter Trail Running heart rate distribution graph courtesy of Polar
Polar heart rate zone distribution for this winter trail running adventure

Above all, stay safe, stay warm, and remember that trail running below freezing can be fun 🙂

Winter Trail Running in Colorado

Winter Trail Running is one of my favorite training routines. I love the cold air. I love the snow underfoot. It’s much softer than running on pavement. This morning it was 2 degrees F in Keystone Colorado. I had some other things to do, or I would have run first thing in the morning.

My 12 year old son wasn’t up for Winter Trail Running, but decided to go snowshoeing instead. I gave him a little head start. After a while I started up the road behind Keystone Resort in Colorado. The Ski Patrol uses this road to haul injured skiers down to meet the ambulance. Sure enough at the gate to the road an ambulance waited. About a quarter mile up the road I stepped to the side to allow the snowmobile to pass. There was an injured skier in the sled, with red and blue lights flashing.

For Winter Trail Running you have to experiment a lot with clothing and shoes. I try to dress as lightly as possible. This afternoon it’s about 15 degrees, but the sun will be going behind the ridge soon and the temperature will drop. I’ll also spend some time walking with my son. My plan is to run and walk in intervals. The Polar Graph shows my intervals best in the heart rate zone lines.

For my Winter Trail Running, actually any trail running, I like to wear my Polar RS800CX GPS G5 Heart Rate Monitor. I like the graphing functions in Polar ProTrainer, and export the data to Google Earth so I can see it from a very different angle. Using the Polar WebLink software I can upload my data to PolarPersonalTrainer.com but that’s very clunky. I only do that to add my Training Load data. That way I can plan my intensity of training for the next few days to ensure proper recovery.

Winter Trail Running Clothing

Today for winter trail running I wore a thin long sleeve training tee as a baselayer. Over that I wore a thin zipper hoodie. For my outer layer I wore a windproof winter training jacket. I wore a thin beanie from TNF, and in the shadow of the setting sun, I flipped the hood up. For gloves I wore a pair of REI winter cycling gloves with the lobster configuration, since my hands were a bit cold last year in my fleece gloves.

My lower body winter trail running choice was a single layer loose winter tight by Sporthill. I’ve never worn it before so it was a bit risky. It felt just a little warm in the sun, and just perfect in the shadows. On my feet I wore a pair of Injinji liners under a pair of Smartwool PHD thick mountaineering socks. They fit just perfect in the Salomon Men’s Spikecross 3 CS Winter Trail Running Shoes. I wore these on my hike up Quandary last winter. They have sharp square rubber lugs on the sole and steel spikes that stick in the ice. Tip: don’t put them on and walk on your tile or carpet if you can help it. They’re also noisy on asphalt.

Everything worked fine. I did sweat a little bit, and it got chilled a lot during those times I walked with my son. As soon as I started moving I warmed up again quickly, so I think it was a good balance. The shoes worked good, and my feet were never cold. These are very thick socks though. One thing I noticed is that these shoes do have a bit of a heel, and it’s very stiff. If you’re used to flatter, or more cushioned shoes it will take a bit of effort to stay forward on your toes. Especially on the downhills.

Spike and Run My Hoka One One Mafate WP

Spiking the Mafate WP

So I decided to spike my Hoka One One Mafate WP. First of all I posted on their Facebook wall, asking if it would be okay, since I have no clue what the internal structure is, and I didn’t want to run into any air pockets. They replied quickly and said it would be fine. I went to a few stores trying to find #6 x 3/8 hex head sheet metal screws. Finally at the Ace Hardware in Silverthorne, CO, I found a box and got it. I charged up my drill and went to work. First you clean and mark the sole. You want to put in about 8 total screws, maybe more, balanced around the ball of the foot, and some on the heel and outside heel area. I marked mine on the larger lugs, though I don’t know if it matters too much.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMaEC83m3Gw

I used a 1/16″ drill bit chucked way in, so that only about 1/2″ was sticking out, and drilled on the marks. Then I switched to a 3/8″ hex bit and sunk the screws until they felt tight. I set the drill clutch to #3, but it never clicked, so I don’t know if it would just keep stripping out the hole if you kept going – be careful.

Running Below Freezing pt 2

Today (blogging time) I had a chance to test them on a road I usually run a bit in the winter, so I could get a feel for them. Keystone Gulch Road connects a side road from Mountain House Base to North Peak and Outback Base at Keystone Resort. Snowmobiles, logging trucks, snowcats use the road regularly for work and rescue, and a variety of runners, snowshoers, pole hikers, and skiers use the road for training. The surface varies from gravel/snow/slush mixed, to hard ice, chopped ice, and soft and firm packed snow.

running along the keystone gulch road, overhead view
Running below freezing along a snowy road

Accuweather said it was 20 with a windchill of 10, and I figured I was pretty warm last time at 10, so I put on some Pearl Izumi windblocker tights, an Under Armour coldgear zip t-neck and boxer briefs, a Mountain Hardwear Superpower Hoodie, A TNF running beanie (discontinued model), and my First Ascent windpro gloves. On my feet I had the usual Injinji liners, and Smartwool PHD compression kneesocks. I decided to forego my TNF Better Than Naked wind jacket.

I put the shoes on at the door, so I wouldn’t scratch my floors, and then went out and did a warmup walk while waiting for the Garmin 305 to get a satellite lock. The sound of clicking on the pavement was a bit odd (even over my Kittie playlist), and I purposefully walked on some slicker ice sections to test it out, and had really good connection to it. Felt stable. I started the Garmin at the mouth of Keystone Gulch Road, and ran uphill for 3.04 miles to the base of North Peak area at Keystone.

looking down at feet in hoka one one mafate wp spiked running shoes
Hoka One One Mafate WP - spiked for winter traction

It was dang cold. I never really got warm. I kept the Superpower hood on almost the entire run. I was a bit slower than previously, but that might be because of my testing the modified Warrior Diet, or the altitude (9600′) getting me a bit more this trip, a bad night sleep – who knows? As far as dress goes, I did not get at all sweaty except for a few spots on my beanie, but then again, I did not ever feel warm. I think a windshell would be an absolute necessity this cold. The gloves were too cold, the Windpro was letting enough air in to keep me chilled. Perhaps something like Gore Windblocker would be better. I’ll dig around in my gloves to see what I have for next time.

looking up Santiago Express - Keystone Resort
North Peak Base - Santiago Express lift - Keystone Resort

Except for the deep looser snow (I did roll my ankle once – something people who fear Hoka shoes mention on the net a lot), the shoes ran quite well. I was pretty happy with them. I think I might add a couple screws to the midfoot area, since the Mafate seems to have a bit of rocker there. If you like the Hoka, and like to run in the winter, and might encounter firm snow or ice, I highly recommend you consider this relatively cheap and quick solution.

httpv://youtu.be/_bKa15kDKKk

Video above is primarily to demonstrate the “clicking sound” on ice. 10:00 pace on very slippery hard packed snow.

Running below freezing can be fun

I’ve been wanting to get to Colorado for some high altitude cold training, since Utah has been so warm and dry so far this winter (aside from nice ice climbing I got in). Earlier today I got a chance to run at 5 degrees F on a dirt road for emergency and maintenance access to the back lifts at Keystone Resort.

running downhill Keystone Gulch Road
running down Keystone Gulch Road, sun at my back

The Keystone Gulch Road starts at about 9,240′ and at my 2.5 mile turnaround point was 9,850′ for a total of approximately 600′ of gain and loss. Enough stats though, and since a friend on the net asked me about layering for winter running, here’s how I approached running at 27 degrees below freezing.

clothed profile dressed to run at 5 degrees
clothing for running at 5 degrees F at nearly 10,000ft

First of all, the bottom layers. For undies I wore Under Armour Heatgear longsleeve tee, and Boxerjock series O. I also like the series T for hiking and skating, but haven’t tried running in them yet. For socks, I wore my favorite Injinji Toe Sock Crew Liners under Smartwool PHD Compression socks. This is a tough layer to get on right without bunching, since the compression socks fit me quite tightly.

smartwool and injinji sock combo
sock combo detail - smartwool phd compression and injinji crew liner

Over that I wore a pair of Salomon Windstopper tights. For shoes today I’m wearing Hoka One One Mafate WP (goretex) to test for snow traction and warmth with the goretex layer. I considered a midweight baselayer or thin softshell but having run at 10 degrees before and sweated quite a bit in a softshell, I opted instead for a TNF Windstopper Hybrid full zip jacket. It’s a very thin vest-like layer of thinly laminated windstopper with thin fleece back, sleeve, and side panels for ventilation.

For a hat, I wore a TNF Flight Series Beanie that I think is now discontinued, very thin and breathable. Finally, for gloves I wore a pair of Eddie Bauer First Ascent Wind Pro Gloves. I had good experiences with this glove in Alaska, so felt it would work good enough.

running at Keystone Colorado
creek and hills along my left side Breckenridge is way back there behind that ridge

So now, after all of that, how did it work out? I was cold most of the run up, and some of the run down. I prefer to run “dry” in the winter if possible, so I’d rather be a little bit cool and not sweat. This is a fine line to run, and I don’t really recommend it to new runners, or those who’ve never run below freezing before. If you get soaked and have something go wrong and end up sitting in the shade for a while you’ll be quite uncomfortable at the very least.

The Keystone Gulch Road I ran on curves along a creek bed between trees, cliffs, and hills, so you’re in and out of the sun frequently, so you warm in the sun, and cool in the shade. Overall I was quite happy, and never so cold as to feel like bailing. At one point I pulled out my earbuds (cheap Sony and the cables were very very stiff from the cold) and had to pull off my left glove to put them back in, and I ended up having to curl my hand up in the palm of my glove for a few minutes to rewarm my fingers.

sweat at ankles
beads of sweat built up on my ankles at 5 degrees F

Some interesting points I need to mention. With the Goretex shoes and Windstopper front panels on my tights, I got some nice balls of moisture condensed on my ankles. The Mafate shoe has unusually small lugs for a trail shoe (this is not news btw) and I did a small amount of slipping on icier portions of the road (they run trucks and snowmobiles up and down the road, but do not plow). I have asked Hoka One One about it, and they say it would be okay to spike them, so I might try that soon enough.

Finally, I think that without building up to it, without knowing your own body and how it reacts to cold, what you expect for pace and how that will affect your warmth, it would be hard for me to recommend you run with this few clothes on at that cold of a morning. Build up to it slowly, test it out on shorter runs very close to home, so you can bail to safety without hurting yourself. YMMV – enjoy!


Shopping List:

injinji Liner Crew Toesocks
Smartwool PhD Graduated Compression Ultra Light Bike Socks
Men’s HeatGear® Fitted Longsleeve Crew Tops by Under Armour
Men’s O Series Boxerjock® 6″ Bottoms by Under Armour
Hoka One One Mafate WP Trail Running Shoe – Men’s
Eddie Bauer First Ascent First Ascent Wind Pro Glove