While winter is technically not quite here, the temperature lately is indicating otherwise. If you're an outdoor runner, you've noticed the changes in the past few weeks. Instead of jumping on the dreadmill, you can still run outside.
Layers. It's all about layers. If you dress for the weather, you can run in the weather. A common rule of thumb is that when you run, you warm up approximately to 20 more degrees than the outside temperature. So, based on that theory, if it's 20 degrees outside, you'll feel like it's 40. If it's 5 degrees outside, you'll feel like it's 25. Dress appropriately. You can always remove a layer if necessary when you're out there.
Wear a hat. It sounds so simple, yet it's so necessary. Wearing a hat will help keep your body heat bottled and will keep you warmer out there. Besides the fact that it will save your ears from freezing.
Hydrate. While you're definitely not sweating as much on a cold day run as on a hot day run, you still need to hydrate. Carry your water bottle with you, if you do that at all other times. Make sure to drink plenty before and after you head out.
Pick a number. Decide what the lowest temperature you'll run in is, and do that before you plan to go out. So if you'll run outside until it's 20 degrees out there, you can figure it out easier than deciding day by day. Don't go based on what you think for that day, go based on what you've already decided is a temperature you're comfortable running in. Pick your lowest number and stick with that.
Plan ahead. If you know you want to run four times in one week, look at the weather forecast. While it's not perfect, it can be a good indicator. Choose the days where it's going to be 15 instead of the days it's predicted to be 5. Plan your weekly runs based on that schedule.
And be careful. Sometimes it is wiser to stay inside than go out there. If it's slippery or the weather just isn't working for you, find an indoor cross-training activity and try another day.
But winter running is definitely possible. And when you're out there you'll feel like a super hero for doing it and when you're back inside you'll be so glad you went.