HA, I was just looking through my drafts yesterday and had an article I was writing on cold-weather running that had been sitting there from last winter. I deleted it, apparently I shouldn’t have. Running the whole winter is entirely possible. It will make spring and summer racing much more pleasant, too :)
What to Wear for Runners helped me out a lot my first winter: you plug in your current weather conditions and it pops out a suggested outfit. I chronically overdress, and this really helped me figure out what I would actually need to run outside, versus what I thought I needed when I first stepped out into the cold. Some of the best winter gear pieces you can have are gloves/mittens, a good hat that covers your ears, thick tights (fleece lined is great!), and an all-weather running coat. The kind with zip-off sleeves are also nice, because vests are great for in-between weather days, when it’s 30 or 40 and you’re already wearing a long-sleeve tech shirt that will take care of your arms. As far as coats go, I’d get a windproof, waterproof jacket that will stand up to sharp winds and keep you dry. A thin layer of nylon is pretty good, it will break the wind and you can put as much underneath it as you need for the weather, rather than just having one heavy jacket that is only good for a certain level of cold. Testing out different layers for different weather conditions helped me decide what I needed for any specific day. For example, I know that if it’s 25-35 and windy I can wear a running hoodie over a tech T with running tights and be perfectly warm. I require gloves under 30 degrees. I don’t own any, but gortex covered shoes will keep snow and ice out of your shoes. Saucony and Brooks will provide some of their show models with Gortex, it might be something you want to look into if you run under those conditions often.
As far as bodily discomfort goes, running in the cold requires adaptation, just as much as running in the summer heat did. Take time to adjust and warm up well before you go out. It’ll keep you from the fresh-out-of-bed freeze you get going from bedroom to running. If the cold air hurts your throat, wearing a bandana over your mouth will help keep in warm moisture. I generally don’t do this until it’s in the 20s, though.
When it snows, be aware of your footing and adjust your gait as necessary (roll-step). Yak Trax have helped me, but are terrible if you’ll be transitioning at all between asphalt and snow. Running in the street when the sidewalks aren’t shoveled can be dangerous with black ice and narrowed lanes, so sometimes running may not be advisable just out of practicality. But, there is nothing wrong with running inside. I personally wont run outside if it is below 15 degrees, post-ice storm, or if the streets are unplowed. That’s just out of comfort though, it’s entirely possible to get out in those conditions with the right gear.