I love to run. But every year, it's the same lame story: I work out like a fiend all fall and then winter comes, nudging me into a coma as soon as the thermometer slips below 30 degrees. By March, my muscles are as soft and squishy as my daughter's favorite teddy bear. But this year, I'm resisting the siren call of my space heater. And with the right gear (and mindset) you can, too.
What do I, a former beauty director and longtime magazine editor know about exercising in the cold? Well, actually quite a bit. You see, as a child, I competed for many years as a downhill ski racer in northern New Hampshire, a hobby that left me with permanent nerve damage in my fingers and toes—and a lifelong interest in never freezing again. Standing at the top of Lake Placid in a skin tight Lycra giant slalom suit when it's 20 below zero? Yup, I did that. And here's what I learned:
Layers are next to godliness.
Are you competing in a marathon? Is Bode Miller chasing you? No? Well, then pile on some clothes—you don't need to worry about the wind slowing you down. Choose moisture-wicking fabrics like polypropylene so your sweat doesn't stick to you like a wet salamander. And don't forget a toasty topper. I am obsessed with Lululemon's Fluff Off Jacket. It keeps you warm and prevents overheating with core vents, all without tripling your girth. Did I mention it also has "Cuffins?" In a pinch, these sleeves will keep your hands warm if you forget your mittens (which is what you really should be wearing when it's freezing out).
Cover Your Ears
It's not enough to just slap on any old hat—many of them will leave your tender lobes twisting in the wind. I probably don't need to tell you that's catnip for frost bite. When I used to race, I would often wear a soft, fleece headband instead of a hat. Nike offers a good reversible model. This will keep your ears—and the sides of your face—warm without turning your head into a furnace. Now, if it's really cold, and there's absolutely no chance you'll see anyone you know, you may want to bite the bullet and wear a balaclava. Truth: You will look a bit like a mugger. But, as Catherine Deneuve wisely noted, at a certain point in life, you have to choose between your face and your ass anyway.
Update your playlist.
This is no time for the 2 billionth repeat of "Summertime Sadness." Take a few minutes before you leave your house to troll around the iTunes store for some super upbeat tunes. Some of my current faves: "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson (featuring Bruno Mars), "Sugar" by Maroon 5 and "Time of Our Lives" by Pitbull & Ne-Yo. By the way, it's nice to start with a slow warm-up song. Just for "Now" by Imogen Heap is my go to.
Empty your mind.
You know that moment when you're pouring a cup of coffee and deciding whether or not you're going to put on your exercise clothes? You look outside and it's dark. Weather.com tells you it's snowflake weather. Stop! Thinking this one through is ill-advised. Instead, try to channel whatever modicum of Zen you have lying at the bottom of your soul and empty your mind. Do not think! Just put on your clothes and walk out the door. And remember: The first 5-10 minutes may suck, but after that, the endorphins will kick in and you'll feel as omnipotent as Kanye West right before an awards show.