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Isn’t It Too Cold To Be Outside? How Kalamazoo Runners Dress for Winter Running

Photo: SEarl
Photo: SEarl

Some dedicated runners will not set foot on the treadmill yet run year-round in Michigan Winter. Here’s how Kalamazooians dress to run in this weather.

Some call it the “deadmill” and do whatever they can to avoid the endless, boring, repetitious, stifling, go-nowhere-but-crazy run on a stationary treadmill- even being loony enough to run outside during a Michigan Winter.

So what do you wear to stay warm but not overheat once you get up to speed? A beginning runner asked Kalamazoo Area Runners on Facebook.

Can I ask a beginner question? What do you do to prepare for running in the cold? I’m nervous to step foot outside when it’s 35 because of the first 5 minutes of shivering before I warm up. Do you bundle up or is there some intermediate step like doing jumping jacks indoors for a while?

Many recommended dressing in breathable layers that you could adjust as time and temperature changes (i.e., take off a hat or gloves, unzip a vest, etc.). Tiffany smartly says get a neck warmer and “a pair of yaktrax when roads are snow covered & icy!” Outdoor temperature matters, but Don says “be prepared to be cold for the first part of your run.” Mary reminds us that there’s more to consider than just the mercury: “I dress according to wind chill not the actual temp.” Zachary offered this encouraging advice:  “I think the key thing when you are a beginner is just getting out the door,” while Thomas contends, “crazy people run outdoors. Don’t be crazy.”

Trail and error and keeping a logbook of conditions and clothing will help you find the ideal gear for running during these sometimes challenging Michigan Winters we have in Kalamazoo.


Bonus Video: Winter Running in the Dark at Kalamazoo’s Spring Valley Park

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