We’re about half-way through March, and depending on where you live, you’re (hopefully) beginning to see the first signs of spring. Of course, in some parts of Canada, winter is still in full-force, in others, April showers have already begun, and some places seem to experience all four seasons in one day. This can make it pretty hard to figure how to prepare properly for a run, so here are our best tips for running during a Canadian March.
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Check the weather
In the summer, you can safely assume it’s going to be hot and dress for the occasion. In the winter, you pretty much always know you’re going to need a hat, gloves and at least a couple of layers of clothing. The same cannot be said about March. As we gradually make the transition into spring, the temperature from one day to the next can vary significantly, so always check the weather before heading out so you know what you’re in for.
Consider more than just the temperature
Ambient temperature is important, but if that’s all you look at, you might be in for an unwelcome surprise once you get outside. For example, 10 C on a sunny, windless day will feel very different than 10 degrees on a rainy day with gusting winds, so always pay attention to the ‘feels like’ temperature, wind, rain and any other factors that might affect your run.
Keep on layering
You may think as we start to leave the freezing temperatures behind that you no longer have to wear more than one layer, but this isn’t the case during a Canadian March. Particularly on days with wind or precipitation of any kind, your best bet is to wear at least a couple very lightweight layers (for example, a thin long-sleeve and a windbreaker) that you can easily remove if you get too warm.
Watch out for wind
Not only can wind make your run feel a lot colder, it can also make it more dangerous. Strong winds can blow things like tree branches, recycling or garbage bins and other loose items onto your path as you’re running, so if you choose to go running on a particularly windy day, make sure you stay vigilant, and avoid running through a residential neighbourhood on garbage day.
Dress for the rain
A rainy run in the middle of July can be a refreshing relief from the constant heat, but rain in March is just downright cold. If you’re running in the rain this month, make sure you invest in a good water-resistant jacket to keep you from getting soaked, and don’t hang around in your wet clothes too long once your run is over.
Check the trail conditions
With the weather starting to warm up and the days starting to get longer, many runners will be itching to get back on the trails. If you decide to do this, try as best you can to get an idea what the trail conditions are like before you head out. As the ground starts to thaw, the trails could be pretty slick, and at this time of year, a warm few days followed by another cold snap can make them icy as well. Additionally, if you start out on the trails and the conditions are looking treacherous, you’re better off turning around and trying again another day.
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