Here where I live (South Eastern Ontario) it gets pretty cold, but not hideously so. For example, this morning it's -18C with a windchill of -27C (0F, -17F windchill), which is fairly typical of what we'll have for early morning temps for the next 3 months. There will be a few times though when we get pretty close to -30C (-22F) but when it's that cold there usually isn't much wind to add a windchill on top of that.
I can honestly say that I never find it too cold to run outside. As long as you dress for it, it's fine. Here's what I do to stay warm without spending a pile of money on fancy winter gear.
- Warm Up- I have a 2.5km loop that I do for my warm up, especially in the winter. For that I put on an extra layer (usually a fleece vest) to keep me warm before the blood gets pumping. By the time I hit about 2km I'm usually feeling warm enough, and by the time I swing past my house at 2.5km I'm ready to get rid of the vest and carry on.
- Layers- This is absolutely key- layers can make up for a lot. One day this week I went looking for my fleece pullover that I wear when it gets below -10, but my wife had decided it was too stinky and thrown it in the wash, so I had to improvise. I pulled on a thermal long sleeve shirt, a tech fabric long sleeve shirt, a tech t, and my lightweight running jacket, and I was perfect.
- Mittens- Gloves are okay when it's not super cold, but your hands will never be as warm as when you wear mittens. There's nothing saying that you need running specific mittens either. My favourite combination is a pr of stretchy dollar store gloves under a pr of uninsulated shell mittens that my wife found at the Thrift Store- if I get too warm as the run goes on, I pull off the mittens wear just the gloves.
- Headwear- This is the most important thing for me. I do have a couple of specific running hats that I picked up on sale- one that I use when it's just below freezing, and one that I wear when it gets colder. The key for me is that I don't want my head to get too warm, and have to pull my hat on and off. If I was going to spend money specifically on winter running gear, this is where I would put my $20.
- Feet- I was surprised how little of an issue feet were when I started running in the winter. If I were to go for a walk in my running shoes in the middle of winter, my toes would freeze, but I never have a problem with that. I don't know if it's the blood pumping, but I just don't worry about that. I have heard though of some people putting duct tape over the forefoot of their shoes to keep the air from flowing in. Another thing is the ankles- I tend to wear a bit longer socks in the winter since bare ankles poking out between the tops of your socks and the bottom of your pants can get chilly.
- Pants- Here's where you can spend a pile of money if you want to. There are some really great looking winter running pants out there, but I make do without them. I have 1 pair of insulated tights that are good for when it's pretty cold, and beyond that I either add a pr of long undies under them, or wear nylon wind pants over them. Before I had the insulated pants what I did was wear long spandex tights, then flannel pj pants, and my nylon wind pants over that- lightweight, warm and perfect for really cold mornings.
- Face- This is the trickiest bit for me. On winter runs my face is almost always cold at the start, and almost always warm once I get going. When it's really cold (like below -20) I wear something like this, but I always end up pushing it down as my checks warm up really quickly once the blood gets pumping: