I live in Saskatchewan and generally our winters are long, October-March, often quite cold ( -20C is often the norm and gets way colder for at least 2-3 weeks) and the wind can be so vicious that it cuts you right down to the bones. That all being said a few years ago I decided that I wanted to continue running with my group of friends through the winter. As of yesterday I completed my first full December Brainsport Streak, you must run everyday in December at least one mile outdoors or on the treadmill. I am happy/proud to say that I ran everyday and completed 143km in December!!!!
I will say that I am somewhat of a fair weather runner, there are a lot of hard core people around her, and generally I move my runs to my treadmill once it's -22 C or colder. In order to continue my running outdoors there were a few items that I needed to invest in, so here is my most basic list for winter running.
1. Mitts/Toque/Balaclava: I have poor circulation so I wear an old pair of snowboarding mitts. The gloves for running don't keep my hands warm enough in the cold. I also use an older toque and I did get a Buff/ Balaclava for the cold windy days, plus it's awesome instead of a toque on the not as chilly days.
My wish list: Balaclava
2. Pants to layer: I have a pair of Lululemon First Mile Tech Tight (they come in three colors) and you can wear these on their own when the weather is mild, around 0C. For colder weather I use a pair of fleece lined leggings that I purchased from Costco and I find that's a super cheap way to keep warm. When the wind is nasty or the weather gets colder than -20C then I wish I had a pair of Wind Resistant Pants.
3. Top layers: I wear my mid-layer top from lululemon all the time!!! You need a good mid-layer that's breathable. I love it and I use it as my main layer in fall/spring and a mid-layer for winter running; it's well worth the money. My best purchase was my Sugio running jacket that I received for Christmas a couple of years ago. This jacket is the best!!! It's breathable, looks good, great fit, versatile and keeps me warm. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! It is $$$ but I have never regretted it.