You're a freaking hero! I don't trust my stumbly feet on our Canadian streets, but have seen a few brave souls doing it. At a local running store, there is something called YakTrax - it's a kind of coil harness that goes over your shoe, and is meant to give you better traction. Retailed at the store for $20ish CAD.
Just regarding the gym membership - do you live anywhere near a Planet Fitness? You can get a membership for a mere $10 a month, which is doable for almost anyone.
Regarding running outside in the winter... I now live in Northern New England, but used to live in Montreal. One winter, I trained for the 21k de Montreal, a half-marathon which is run in April. So, I did all of my training during the snowiest part of the winter. (And I agree mtlgirl, they do have an amazing snow removal system... the best I have ever seen.) Still, sidewalks remain icy. I did much of my training indoors, since I had access to a good gym, but I had to take it outside while snow was still on the ground, to get used to the roads in time for the race. For me, the biggest problem has never been the cold itself. In fact, I don't find that to be problematic at all. Wear a hat, wear non-cotton wicking clothes, dress in layers, wear underarmor, as others have said. By the way, Target has a fantastic line of inexpensive workout clothes - C9 by Champion. They sell compression shirts which work like magic... this year is the first year I have tried these. They're absolutely amazing in keeping you warm. But anyway, the biggest problem for me has always been my fear of falling... I'm not sure-footed running along on ice or in areas where there could be ice. So the top piece of advice is to get grippy running shoes! You can even buy YakTrax which are meant to be used over running shoes. A good investment. (Edit to add, just noticed the poster above me mentioned these too.)
I've been running for several years and I discovered a few years ago that if I did a run and didn't drink water during the winter, I would get a chill that just wouldn't go away, even well after a run. Make sure you drink even if you don't feel like it.
If you are going to finish your run and not be able to shower immediately, be sure to have something dry to change into so you don't have to be in damp clothing.
Smart wool makes good wool socks that are wicking.
I wear small, thin gloves, as well as a jacket with long sleeves. When my hands get too hot for the gloves, I just pull my sleeve over my hands. My friend that has Reynaud's syndrome (cold extremities) uses hand warmers in her gloves. They are available at sports and skiing stores.
Its fun to feel that you have beaten the weather and gone out for a run in the winter.
i agree sw - i ran last week in 20 degree weather i couldn't even do 1/2 mile, the cold air burned my lungs too bad, and i could feel it for a while after i came in. i will stick to the treadmill for the winter i think.
Reading this while I was recovering from my run - 13 degrees out witha wind chill of 2! I pretended I was a sprinter - which I'm not!- and kept the run to ~15 minutes outside. Followed up with Wiifit training, and a nice warm shower - now I feel GREAT!
Fitday start date: 6/21/2010
Start weight: 158#
Goal met Spring 2011
Your lungs will get used to the cold after a few runs outside in it. I started up again at the beginning of Jan. and it took me maybe 3-4 times out to get so that I could run and breathe normally. Stick with it -- it will get better if you keep at it! As others have said, layers, hydrate, and some sort of traction (I use Stabilicers instead of Yaktrax) are great helps.
Also, if you have access to places that rent equipment and there's consistently enough snow, I've heard great things about snowshoeing and CC skiing to stay active outdoors during the winter -- work with winter, not against it! I haven't actually tried them yet, but I'm hoping to go CC skiing soon, maybe this weekend. I live in St. Paul, MN, and you wouldn't believe how active people are here, no matter the weather!
Like the skin hurts? Or the inside of your nasal passages get dry? If the skin hurts, and if your skin gets chapped around your mouth and nose, I find that it helps a lot to put a thin layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on before heading out. This also helps keep you warm on any skin you have to leave exposed when it's *really* cold out.
If your nasal passages get dry, you could try saline nasal spray, and my sister raves about this ointment called Ayr saline nasal gel. Not sure if that helps.