Winter weather. You love it (some days). Snow glistening off the trees. Clean, bright snow. The sounds of cars hissing over wet streets as they slow to a caution stop at traffic lights. Calmness in the air. Fireplaces. The quite everywhere after snow. Gravel strewn over ice to keep us safe. The smell of wet streets. The sounds of dripping everywhere when the weather warms after a snow. “Ahhhh…yes”. The hushed hiss of sleds sliding down a hill and snowshoes brushing lightly across the plains. The dull muffled echoes of snow falling off trees or roofs, hitting the ground. Warming grateful hands around a cup of hot anything. The smell of hot coffee, tea, hot chocolate, again, hot anything. Comfort food bubbling on the stove. The click of your fireplace remote, magic, warmth. The heavenly smell of wood smoke…You love it.
But….Gravel in your shoe weather. Invariably those sharp stones find creative ways into your boots and shoes. Stomping snow off your boots before coming inside. Constant clean-up of rugs in your entry from just-outdoors boots and paws. “Ugh…no!“. Or those frigid, merciless water drops that hit your head or neck from snow melting off the roofs above. Frozen eye lashes. Thawed eye lashes dripping in your eyes blinding you. Yellow dog pee stains on snow everywhere. Dirty snow, filthy snow. The whizzing whining helpless sound of car tires spinning on ice. Icicles like transparent daggers or vampire teeth falling…watch out! The huge scrape and skate of metal on stone of working snowplows. The wind turned devlish, coming after you everywhere like an enemy. Cold vehicles. The smell of damp wool.
The list goes on and on. You love it and you hate it. Winter thoughts.
Yes it’s COLD. And, yes the gym is warmer. But seriously, there is a heck a lot of goodness in Winter!
“It’s snowing, I can’t run in that.” Really….yes you can.
Winter running might not me be for everyone, and that’s fine. I love a grueling speed work session on the treadmill weekly, but if I had a choice, I’d much rather be cruising around the town through snow, sleet and whatever else winter throws my way. I would love to convince you too that winter running isn’t so bad, and you might even enjoy it once you get out there and run.
Granted, this week in Minnesota we had some rather dangerous wind chills, like 37 below wind-chills, for real and no I am NOT that crazy. On days like those, I bundle up, warm up the car, and head to the gym for a treadmill work-out…. maybe a tempo run, a progression run, or possibly some intervals on an incline. You can bet whatever I do, it will not easy, but it certainly takes the boredom out of the treadmill. To be honest, I kind of like them!
But back to convincing you….and yes I run outside when it’s 0° and often times below zero. It’s really not so bad. (OK, a bit uncomfortable at first but seriously, you do warm-up). Believe it or not, you still work up a sweat like you do in gym…only it’s just better outdoors. at least in my opinion. So in case I can sway you to give winter running some consideration……..
Here are a few thoughts why I run outdoors in the Winter Months:
- I get to dress in layers, which means I get to buy more cute running stuff. Yes, it is cold outside. We’ve been over that. Check out this post…it was minus 11° when I started my run. That’s a little frightening you may say but the frigid weather isn’t so daunting when you’re wearing a cute hat and coat that covers your butt! Yes! Winter running clothes are cool! Leave me alone. So go buy yourself a new pair of cozy running tights, a sweet jacket, warm gloves, a cute hat, & warm socks. They all can really keep you warm (and cute) in the most frigid temps.
- You have to admit, those runs that happen on a fresh new blanket of snow are pretty fun and the snow is pretty. Sometimes it’s annoying, but other times it’s kind of nice. If you’re dressed for it, you’ll keep warm and enjoy the scenery.
- Because winter running makes me tougher and hopefully stronger! Plus we’re not quitters and taking the Winter off would sure make it more difficult to come back running in the Spring. Maybe has hard as after taking time off after giving birth…maybe? And besides, I GET to run so I like to take advantage of that blessing 12 months of the year.
- I spend way too much time indoors, rushing from car/car to house, etc. so I brave the outdoors and know the Fresh Air will be GOOD FOR ME! Running gives me that fresh air and sunlight (when it is out) that our bodies naturally crave. Bring on the vitamin D!
- I SO MUCH appreciate my hot shower afterward!! And maybe a cup of hot coffee….or hot anything.
- People drive by and see me running out in the cold think I am more hardcore than ever! (or just crazy, not sure). Plus on really blustery days, I love smiling at the few other runners who are out braving the elements. It’s like you share this secret little “We’re crazy and we know it” bond.
- Because the fact that it is dark and cold outside puts a damper on my attitude about everything and running seems to lift my spirits right back up to normal. Ahhh…endorphins. MAGICAL
- The sunrises are better in the winter…(and sunsets). I don’t know why, but they just seem much prettier both in the morning and night-time. And the best part, the sun rises later so you don’t have to be outside at 5 am in order to see the sun come up.
- You’ll really appreciate it when springtime rolls around. Crank out a few long runs in the snow and by the time the ice is melting and the flowers are blooming, you’ll be pumped. You’ll be like, “OMG I’m one touch cookie! I ran all winter and now I’m being rewarded with 50° runs. Life is awesoomeeey!” Really. That is the exact conversation you will have with yourself. Or possibly with me come Spring….I promise to check back in?. I look forward to it!
- So Give Winter running a chance. As much as I enjoy winter running (I have made that clear right?, I won’t lie and say that I bounce out of bed on every cold winter morning dying to increase my Adrenalines and hit the pavement. There are days when my bed is so warm and I want to stay in it for hours….and forget about exercise. But on most of my scheduled run days, I get up, go for a cold run and I feel Sooooo much better and love it when I am done!
So if you dare, give winter running a try, won’t you? Try it at least once and than maybe a few more times till you start to acclimate to the temperatures. It took me a while to really enjoy it too. If you still really don’t like it, that’s ok. But I hope you’re still my friend?.
And in case you’re wondering, I left out the part if you need to take a pee, your a#s may freeze, but hey, this is normal. Totally normal. Right!
TELL ME: Are you a fair-weather runner or are you game for hitting the streets no matter the weather?