I am not the greatest fan of winter. I dislike being cold. It seems like it’s always dark, and I hate driving in the snow. I used to hunker down in winter like a bear going into hibernation, with a melancholy that wouldn’t lift for months. Some would call this seasonal depression. When I started running a couple of years ago and signed up for a spring marathon, I realized I would have to make some changes to my habits and my mentality when it came to the winter months. I couldn’t sit inside, wrapped in a blanket all winter without losing all the fitness I’d worked so hard to gain. So, I changed. I purchased some warm running clothes and started braving the elements, even when all I wanted to do was wrap myself in a blanket and wait until the spring thaw.
Admittedly, it was not easy to change my mentality. It still isn’t. But, with every winter run I went on, I found something incredible happening to me. I realized I actually enjoyed running in the winter. Especially in freshly falling snow. There is a peacefulness and beauty to the world when it’s quieted by a blanket of snow. Oftentimes, I get the running trails all to myself. I do some of my best thinking on these runs. I love the feeling of cold air on my cheeks. Over time, I’ve come to respect and even like winter. Every season has it’s own unique beauty. Here are some of things I do to make my winter running experiences the best they can be:
1. Find good winter running gear! Not just warm, but also clothes that breathe well, as you will work up a sweat, even when the temperatures are cold. You’ll need some good hats/headbands, gloves or mittens, a good jacket, tights, etc.
2. Explore new routes that look beautiful in the snow. Enjoy your old favorite routes and see how they change with the season.
3. Make plans to meet with a running buddy. Not only is it fun to hit the roads with a fellow runner, but it will give you some accountability and you will be less likely to bail on your run if you are meeting someone else.
4. Sign up for some “fun run” races during the winter. Most towns have lots of local holiday-themed runs. Turkey trots, Santa runs, New Years runs, etc. They make running in the cold lots of fun, plus it’s good speed work practice.
5. Have a good “warm-up” routine for when you get back home from your run. I love to jump in a hot shower and have a cup of tea or coffee. Throw your favorite sweatshirt in the dryer before your shower. I tend to get very cold very quickly after a run if I don’t immediately get out of my running clothes and into something warm and dry.
6. Eat something when you get home. This is a good idea, regardless of the temperature outside, but I find that some food in my stomach will help me warm up faster.
How do you like winter running? What are some of your favorite tips or tricks for getting through the colder months?