I’m often asked if I still run outside on those frigid winter days. Of COURSE I do! Some of my most exhilirating runs have been in the worst of weather conditions. I love running through the snow, making footprints along the way, especially when snow is falling on and around me. I feel like a child again, playing in the snow, and I’m just out there enjoying the moment with no regard to time, distance, or pace. I feel as though I could run forever, and will often cool down outside after my run (literally) just to enjoy the cold wind against my cheeks for “just a little while longer.”
For safety reasons, I always swore I’d forego outdoor running when it was icy. However, as soon as that day arrived for the first time, I stared longingly out the window contemplating what to do. I just couldn’t bring myself to run on the treadmill, so after putting on layer after layer of clothing, some thermal and some runner-specific winter gear, out the door I went. But not before checking myself out in the mirror just to get a chuckle out of the snow monster staring back at me.
I’ve found the key to tackling temperatures under 30 degrees is to do my warm up stretches indoors. That way, I can just throw on my running shoes and start to run immediately upon stepping outside. I always have that initial shock of brrrrdom, but I’m always feeling good within a minute or two of running. I must admit, I was initially surprised at how much warmer I am with many thinner layers as opposed to big, fluffy sweatsuits. Not to mention how much easier it is to run without that extra bulk and load that comes with those clothes made for lounging.
As I’ve said before, I’ve had some of the most exhilarating runs in several inches of snow and ice. My pace is always slower, but it’s a more difficult workout trudging through snow, dodging ice, and carefully calculating my steps so I don’t bust it. I’m happy to report that I have yet to completely hit the ground during a winter run (apparently, I reserve my falls for dry days). Hills are always the trickiest, namely downhill, but climbing them brings about a whole new adventure, which is actually so much FUN for me.
Nearly all of my runs during the winter months are lone runs. I can rarely convince my husband to brave the cold and snow with me. I will never understand why this isn’t as appealing to him as it is to me. 😉
Especially when this is waiting for me when I am done.
In my quest to make cold weather running as comfortable as possible, I made an amusing discovery. Did you know they make chains for your running shoes? Oh yes, they do. As in traction assistance like you would use on tires. I laughed out loud when I first discovered this, and have seriously considered purchasing a set. There are also self-help articles on how to make your own screw shoes at very little cost. I’m just as amazed by this as I was when I found they have headlamps for running at night. Nothing like a running toolbox. 😉 For now, I’ll stick with slowing down and proceeding with caution, and see what this winter brings.