I’ve always considered myself a “fair weather runner”. I would run only if the weather was right, not too hold, not too cold, no rain or strong wind and definitely no snow. It was fine when I only ran casually to add some cardio into my weight training. But over the last year or two, I began running a little more regularly and any progress built up over the summer would become lost while I hibernated in the winter.
This year was the year I was determined to continue running throughout the winter. While I still consider myself a more casual runner, I still want to go into the next season with a solid base. My hope is that without having to start over again, I will be able to hit a PR at the Calgary Marathon this year. Now that I’ve got a few months of winter running under my feet, I thought I’d share some tips that have helped get me through.
- Set your conditions. I decided that anything under -20° with or without windchill was a deal breaker. In case of temperatures falling under -20, I would instead take a spin class. So far, we’ve been lucky with our winter this year and haven’t faced anything that frigid so far (although it’s been close).
- Dress properly. This is the one thing that intimidated me the most about running through winter. I had no idea how to dress myself. The best advice I’ve learned that you should dress as if it’s 10° warmer than it is outside. It doesn’t take a bunch of expensive gear to survive the cold, it just takes the right layers. Old Navy has been great for picking up the odd piece of inexpensive winter gear (especially if you wait for sales). It’s been a learning curve dressing myself, but I have to say I’ve done really well with the limited pieces I have so far. That said, I’m still hoping to add a good winter running jacket and a pair of trail shoes to my closet for future years.
- Find a buddy. Without Mary
sufferingrunning with me every Sunday morning, I’m not sure I would have gotten out as much as I have this year. Having someone to keep you accountable makes it easier to hit the snowy trails.
- Embrace it. The feel of the cold air on the lungs. The sound of snow crunching beneath your feet. The quietness of a winter morning. The beauty of a fresh snowfall. I’ve really learned to embrace the winter months through running.
- Reward yourself. Every cold run I complete, I come home and make a giant mug of coffee to enjoy in a bubble bath. It’s the perfect way to take the chill off and treat myself to a little piece of luxury after a cold run.
Are you a winter runner? What is the best tip you can give someone starting out?