“It’s too cold.”
“The gym is warm. I’ll go there and run on the treadmill.”
“It’s too dark in the morning…and at night. I don’t want to run in the dark.”
“I can’t breathe when I run in the cold. It hurts.”
“It’s snowing, I can’t run in that.”
Winter running isn’t for some people. That’s fine. But while you’re bouncing along on the treadmill inside your cozy gym, I’ll be outside, cruising around Central Park through snow, sleet and whatever else winter throws my way.
And I’d love to convince you that you, too, can enjoy winter running. It’s not so scary. (OK, it’s a little scary at first, but let’s talk it out.)
Last winter I was going through some super fun (not really) personal stuff. I knew that running would make me feel better and would distract me from my silly drama, but I also knew there was snow on the ground…and sometimes ice…and sometimes hail beating down from the sky…
But I still ran.
I learned to layer up and power through, and somehow I got through last winter running outside nearly every day. The treadmill and me? We’re simply not a good match.
Last night I sweat for 45 minutes at the gym. I took a Chisel class, and while that was all fine and lovely, I much preferred the chilly sweat I endured this morning when I covered six miles in Central Park.
You may still be thinking, “I don’t want to run outside in the winter.” Totally cool. But in case there’s a chance you can be swayed, here are my 10 Reasons To Love Winter Running:
1. You get to dress in layers, which means you get to buy more running stuff. Yes, it is cold outside. We’ve been over that. I remember running one winter morning last year when it was six degrees. Single digits, man. That’s a little terrifying. But the frigid weather isn’t so daunting when you’re wearing a cute hat and puffy vest. What? Puffy vests are cool! They were cool at The Gap in 1997 and they’re still cool now! Leave me alone.
I still recommend wearing base layers that are moisture-wicking, because you’ll still sweat plenty in the winter, but other than that throw on whatever you’ve got and get cozy before you head outside. (I recently wrote about my favorite winter running must-haves if you’re interested.)
2. The sunrises are better in the winter. I don’t know why, but they are. They’re just more colorful or something. Trust me. Get out and see one. Plus, the sun rises later, so you don’t have to be outside at 5 am in order to see the sun come up.
3. It’s less crowded. In the summer, Central Park is packed with runners. Everyone is out, everyone is training for something. But in the winter, there are fewer people throwing elbows at you when you run clockwise in the park.
4. You’ll feel hardcore. 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 stupid and we know it” bond.
5. You’ll appreciate your hot shower afterward so much more. And maybe a cup of hot chocolate. Maybe find a way to shower in hot chocolate. I don’t think that’s the worst idea I’ve ever had.
6. You just may run faster. OK, if there’s ice on the ground, maybe slow down a bit. Or not. Do whatever you want. But on regular, non-icy pavement, I assure you I run faster than I do in the summer. I’m still not breaking any world records, except maybe the record for Most Bathroom Stops During A Run (kidding, Mom, I’m still healthy, don’t worry), but I definitely feel much speedier in cooler temperatures.
7. Your lungs will adjust. My mom tells me that she can’t run outside in the winter because it hurts to breathe. I’ve been there. When I first started winter running I had a hard time, too, but eventually my lungs got on board with the outdoor activity. Now I feel fine when I run, and though sometimes I’ll cough a bit afterward, I’m usually fine as long as I hydrate before, during and after my run. This is not medical advice. You should never take medical advice from me because I would have no idea what I’m talking about. But water + cold = Ali’s lungs are happy.
8. Snow is pretty. Sometimes it’s annoying, but other times it’s kind of nice. I rarely want to go for long walks in the winter to “check out the snowy park.” If I go for a run I’m much warmer and I still get to see the lovely sights.
9. You’ll really appreciate it when springtime rolls around. Bang out a few speed sessions or long runs in the snow and by the time the ice is melting and the flowers are blooming, you’ll be psyched. You’ll be like, “OMG I’m so tough, I ran all winter and now I’m being rewarded with 50-degree runs. Life is fantaaaastic!” Really. That is the exact conversation you will have with yourself. Or with me…on GChat. I look forward to it.
10. You’ll be really happy you did it. I do love winter running. Have I made that clear yet? But I won’t lie and say that I bounce out of bed on every 20 degree morning dying to bust out the Adrenalines and hit the park. There are days when my bed is so warm and I want to stay in it forever. That was the case this morning. But I got up, ran, loved it and felt so good afterward.
So give winter running a try, won’t you? Maybe not once. Maybe a few times, to really test out your clothing and see how you feel. You may still hate it. That’s cool. We can still be friends.
Oh and yes, if you’re wondering, “Is it normal that my boogers freeze when I run in the cold?” the answer is “Yup. Super normal.”
TELL ME: Are you a fair-weather runner or are you game for hitting the streets no matter the weather?
My husband started running a few months back, and we live in Fairbanks, Alaska. He regularly runs in below zero weather. Oh, and he just started a blog about running: http://cwhoulettefootfall.wordpress.com/.
So psyched to read this! I live in Los Angeles and have two weeks of cold, New Hampshire mornings to look forward to, and while I’m SO excited to go home for the holidays…I was not so amped about my continued marathon training in the snow. And ice. And sleet. And slush. But. You’ve inspired me!! I’m packing my sneaks (alongside every layering option I own) and will hit the snowy streets!
I have never consistently ran through the winter; I usually hit the treadmill if it drops below 30…but this year I will have no choice. I am training for my first marathon, which is at the beginning of March, and there is no way I will be doing long runs on a treadmill. Better layer up and bookmark this post for when I need a winter-running-peptalk!
LOVE this post and HATE the treadmill. So I run 7 two times during the week and 7-10 miles on Sunday. This is the way it is. I used to be able to pump out 7 miles on the treadmill. I did one on the milll last week and thought I was going to die. Plus I sorta like feeling hardcore. Going home to Minneapolis for Christmas… bring.it.on cold
The only thing that deters me is my fear of slipping and falling, or worse – breaking something. Have you found this to be a nonissue?
Ok I will admit it, I don’t think I ran outside once last winter. But now I have running partners and blogging and people that need to train for boston so winter can kiss my butt lol, remind me of this Saturday morning. So Saturday I will wake up for an early dark and cold run with lovely ladies because running does not stop because there it is freaking freezing. Sure maybe a little crazy but aren’t we all as runners
I love that you wear short shorts when running in the cold. I hate wearing long pants as my legs get stupid hot & I wore my short shorts at a race last weekend. I got a few crazy looks and a couple of “you are crazy” comments. Any chance you could come to Ireland and run in the cold with me and we can look crazy together. (My top half however was layered like mad!)
Happy cold outside running – it really is the best!
Loved this post, Ali. I love the silence and solidarity of morning running. I usually run around my neighborhood in the morning so I don’t see anyone, but it’s so nice to just have the streets all to your own. And yes, I love layering up just so until you have the perfect warmth for the run. A cold morning is always much more appreciated than a cold evening.
After my chilly run in the dark tonight, I realized that I do like the dark. Plus I feel more hard core with my headlamp on. 🙂
Great post! I have been acclimating to the cold weather running recently. Last year I started training for a May marathon and quit (yeah, it was pathetic), because winter running just wasn’t for me. But this year, I am giving it a go and have been enjoying myself! I have an April race on the calendar and have to stick with it. Thanks for the post, its true what you said about getting to buy more running gear! I’ve stocked up!
Oh, winter running, you and I have such a love/hate relationship! The hardest part is just getting out the door…once you warm up and get moving (and the sun comes up…wah), the cold air invigorates you. I also thrive on the “i feel badass”-ness of it all. I’ve been struggling a bit to get out the door, but know Boston in April will be a huge motivator. Having a race to get out there and train for definitely helps me, otherwise I’d be sleeping in my warm bed muchhh more often.
Ahh I have a love/hate relationship with winter outside running. It is def way more interesting and goes by so much faster but sometimes its just so nice and toasty inside I can’t help but stay on the treadmill
I LOVE running in the snow. I have to confess I week day run at the gym and run outside on the weekends. But I will run in any weather outside in the winter. I especially love running in snowstorms when no one else is out there. Love it!
Call Willy Wonka – perhaps he’d like to install his waterfall/river of chocolate into manhattan showers?
In other news…Running in the winter makes me feel hard core. I need to get over my new-ish darkness issues ASAP though because early winter runs used to be my favorite!!! And yes, any excuse for more running gear is good in my book 🙂
Ali, love love reading this blog! Also detest treadmills and plan to be outside through the winter. I’ve been dying though since they shut off the fountains in CP. Got a water holding belt you use/recommend? I am thinking I’ll add one to my Christmas list.
Winter running is great, and where I live, near Lake Tahoe, we get plenty of it. Even better- SNOWSHOE RUNNING. It’s a great workout, you get to see all sorts of cool backcountry sights, and it gets you off your “normal” running routine to try something different. I get so excited when it snows (Hear that, Mother Nature? We’re ready for some snow out here.)
Oh, Ali. You have no idea how much I needed this post this week. I’m currently training for my first ever spring half marathon, which obviously involves lots of running outdoors (at least if I don’t want all of my training runs to be on the treadmill. Which I don’t. I’d rather punch myself in the face). I’ve tried not to be a huge brat about it either, but I am a wicked wuss when it comes to the cold weather. Thanks for the pep talk! I might have to re-read this every week from now until the race in March!
I’m training for my first half marathon in the spring too, and I feel the same way!
I LOVE winter running!!! You are bold running in shorts! My legs would be fa-reezing! I am already in running tights!
I really love running in the cold, especially because it makes me want to run faster. Also it’s exhilerating and I’m a firm believer in chocolate milk/ hot chocolate as a recovery drink.
Unlike you, though, I do most of my runs after work and I hate the darkness. It doesn’t necessarily stop me but it does scare me a little to run alone in the dark. But that’s what running buddies and dorky reflectors are for!
Love it! I think the clothes may inspire me… they are so soft!
It’s ironic for me that you wrote this post today because I canceled a run date this morning because I didn’t want to go out into the cold (and mind you, it was forty degrees…not even that cold for Missouri standards). I’m struggling with the mental aspect of winter running big time, and I just need to get over it already! I’ve never ran through the winter season before because I just started running this year, and since I plan on running a spring marathon (like you should, too!) I’m just going to have to do it. I love ALL your reasons to love winter running, but I especially love number ten. Thanks Ali!
I LOVED running last winter. So much moreso than spring or summer. In winter, yeah you’re cold for a few minutes but you can warm up nicely. In summer? You can’t cool yourself down. My only problem is lack of sunlight and honestly time during the week. I need to get back to running outside at least on the weekends!
I have been reading your blog for a while, but first time commenter! I have been running in the morning year round for a few years and I love it! I love running in each season for different reasons but winter is just so awesome. You feel so hardcore for running in the snow and getting a run done before most of the world is awake! I also love the way the snow looks when it reflects off my headlamp! So beautiful!
Great post! I agree with everything, but sometimes I forget about how great running in the winter is. So thanks a lot for reminding me, Ali!
i think this might just be the kick in the butt that i need to get outside and run during the winter! i was just thinking yesterday that it is gonna be a long winter if i’m spending all of my time on the treadmill. not fun. thanks for the advice! i need me some leg warmers 🙂
Winter running is awesome. I much prefer running in the winter than in the summer when it’s a hundred degrees. I especially agree with your “You’ll feel hardcore” list item. I particularly like running while it’s snowing too. It really is pretty!
Well, -14°C (your 6°F) is quite something. Try -20°C plus wind chill and I think you would reconsider the whole running in winter time. I admit, I would love to, but that kind of cold really keeps me from doing it. Plus, I tried getting up early in the morning to go and workout. It’s just not for me. I am an owl type, staying up late is no problem. Glad you make through it though, you are the lark type, rise and shine kind of person. (I admit though, your 10 reasons are pretty good. Maybe I can run in the evening.)
I’ve been running in the mornings down in the Bay Area. Not quiet as cold as NYC, but it’s still chilly at 6:30am. I’ve been happy that despite the cold it’s been dry so far this winter! I don’t love it, but it’s what I’ve got to work with. I just can’t get to a treadmill easily.
I may complain about it, but I also would much rather run outside than go anywhere near a treadmill. One of my best friends met his wife because they were both the only ones out running in wintery Nothern Virginia a couple of years ago. They noticed each other and thought “hey, that’s pretty bad ass that they’re out here too.” My buddy fumbled his business card to her, she emailed him, he provided her a ride to a local race and the rest is history! One of my favorite “how they met” stories of all time.
Your outfit is very trendy 🙂 I’m planning to make use of my own puffy vest, circa 2005, but still very cool. I picked up a hat over the weekend, so I’m ready. Bring it on winter, bring it on!
I’d rather run outside during the winter than in August! Snow is really pretty. Last winter the snow got too high (it never melted) and I couldn’t really run on the streets around here…that made me sad. Running and I are closer this year, so I think we’ll stay together all winter.
I run outside no. matter. what. Seriously, slogging along on a treadmill has zero appeal to me. Half the fun of running is being outdoors enjoying mother nature. Plus, you NEVER know what the weather will be like on race day, why not train through all the elements and be the most prepared to toe the line?
Great post! I love winter running and people think you are downright crazy if you say it. But it’s so true. The sunrises are more colorful, there are less people hogging up the paths and getting in the way, you definitely feel hardcore when it is sleeting out and I am always speedier in the spring after a good harsh winter worth of running!
I need scenery when I run and I’m sorry ten year old episodes of “Law & Order” at the gym while I am on the treadmill do NOT count as scenery! My bed was oh so toasty this morning and it was oh so frigid outside, but I layered up and ran. It felt soooo good. And that puffy vest? Amazing!
This is great, I’ll be keeping all of these in mind. I am a fan of winter running for sure (I definitely feel faster also!), but sometimes the mornings are brutal. This morning I had to use every morsel of my being to get out of bed—but it was totally worth it. I love your point about getting to buy more winter running clothes too— I recently bought an ear warmer headband thing and it makes the biggest difference!
I LOVE THIS POST! I am such a cold-weather runner. Snow and ice make me nervous because I’m accident-prone but I deal with it because I LOVE running in the cold. I am so so excited because this is my first winter in NYC and I can’t wait to see the prettiness of the park all snowy and chilly!!!
Also, for Christmas I asked for basically all this season’s Lululemon cold-running things. More cute running gear is such a cold-weather perk.
I am glad you posted this! I am gearing up for my first “run though the winter.” My goal is to do at least one run outside per week. I am going to do an April half marathon and plan on doing each long run outside, no matter what the temperture is! Wish me luck!
Thanks for the inspiring tips, Ali! I just went for my first “winter” run at the reservoir on Sunday–the Athleta UES store is doing them each weekend now: 30-min stretching then over to the park for a loop or two. It was gorgeous and really felt good to not be pouring sweat. Buying a neck warmer you can breathe through when the dry hacking cough kicks in seems to help me. And also, I want to check out the new Columbia Omni-Heat base layers. Apparently you can control them and jack up the heat on super cold days?!
You make some good points here. However i hate the cold so if you need me, I’ll be on dreadmill. I am waay to clumsy to run in snow and ice. I’ll def break something.
I love, love, love running in the snow. Especially crunchy snow. I can’t wait until it snows here and I can run on it! 🙂
I recently converted to a cold weather runner and I feel so BADASS!! I still do mid-week runs indoors because I run on streets and our neighborhood is not so well lit but I get out there on the weekends. I’ve also read that people who exercise in the cold have stronger immune systems.
Agreed- I love running outside in winter, especially when its the right sunny/cold balance. You know, when people wear sunglasses and a coat. But I hate the rain, I do not enjoy a wet, soggy run. Uniqlo has heat tech stuff thats cheap and warm- yay!
i swear by manzella gloves in the winter – so warm. and i love the fact that you don’t need to get up super early on the weekend for long runs to beat the heat. actually lets you have more of a social life while training.
I’m still scared of winter running. But I live in Minnesota, so it’s legitimately often more like -25 in the morning than +6. Which means you can frostbite your face in 30 seconds. Boo to the lame. I need to move somewhere awesome like NYC and run with you. Or at least that’s what I took away from this post. Haha!
I love winter running. I enjoy feeling like I’m out and about in the city before everyone else is awake. I also love it because watching my dog play in the snow while we run is pretty much the best thing ever!
I live in Wyoming and train for half and full marathons all winter long. My rules for running outside and not having an excuse are as follows: if the temperature is above 20 degrees-run. If the wind is less than 30mph-run.
I heart winter running. When winter hits I tend to slow down, or stop altogether, hibernate, gain 20lbs, and have to start all over from square 1 come spring, and am miserable with it. This year, coming off a marathon PR I was more motivated… and then when December hit, I decided to run every day this month… even if it’s just a mile. (I’ve realized promising myself “just a mile” invariably turns into at least 3). I’ve been going through some “silly drama” if you will, and having that run every single day, even if I spent all day in my cubicle feeling down, once I get out and run, it all starts to lift. Unfortunately, it comes back, and running around the clock isn’t really feasible. I don’t totally avoid a treadmill, but that’s because I’m a single mom, and some days, the only way to get my run in is to take my kidlet to the daycare 🙂 But I LOVE running in the cold, and the dark (with headlamp) because I feel totally hardcore. I’m sure the drivers hate me (hence their desire to run me over, even if I’m in the crosswalk) but… I pretend they are just jealous. And I TOTALLY have a puffy Gap vest circa 2001 that I still use. Although I remove the fur lined hood for running. I just bought a shiny pink vest from Old Navy to run in too!
Sometimes you are so classy. You went a whole week without a bodily function or fluid story and than you throw that GEM of a comment at the end of todays blog. That is what makes you so unique.
Haha. I am your classiest niece, I know. Sorry, Jennifer. I win. I blow my nose on my sleeve when I run!
I am totally a winter running wimp. Sad thing is that I live in Georgia and it doesn’t get super cold. Actually, it does, but it only lasts for maybe 3 weeks.
I’m trying to hit the streets this year through the cold, but it is taking so much longer for my lungs to adjust this year. I was actually convinced I had pneumonie (thanks WebMD) because of how horrible I felt. I love getting to wear my jackets though 🙂 The dark doesn’t bother me in the morning, but if I run after work I need buddies otherwise it gets a little stabby with the hobos. I’ve also noticed that I don’t get as sore when I run in the cold. I can only assume that its like running and taking an ice bath at the same time.
I went out for a run in 19 degree weather this morning at 5:30. It was cold for the first mile, then I was having to restrain myself from removing too many layers. It’s so peaceful and I totally agree – I feel extra hardcore when I’m done. This morning I had on running pants, socks/shoes/sport bra (duh…), a dryfit tee, a dryfit fleece (Target for $15, score!) + running gloves that convert to mittens, earwarmer and headlamp. I don’t like to run outside when it’s snowing/icy since it’s just too dark at 5/5:30 to feel safe in those conditions – but on the weekend when I can see where I’m going? Bring it on!
I won’t lie, I DREAD running in super cold temps. I haven’t done it much yet, and thankfully, we have had pretty warm temps lately, for NE, but still. I need to embrace it more. My goal is once per week, so my lungs do adjust and it gets me off the damn treadmill. I will try, but I won’t say I will embrace it *just* yet but maybe my new I heart sweet long sleeve t will help. and lots of layers (though I hate layers!)
I would so much rather be cuddled up under a blanket with a huge mug of tea than outside in the freezing cold, especially when the ground is covered in snow and ice!!! yet for whatever inexplicable reason, last winter I ended up getting outside and braving the elements on countless occasions. Thank you for putting my unspoken thoughts into words – guess I do love winter running afterall. Your reasons really resonated with me… especially the points about less crowds, feeling hardcore, pretty snow, and appreciating Springtime that much more once it finally rolls around.
I love winter running. I only really don’t like the dark. It can be a little lonely. However, I hate treadmills. I have given them 2 chances. So not for me.
I’m all for it. Bring on winter running!
Ha. I dig winter running. When my doctor put me on treadmill only running last feb I was miserable. And the people at the gym thought I was crazy for my 9 mile treadmill runs. One of my favorite things about winter running clothes is that there are more places to wipe your nose. Gross I know but I feel as a fellow runner you’ll understand. 🙂
I’m a beginner runner (I ran a whole block this week) and the temps here have been pretty chilly the last few weeks (I live outside Chicago) but I’m still up for getting out there. I got a new UA jacket for my birthday (yeah!!) and subscribe to the layering theory and I love it. For my birthday I also got a pair of things to put on my shoes to give me extra grip on icy paths/sidewalks. I’m kind of excited about them too. Have you tried them? Will I end up killing myself?
I was feeling so hard-core for running this morning when it was only 38 degrees – but I am a wimpy California girl 🙂 You rock Ali!
I’m a run outside no matter how cold runner. My toddler joins me and you better believe I get dirty looks for that (but trust me, she’s comfy and she would LET ME KNOW if she wasn’t) 🙂
I’m slowly beginning to embrace winter running. All that time I’ve spent building up my endurance and speed to let it go to waste in the winter? Pointless! And the fact that I signed up for a March marathon leaves me no choice but to tough it out. I keep telling myself that if I can get through a brutal upstate NY winter I can get through anything. 🙂
I, too, enjoy winter running, but it is harder for me to get motivated. If it is early in the morning it is just so much easier to head to the “cozy” (aka sweaty) gym.
My fear is ice. Sometimes there is a layer of ice underneath the snow and I can not run on that for fear of losing a limb 🙂 Do you have yak trax or are you just more coordinated than I am?jen
Oh I am NOT coordinated. Last year I slipped and fell many times on the ice. But I slow down a LOT, or even walk, in especially slick areas. I have never used Yak Trax but I’ve heard good things about them. But yeah, ice is a legitimate concern. Be careful on that stuff! I’ll try to do the same…
This was a nice little kick in the pants. Growing up in the Southwest has made me weak and last night after work it was rainy and cold. Yep, 50 degrees is cold when it’s rainy and you live in San Diego. I was pathetic and opted to run 7 miles on the dreadmill. You are much more of a woman than I if you’re running in hail and snow. 🙂 Perhaps tonight I’ll suck it up and run in the rain if it’s still coming down.
ILOVE WINTER RUNNING. I think it has something to do with I’m a bit of a freak when it comes to running in general. For one thing I’m a night runner so especially in the summer I run in the dark. Its way too hot when its light out, plus I love it, I always feel like your in a whole other world… weird I know, I’ve accepted it 🙂 Also I have sports enduced asthma and when it gets cold out I can breath normally its AMAZING! That and like you said I love running gear and the more excuses to buy it the better. Haha I got a new job the other day and to celebrate I went out and bought 2 new winter running shirts… my boyfriend thinks I’m crazy. Ha
This will be my first winter as a runner but I am so excited to run through all the cold temps. I find it very peaceful and it makes coming inside that much better
I don’t mind running in the cold or the rain, as long as I’m dressed properly for it, but I HATE running in the dark. I can’t and won’t do it, it’s just very uncomfortable for me, even though I live in a safe area.
(P.S. Hi Ali! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile but this is my first time commenting. You rock!)
If I could run in Central Park in the snow you better bet your ass I would! Gorgeous.
I love winter running! But winter running in North Carolina is probably much different than winter running in NYC haha. What was the temp this morning up there? It was 36 down here when I ran and I wore pants 🙂 I’m such a wuss!
Mostly I just think its dangerous to run alone in the dark.
Definitely a valid concern! I certainly don’t advocate running if you feel unsafe! When it’s dark out I prefer having a running buddy with me.
I agree– I am scared to run alone in the dark mornings! But I love it. And my roommates think I am crazy to run in the morning, so I don’t think I’ll be able to convince them. Womp wompp. Pepper spray, you are my best friend.
Well, since it doesn’t snow here I really have no reason to not run in the “winter.” Let’s use the term lightly since we are still seeing 80* temps in December.
Last winter we got some morning that were down into the 20’s and I went running just so I could feel a little bad ass. Heh. I wore tights, l/s wicking shirt & a fleece vest with gloves & headband. I surived to tell about it. It is SUPER dark where I live, and we don’t have street lamps or sidewalks for part of my run, so It’s a little risky.. I don’t run in the dark often because of the lack of pedestrian friendliness. If I had a park or something to run in, that would be cool. I might could wake up early for a run in a pretty park. Instead I have stinky shrimp docks, no street lights, and lots of weird shrimp boat guys creepin’ around.
This is going to be my first winter running outside in real winter conditions. I recently moved to Chicago, from Florida, and have committed to run 100 miles outside during Dec and Jan.
Thanks for this post! I am still a little nervous about the frigid temps & snow, but you have definitely ebbed some of my fears. Plus your enthusiasm and love of winter running makes me want to get out there and run! 🙂
I am overcoming my fear of running in the cold, but am still terrified of running in the dark. I feel like I am an episode of Dateline waiting to happen when I run along the river in the dark.
I love running outside NOW, but a word of caution: sometimes difficulty breathing can indicate exercise-induced asthma, which often worsens markedly in cold weather. I was trying to gut out my cold-weather runs this October and wound up getting a really bad chest infection (asthma will do that) that affected my training for two months; my doctor said I was operating at 50% of lung capacity. Now that I’m on Advair it’s fine, luckily, but if I’d just tried to gut it out much more I could’ve done real damage.
The other issue is that for those of us training for track, it can be tough, if not impossible, to do outdoor speedwork on ice. I think I’ll be heading up to the Armory a lot this winter.
I’m glad you’re feeling better about running.
I wasn’t super big on running outside last winter. But for some reason, I’ve found this love of doing my runs outside this month. The one time I did use the treadmill, it was the longest 3 miles of my life. Definitely not doing that again. I love running in the cold now! I just have a stock up on some awesome winter running clothes now!
I used to say I couldn’t run outside half the time because I couldn’t breathe, but now I’m sooooo over it too. In fact, right about now, I’m sort of looking forward to a sweaty, humid long run in August.
Living in central NC, we get snow maybe twice a year. Sadly, the little snow we get is more often mixed with ice or melts and refreezes as ice, which means you are often risking a broken limb unless you’re lucky enough to time your run with the falling snow. But, I’ll take a long winter run in NC over a long mid-July run any day of the week!
I LOVE running in cold weather so much more than in the heat and humidity of the DC summers! When you step outside, it’s cold and chilly and you ask yourself, “why am I doing this?!”–after the 2nd mile, I always feel so happy that I did. I never regret a run, I only regret ones that I didn’t go on because I made excuses. My friend recently told me she doesn’t like running in the cold because her nose runs and she always has to stop and wipe her nose with kleenex. Huh? I told her, “just use your sleeve!” 🙂
I cannot believe you ran in shorts this morning! I was freezing my butt off and I had full pants and tops on! Still, you’re right with number 4. I felt like such a bad ass!
I’m not so sure I profess my love for winter running the same way you do, but I definitely enjoy being able to run through the winter. I noticed this morning how much quieter the streets are with fewer runners, even from last week, and it totally makes you feel hard core. And once you get going, it’s really not that bad! I used to figure skate in a rink that had no insulation every morning during the winter in Idaho, and there’s no way winter running could be worse than some of those mornings!
Total side note, a lot of times when you cough after a run, it’s because your body has gone into oxygen debt (which is a good thing for anyone trying to lose weight…it’s where you want your body to be to maximize calorie burn). But the coughing will happen after a run as your body catches back up with you…these are the random things you learn from TAing a human physiology course.
I don’t think I need it today…..I missed the cat…..Wedsnesdays are weird……..
i love that the park is less crowded in the winter, it makes me feel like a warrior!! i get a little grumpy when everyone re-emerges in April. Excusssseeee me, where were all of you when it was snowing, sleeting, and 20 degrees?? Anyway, I like this hot chocolate shower idea, but maybe i could shower in regular water whilst drinking hot chocolate? how do you feel about that?
I love, love, love running in winter, especially snow and ice. However, I do recommend two safety items that I didn’t see on your list. One is yak tracks. They are coils that attach to your shoes and allow you to run completely safely on ice; really! The other item is some kind of LED device for running safely in the dark. Hope everyone enjoys their winter runs!
I really need to bookmark this. I don’t mind the cold, but I always get stuck on the darkness factor and don’t want to go out, so I hit the elliptical instead – which is not nearly as good as real running (or even the treadmill, but I just can’t deal with a treadmill for distances over a few miles).
Really love your tips and the little bit kicked my ass since I am really good in making excuses not to run outside at the moment 🙁
But I do have a question: I also run in shorts in winter? Don’t your legs feel like freezing? I always get cold legs while running in winter. Maybe you got some tips for me 🙂
Maybe I´ll go for a run outside today 🙂
I’ll run in shorts and leg warmers for as long as I can. I typically don’t notice that my legs are cold until I’m done and realize that my thighs are bright red. Sexy? Hell yeah. But once there’s snow on the ground, I’ll definitely start wearing running tights. I’m kind of stupid, but I do eventually draw the line!
I love winter running too – but can only run on roads with cars and it gets pretty dangerous when the snow eliminates the shoulder. Wish I had some place like Central Park to head to.
I am the type of person that is always freeezing, no matter what, but am going to try to take my running outside this year! I got a Garmin for my birthday a few months ago and I want to get some good use out of it during the colder months: 🙂
I HATE the cold! I prefer running in tropical environments only… I wonder how I will hold up in Chicago next week. Brrrr!
(Good advice though.)
Getting out there and overcoming the “it’s so cold, I don’t want to freeze, I want to stay in my warm bed” mentality is the hardest part…once you’re running, it’s great! Hot showers after a long winter run are the BEST
Love this list!! I’ll totally be referring to it this weekend when I try to wuss out of my outdoor running plans! The only reason I’ve befriended the treadmill is during the week – too dark and scary to run by myself in the AM. yes I’m a wuss that way. don’t hate.
I can’t remember exactly the scientific explanation but….if you warm up inside with some calistenics so that your breathing rate is up for like 3-5mins before going outside to run, the cold air won’t hurt.
Maybe it’s magic, not science, but either way it works!!!
I love winter running too. I run faster without a doubt. If it weren’t for ice, I would want winter running every day. Summer is what kills me.
Like you, I enjoy winter running as well…I’m sorta lucky though since TX isn’t as cold & snowy…it’s actually perfect running weather this time of year! I’ll be taking after you and rocking some leg warmers all winter long. Happy running!
I just started Team In Training for the NYC 1/2 Marathon and we run outside twice a week, regardless of weather. This list really helped me get on board with that concept and I’m hoping my lungs get used to it too! Thanks for the pep talk!
Total non-creeper side note, I found your blog last week and then I swore I saw you in Central Park Saturday morning in an “I heart sweat” shirt. It was our first training run so I didn’t have time to say hi but I thought it was such a small world!
I am terrified of running alone in the dark. I know it’s pretty safe (I live in Inwood/upper manhattan…so maybe slightly less safe) but I guess I’m kind of a wuss. The cold doesn’t bother me, but the dark freeeakkks me out!
Running in the dark is a good point, though. It can be scary and it can DEFINITELY be unsafe. I run in Central Park, on the main road, which is very well lit. I DON’T advocate running in shady areas that may not be well lit, or areas where there’s no one else around. Be smart! Be careful!
I did winter running when I trained for my first half marathon two years ago. Not for me. I don’t like layers, I don’t like things tight to my body or touching my body. I don’t like even thinking about and planning all the layers (part of the problem is my tiny apartment and nowhere to put everything or remember where things are) and the worst part for me was that even though I had two pairs of gloves on, my hands would be so cold when I got home that I physically could not turn my key to get into my building. I would stand there in the cold vestibule freezing and blowing on my hands to warm them up just so I could get INSIDE and be warm.
Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer! You also won’t find me on the treadmill though. I just kinda take the time off from running. I’m glad you love it just please be safe in the ice! Also, shorts?? You are crazy!
I’m a total wuss but this post has me wanting to give winter running another shot! I live in upstate NY so we get lots of snow and I’ve always used it as an excuse not to run outside. Time to man up!
Also, I wore that same black vest from Gap this morning. I don’t care what anyone says, I love puffy vests.
I’ll run in just about anything! Actually, I went for a run at the start of a blizzard two winters ago. It was pretty amazing. I highly recommend it.
i love love love running outside in the new england cold/snow. unfortunately i have physical uticaria and get crazy ass hives on my legs when i finish my run and come inside to a warm apartment. i combat that with an allergy pill, annoying yes – but totally worth it. running outside during the winter is awesome!
I love running outside too! I am so not a treadmill kind of girl! Can’t say I always enjoy the winter but it sure beats getting on that treadmill!
I was an excuse maker last winter… just getting back into running, and hating the idea of being cold… but this year? I’m LOVING my runs in the cold/brisk air. Maybe it’s the new running gear, maybe it’s that I’m in much better shape and I freakin’ hate the treadmill… either way, I’ll be psyched come spring that I didn’t confine myself to the dreadmill all winter long!
I agree with all of the above. Especially the shower. And stretching in the shower after a hard tempo run. It’s. So. WORTH IT. <3