In both the summer and winter, there is always an abundance of articles about how to survive running.
Posts like that sometimes assume that we are only surviving the months. Heaven forbid, we actually enjoy running in the summer or winter.
Most runners will tell you the spring an fall are the best climates to run. Why? Typically the weather is more enjoyable, there is more daylight, and it’s easier to get out the door.
I will say, thinking out loud, typically I enjoy running more in the fall an spring. Usually, I’m not sweating my face off or waddling because I have a 100 layers on. That doesn’t mean I hate running in the winter and in fact, all of my PRs are from either January or February.
When it comes to racing, the reality is many spring or fall races are either rainy, cold, too hot, or something else to complain about. So for argument’s sake, we will say about 3 months of the year are good running months.
Last year I wrote a post about gear to race in nonideal conditions which primarily was in the Spring.
That logic leads me back to the beginning.
How do you survive and even enjoy running in the winter months?
It’s something I’ve always battled. I’ll be the first to tell you, yes I went to college 3 hours north of Syracuse but no I don’t like the winter anymore. How that makes sense, I don’t know. Even if it’s on the treadmill, I’ve enjoyed most of my runs and enjoy the feeling of getting out there.
Here are a couple tips to enjoy running during colder months:
If it’s too cold, run inside:
This could mean purchasing a gym membership or treadmill. There is absolutely no shame in running indoors when it’s too cold, dangerous, or miserable. You are a real runner wherever you choose to run and there is no need to justify it to anyone. I don’t hate running inside. There, I said it. There are many podcasts or TV shows that can keep you entertained.
There are countless pieces of (expensive and inexpensive) running apparel to keep you warm. You don’t have to spend a lot of money but it’s important to get the proper gear from windproof to waterproof. Not many people love running in 30 degrees and pouring rain, however, with the proper gear, it’s not bad.
Now there are windbreakers, long sleeves, insulated tops, built in windbreaker leggings and just about anything you can imagine. Google can provide you with ideal layering techniques. Since I’m always ten jackets ahead of people, you would think I wrote the post for the arctic circle (when in reality I live in NJ).
Finally, Don’t Forget:
Just remember, running is lifelong. One run is not going to make or break you. If you are truly sick of winter running, don’t force yourself to run through the winter. It amazes me how many people will compromise safety. You are okay if you miss a couple of runs. You won’t be okay if you slip, fall, and break something. Find alternatives that aren’t going to miserable.
Finally, as a public service announcement: don’t try and run fast on ice (run indoors if it’s icy). No run is worth falling and hurting yourself on ice. I would know since I slipped and fell in a parking lot in college. I ended up breaking my arm. I know several friends who have raced in slick conditions, tweaked a muscle, and spent a month or two recovering.