Don’t Just Survive Running in Winter Months…Enjoy Them.

Don’t Just Survive Running in Winter Months…Enjoy Them.

In the summer, there are an abundance of articles about how to survive summer running, and in the winter there are plenty of articles of “how to survive winter running”.

Both of those arguments imply we are only surviving the summer and winter months.  They imply we aren’t supposed to enjoy running during that time…just survive.

While winter can be frigid and summer can be scorching, the reality is every season has their positive and negatives. Parts of Spring and Fall are either rainy, cold, too hot, or something else to complain about. So for argument’s sake, we will say about three months of the year are good running months are actually decent to run.  You can pick any weather to complain about.

That logic leads me back to the beginning.Don't Just Survive Running in Winter Months...Enjoy Them.

How do you survive and even enjoy running in the winter months?

It’s something I’m battling right now.  I’m not a cold weather person.  Ironically, I went to college where it could be -30 in January. Why I chose to do that, I don’t know but I also don’t regret it.  This year, I’ve enjoyed most of my runs and enjoy the feeling of getting out there (even if out there is to the treadmill).

Here are a couple of tips to enjoy running during colder months:

Run Indoors:

If it’s too cold, run inside. This could mean purchasing a gym membership or treadmill. There is no shame in running indoors when it’s too cold, dangerous or miserable.  I wrote about it recently, but a treadmill is a tool. It’s not bad, embarrassing, or shameful.

Layer Up:

If you are running outside layer up.  There are countless pieces of running apparel to keep you warm.  People who train successfully through the winter months, wear appropriate clothing.

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, I prefer to wear more layers. What works for you, doesn’t work for everyone.  It might be trial and error for figuring out the right amount of layers for different temperatures.

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. Find alternatives that aren’t going to miserable.  Get a gym membership and try new workouts and cross trianing  Cross training will only make you stronger, plus help burnout.

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.

Questions for you:

How do you enjoy winter running?

What are your favorite pieces winter gear? 

Base Building Week 6: Bonus Rest Days

Base Building Week 6: Bonus Rest Days

Last week started off well, but the day after Christmas I woke up not feeling the best. No big deal and after a couple of unanticipated rest days, I was able to feel a lot better. Funny how rest works?

Monday: 10 miles to the top of Caledonia
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes with my father in law
Wednesday: 20-minute walk
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: 12X400s Averaging 6:10 pace with 400 jog in between
Sunday: Easy


Last week, I had hoped to run 2 workouts and have a solid training week but my body needed the rest.  I’ve posted a dozen times, but it’s important to listen your body. It wouldn’t have been quality runs so there wasn’t a point.  Resting isn’t something that bothers me anymore, if you need it…you need it and life moves on.

Monday was my favorite run. My husband and I ran to the top of Caledonia State Park in central PA.  Then ran back down.  It was beautiful and already had a lot of snow.  It was about 1000 elevation gain in total.

On Sunday, I planned to run but I woke up after minimal sleep and felt like garbage. After already taking 2 rest days off, I thought I made sense to add a third and make it a down week. A run on Sunday wouldn’t have been productive anyway.

Workout: 12x400s averaging 6:10 pace with 400 jog in between

I was debating between week 3 of my lonely 5ks but because I plan to run a 5k on New Years Day, 400s seemed like a better option. The weather on Saturday was perfect and I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

Posts from the Week:

Fitbit Ionic Review

2018 in Running

Next Week:

I’m looking forward to doing a local 5k on New Years Day as well as getting back into training. January is a busy month for me, thankfully, because with the cold and lack of sunlight, it’s typically one of my least favorite.

Questions for you:

How were your Holidays?

Do you have any New Years plans?

Base Building Week 5: Good.

Base Building Week 5: Good.

Training in December can be difficult but that’s why I choose not to stress about running. I run, I do workouts, but do I stress with extra rest days, shorter runs, or trying something different? No.

A few years ago,  I trained for a winter marathon and while rewarding, it was tough for me to balance family, live, and 20 mile long runs.

Anyway, training last week was good.  I seem to use the word “good” in place of uneventful, but training was boring.  I did what I needed, and trekked along.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 3X1 mile (6:30, 6:30, 6:30) Total miles 10
Thursday: 30-minute walk (nothing strenuous)
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Lonely 5k Week 2: 19:57.3 Total miles 10
Sunday: Long Run


Like usual, the easy runs were easy. There was nothing exciting or eventful.

Wednesdays Workout: 3X1 mile (6:30, 6:30, 6:30) with 90 seconds rest.

This run felt harder than it should have and I was not as fast as I would have liked.  My legs just didn’t have it and I was tired.  I was proud of my effort and consistency but past that, I was ready to move on from the workout. 

Lonely 5k Week 2: 19:57.3

Last week, I ran a 20:00.3 and was 3 seconds faster this week. It was much windier but no rain.  I am someone who thrives on racing and just having a hard effort each week. I find I am the most confident and I’ve been in the best shape when that happens. Unfortunately, this time of year and through January, there aren’t a lot of races (basically none) in NJ.  Last week, when my race was canceled due to weather, I decided to run my own.  I don’t know how long I’ll continue the trend but it’s been fun the last 2 weeks.

I ran a 6:29, 6:30, 6:22. To be honest, I thought it would just be a few seconds slower than last week but I found another gear and passed my time from last week. I visualized myself outkicking me ha.  Anyway, I am pleased with a faster time on a harder day. 

Long Run: 14 miles averaging 8:21 pace with a faster finish

I’ve started wearing my GPS watch more on long runs to get a good idea of pace. I had planned to run between 10-12 but do some marathon paced work (around 7:15 for me), but opted for a solid long run with my husband. He asked if I wanted to run but “it needed to be between 8:15-8:30 pace).  That’s not a pace that ever feels easy to me during trianing.  It felt comfortable enough to chat, but I knew I was working harder. We ran the last 3 around 8 minutes. I felt good about it.

Next week between Christmas and New Years, I’ll be traveling a lot to see family. My training will roughly stay the same (or as close as what happens).

Posts from the Week:

Treadmills are Ok.

Matcha Collagen Latte

Questions for you:

Do you train through the Holidays?

Do you like racing or no?

Treadmills are Ok.

Treadmills are Ok.

After careful thinking about a title, I realized honesty is the best policy and truth be told:

I don’t hate the treadmill.

Many long-time readers know I went to college and worked in Upstate, NY for several years. I’ve spent plenty of winters training almost exclusively on the treadmill.

Before you say: “just get out there and run outside,” I’ll also let you know that I’ve slipped on ice and broken my arm when walking outside. There is zero shame in running in the treadmill or getting out there. Where you run only effects you, no one else. If running on the treadmill makes you feel good…cool.  There are some days; I just prefer the treadmill even when the weather is decent.

While New Jersey is a lot easier to run outdoors year-round, some places such as Upstate New York are not.  When I lived in New York State, some winters it was -30 outside and you’re so bundled up you can’t get more than a speed waddle outside.

I enjoy running, but I’m not going to run outside only to be miserable or be unsafe while doing so.

Back to the point of this post, I don’t mind running on the treadmill.  I’m able to put in a certain pace, zone out, and go.  A few years ago, there was a significant ice storm the night before my last my last twenty miler before Phoenix marathon. It was either run 20 miles on a treadmill or miss the run.  I watched 3 hours of Say Yes to the Dress, and it wasn’t bad.

treadmill running

But how do you run on the treadmill if you actually hate it?

First, change your mindset: 

If you call it the “dreadmill,” of course, you aren’t going to enjoy it. I should take this mentality with shopping and call it dreading…maybe I wouldn’t like that too.

Do a Workout You Couldn’t Normally Do:

Is your area hilly?  Use the treadmill to get a flat run in.  Or use the treadmill to run a more hilly run.  You can get a run that you aren’t ordinarily able too.

Last winter, I did several shorter workouts on the treadmill.  Having a treadmill forces you to run workouts at a certain pace. I don’t necessarily love that, but it is a lot easier to get a good feeling of what a pace feels like than trying to run it outdoors.   I remember doing 12X400s on a treadmill at 6:00-minute pace to see how it felt.

Find a Friend:

Most runners aren’t the same pace.  With a treadmill, you can both run at your respected speed but still run together.  It’s a great tool to catch up with friends, and both get a good run in.

Netflix and Run:

I won’t tell you how many TV shows or series I’ve binge-watched while running.  You can catch up on TV, the news or whatever and still get a run.  It’s a lot harder to watch TV and run outside.  These days, podcasts are all of the rage. I find it much easier to listen to a podcast inside versus outside.

The treadmill isn’t a bad training device.  Sadly, it does get a bad rep.

Questions for you:

Do you run on the treadmill?

What is your favorite treadmill workout?

Base Building Week 4: 5ks and Workouts

Base Building Week 4: 5ks and Workouts

Not everything went perfectly last week, but I was able to get quality training in.  There wasn’t anything of note, and it was uneventful, but some weeks (or probably most) you need it to be.  I’m just continuing to build mileage and base.

Monday: Easy 45 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 6X800s with 400 recovery (warmup/Cooldown=10)
Thursday: Easy 20-minute walk
Friday: Easy 70 minutes with Alexis
Saturday: 5k in 20:00.3 (total mileage 8)
Sunday: Long Run

My easy runs were just that, easy, and untimed. On Friday, I got to run with Alexis which was awesome to catch up.

Workout: 6X800s with 400 recovery (warmup/cool down=10 miles):

The workout itself didn’t feel good or bad. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but I was able to motivate myself to get out for the workout. I averaged 6:08 pace which is slightly faster than the previous week.

Saturday: 20:00.3 5k:

I had planned to run a local race, but due to weather, it was canceled. The race was no a frills, and it wasn’t that big of a deal or even that surprising. I knew I wanted to still get a hard effort in so I ran a 5k in my neighborhood.  There was no one to cheer, or run with, just me.

The workout itself is a big accomplishment for me because I struggle with pushing myself alone for workouts.  My splits were 6:27, 6:29, 6:26 for 20:00.  I pushed myself harder in the 5k than I have post marathon and 24 seconds faster than the 5k I did on Thanksgiving.

Long Run: 14 miles with 7 averaging 7:18

After a long day on Saturday, I woke up tired on Sunday. I knew it wouldn’t be my fastest long run ever.  Getting out there in the 42-degree rain wasn’t my favorite thing either.  It’s done and no need to look back.

In all, I’m happy with my week.  Next week will be about the same. There aren’t a lot of local races coming up, so I’ll just keep trucking along.

Posts from the Week:

Christmas Classic 5 Miler (32:46)

50 Half Marathons Later 

Questions for you:

How was your week of training?

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