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Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Reasons to Love Winter Runs

November 19, 2010

I just got back from a run outside.  For the record, Environment Canada says it’s currently -22 degrees Celcius (-7 F).  Luckily, there’s not much wind, so wind chill wasn’t really a factor tonight.  We got a bit of a storm yesterday and there’s fresh snow on the ground, but not everyone has got around to cleaning their sidewalks.  (Actually, I’m not sure that some of the sidewalks along parks and the sides of people’s houses will be cleaned all winter.)

Here’s what I looked like when I got back after my 26 minute run:

Now, you may be wondering why the heck I went out for a run when I could have stayed warm and dry while not triggering my cold-induced asthma by running inside on my treadmill.  Here’s why:

1) I hate the treadmill (“dreadmill”) generally, and ours in particular, since it’s sort of getting old.  The buttons are hard to press, one of the wheels that support the deck at the back keeps falling off, and it’s down in our unfinished basement – not a very pleasant environment.

2) Running through snow is kind of fun.  It kind of makes me feel like a kid.

3) When it’s cold out, I get to feel hard core. *two thumbs up*

4) The snow acts as an unstable surface – sort of like running in sand – so it makes for a great workout and helps build stabilizer strength.

5) There’s something a little bit magical about being outside at night when there’s fresh snow.  Even better is a calm night with light snow – the air sparkles.

6) By running across alternating sections of cleared sidewalk and ankle-deep snow, I get an automatic interval workout.

7) A hot bath after my run feels even better than usual.

I wasn’t quite sure what to wear out tonight because I’m a first-time winter runner, but I figured layers were the smart thing to do.  Up top, I piled on a tank, an ancient long-sleeved technical T, my favourite zip-up fleece, and a shell.  On my bottom half, I wore some running tights underneath a pair of 3/4 length tights, plus some Lululemon legwarmers.  A Windbloc fleece toque, neck warmer, and thin mitts rounded out the outfit.  It was pretty much the perfect amount of clothing.  My feet were kind of cold for the first half of my run, but they were good by the end.  If I decide to keep on running outside, though, I’ll have to consider buying some different shoes.

It was a good run.  I wore my Garmin, but didn’t look at it at all during my run.  I ran by feel rather than focusing on pace.

When I got home, I checked my stats.  My pace was slow, but my heart rate was up there.  To be expected with the snow, what with the lack of traction.

If you decide to go out for a winter run, you should be aware that there are risks associated with running when it’s cold out.  Check out this Runner’s World article for some safety tips.  (Tips that I should follow a little more closely myself, I think – haha!)

Enjoy your weekend, and do something that makes you happy!

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2010 11:55 pm

    It is cold like that where I am too!! It was -32 (c) with the wind today :-( Blah.

    Hope you weekend is great, and that it warms up!!

    • November 20, 2010 2:10 pm

      Yeah, I lived in Regina for 8 years and do not miss the constant wind. It was a bit windy here in Saskatoon during the day, but luckily it was calm when I went out. I will cross my fingers that it warms up sooner rather than later!

  2. November 20, 2010 7:44 am

    that is crazy and hardcore

    • November 20, 2010 2:12 pm

      haha – exactly what I was going for! I actually know some REALLY hard core runners who will be out there regardless of how cold it gets. Around here, that means below – 40 C with the wind chill. It’s all about the layers, I guess. I might hop on the treadmill when it’s THAT cold.

  3. stacey permalink
    November 20, 2010 8:41 am

    So crazy but awesome Jo! I have been wanting to run outside but haven’t since this crazy weather has started. Now you have got me thinking. Thanks for the motivation!

    • November 20, 2010 2:09 pm

      You’re welcome. :) I went and bought some trail runners today, but I think I’ll have to buy a few other key pieces, too, like thicker running tights. It was only -22 with no wind chill, and we both know it’ll get a lot colder than that, so I’d better make sure I have the right layers. Thanks for saying hi!

  4. November 20, 2010 2:18 pm

    WOW!! That is seriously cold! I will (try) not to complain any more about our “cold” weather here. :) Way to get out there! I would much rather run outside, too!!

    • November 20, 2010 2:30 pm

      It’s all about what you’re used to, really. That, and layers. I totally can’t handle running in the heat and humidity, though! You can always dress in layers for warmth, but you can’t really dress cooler. LOL

  5. November 21, 2010 9:54 am

    Oh my word lady, you have my envy and awe! I just can’t deal with having cold feet and/or terrain.

    Thank you for sharing the Runner’s World article, I wouldn’t have known where to start!

  6. November 25, 2010 4:29 am

    egads, let’s not talk about the cold, shall we? do you know how scared i am to return to Canada next month?? i’m coming from +27’in Sydney!! :S

    actually when i lived in Alberta, i used to ALWAYS go for walks in -30 degree weather. i’d wear (literally) 3 pairs of pants, 3 sweaters, 2 pairs of socks, plus my jacket/toque/mitts, and i LOVED it!! people said i was crazy, but ya know, i like to be “hard core”.:)

  7. December 6, 2010 8:16 am

    Love the pics! Way to brave the freezing weather!

  8. December 12, 2010 9:51 am

    I totally agree with number 3! That “hardcore” feeling has gotten me out the door a few times! Of course, Mid-Atlantic US cold probably doesn’t compare to Canadian cold ;).

  9. January 7, 2011 10:02 am

    Hey! I just found your blog! love it!

    Question – I am a very new runner… have tried some in the past but it was always so hard for me (lungs not in good shape??) so I never pushed myself (got bored easily too)…but I am now training to run a 2 person relay with my hubby in March. Anyways, it hasn’t been nearly as cold as it is where you are but it was cold last week (ehh, 30s or 40s?) anyways, I don’t know if my lungs hurting was being in not good shape or if I have some sort of cold-induced asthma. When I went for a run yesterday, it was really nice (around 60 F) and my lungs didn’t hurt at all. Not sure after a few good runs, they are getting in better shape or if they hurt because of this cold-induced asthma?? How will I know?

    • January 7, 2011 6:06 pm

      Not sure I can answer this for you. If you’re concerned, I’d say consult your physician. Good luck with the training!

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