It’s only cold when you are standing still.
Often times I go outside late at night in my pajamas to let my dog out. It is so blistering cold out there some nights, especially this past week. In this weather I run back inside so fast that a neighbor may have easily thought I was being chased. Then I stop and think about the fact that I have to get up and run in this weather! Honestly a little bit of dread sets in, then I have to remind myself that its only cold when I stand still. This has been an extremely cold few days which makes for some very frigid, early morning runs. Let me first say that I do love running in the cold, I’d choose it over hot and humid weather any day, especially for a race. However, for me, it is ten times as hard to get out of bed. (I admit that lately I set a minimum of 4 alarms on my iphone and I snooze at least two of them.) Sometimes before I get out of bed I fold my blanket down over my dog and he just lays there snoring. I am green with envy that he not only gets to sleep but he has not a care in the world. Usually once I make it to the bathroom I am good to go, but in the winter I shudder again when I open the front door! I thought I would share some simple ways that I stay motivated in the winter, as well as some must have winter running apparel that I love! There are a million articles out there about running in the cold, especially this time of year. I’m going to try to keep this one super simple. Everyone has a different tolerance level for the cold, I tend to be hot natured. I think that having the right core pieces for a winter running wardrobe is essential.
There are 3 main ways I get myself out of bed for those freezing cold, dark morning runs. The first thing I do is I set goals. Setting goals can be as simple as trying to improve your pace or increase your mileage a certain amount. Another good goal is to register for a spring race that forces you to train through the winter. I run a race in April every year, it forces me to get out of bed during the cold months so I don’t fall behind on my training. I love the Nike Running App. I downloaded it at the beginning of this year and it has transformed my goal setting capabilities. It gives me my pace and distance and it saves all of my runs so I can look back over my progress. I absolutely love seeing my average pace and knowing whether I am pushing myself hard enough. It has without a doubt been essential to helping me beat my best times this year and helped me requalify for the Boston Marathon. It’s the perfect way to set goals of all sizes and visually see your accomplishments.
The second thing is I try to plan to meet a friend for at least part of my run a few times a week , accountability is key. Nobody wants to stand a friend up, especially at 4:30 in the morning! I meet a good friend of mine a few days a week for part of my run, and some days even ask her to text me when she wakes up. (Just in case its one of those mornings that I am blindly swatting at my alarm). Some mornings 4:15 comes a little too fast. I have been fortunate to have different friends to run with through the years. The days when I run alone, I try to download new music and create new playlists. Like I have said before, music is a huge part of my running, it is incredibly motivating. New music keeps running fresh and helps me get out there (and stay out there) on those cold mornings.
Lastly, I check the weather and plan ahead to be sure I wear the right clothes for the right temperatures. I set all of my clothes out at night, socks and gloves included. Overdressing can be just as miserable as underdressing. The right winter gear is vital to enjoying running this time of year. I can make my winter running wardrobe functional with 5 basic items (plus accessories such as gloves and hats). I have a good half zip, a good long sleeve shirt, warm long pants, capri pants, and a longer length dri fit tank. Regardless of the temperature, I always start my layering with a fitted, longer length tank. It helps keep a breeze from coming through the outer layers! This Nike Legend Tank is one of my favorites.
There are days when a tank and a half zip are enough, but if its in the low 30’s or colder, I wear a long sleeve over the tank as well. My new Asics Thermopolis 1/2 Zip is without a doubt my favorite one I have had. It is functional, stylish, and the material is heavenly! I highly recommend it.
Some mornings when its not quite as cold (about 40 and above for me) I am warm enough in capris. A good fit on capri running pants can be hard to find, these Nike Legend Slim Poly Capris are definitely my go to.
Of course accessories such as gloves, socks, and hats are also important when it is extremely cold! I love the new Nike gloves from Sport Seasons that have the thumb pads that work with my iphone so I can navigate through my music and my Nike Running App. You have to have the right gear so that you are encouraged to not only get out there in the cold, but stay out there once you start! Investing in core pieces is a great way to start. Running in the winter months is not always easy, but it is more enjoyable when you are prepared.
Running in the cold actually has a many benefits to it as well. It prevents winter weight gain, boosts mood,and combats seasonal depression which can be common when the days are shorter. Another good benefit? Well bathing suit season can sneak up on us all and waiting until it is here to get in shape can be tough! Running in the winter will have you prepared when the warm weather hits. Although it is without a doubt so much harder to get out of a warm bed to go run in the cold, it is 100% worth it! Getting up and getting out there is the hardest part. So set some goals, plan to meet a friend, and invest in the right gear that will keep you warm this winter.
“Nobody said that it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it” – Anonymous