As the year winds down (yes, I know we have two full months of 2017 to go!) I am already trying to convince myself to keep running throughout the winter. I made myself that promise last year, and with the brutal Chicago weather, I totally wimped out. I am one of those runners who doesn’t mind running in the heat and humidity at all. In fact, I prefer it to running in the cold. Especially the damp cold. I really hate having to wear multiple layers when I run. Once I start to sweat, I experience a bone-chilling cold that I just can’t seem to shake. Looking back at my Garmin data from 2016, I didn’t do as badly as I remember, but still, I didn’t hit my goals.
One of the best motivators to me to keep running throughout the year is to sign up for races. However, signing up for winter races in the Chicago area can be very tricky. My son and I signed up for the early-April Chi-Town Half Marathon last year thinking we would be okay. It sleeted overnight the night before the race, and we woke up to 27 degrees and a sheet of ice on the ground. My son wanted to bail all together, but I convinced him we should go and after witnessing runner after runner wiping out, we decided to hang a left and turn our half into a 10K. Wise decision, but we both decided that would be the last time we’d sign up for an early spring race in Chicago. And as for winter racing in the Windy City? Not a chance.
I have just one more race scheduled for this year–the Ragnar South Beach in Florida two weeks from now. I won’t even be able to run the annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day because I will be working. So how do I stay motivated to run throughout the winter? I do actually have a very nice treadmill, but I would much rather run outside than be stuck indoors. A quick Google search yielded a few great tips, the best of which I found is to remember that winter running is not about speed but rather, about maintenance. Not having specific time goals will certainly help.
In their 2016 article titled 10 Tips to Make Winter Running Less Miserable, runner’s World published these great tips for how to layer for winter running:
Assume you always wear gloves or mittens and a hat.
30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm. Tights (or shorts, for polar bears).
10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. A jacket over your base layer, and wind pants over the tights.
0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Windbrief for the fellas.
Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.
Minus 20 degrees: 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses. Or, says Arribas, “Stay inside.”
I especially love the advice to stay inside!
But seriously…how do you stay motivated to run in the dead of winter, especially in very cold climates? I’ll take any and all tips and words of wisdom!