F'N Runners
Bring it on, winter!

Many of the runners I know embrace winter running. Some of my running club friends are already posting pictures from today’s snowy runs.

But I know of a few runners who are scared of winter running. (I’ve seen yours posts on Daily Mile and on your blogs, don’t try to hide!)

I don’t know if it’s a fear of the unknown, or lack or preparation, or just generally being a wimp (sorry, calling you out). Why resign yourself to spending a third of the year indoors on the treadmill? Personally, I can’t think of anything worse.

I feel like it is my duty, as a pro-winter runner, to try to encourage everyone to step away from the treadmill, throw on a couple layers, and head outdoors. Why?

1. You will feel hardcore. I know it’s simple and silly, but it’s true. While everyone else complains about just walking outside to their cars in this weather, you are intentionally spending extra time outdoors, in the freezing temps and harsh conditions. I guarantee you will feel slightly more like a badass than you did before the run.

Tell me this doesn’t look awesomely peaceful.
Source: TooTallFritz.com

2. It’s peaceful. Everyone’s inside. The screaming children and barking dogs are (mostly) inside. Even if you live in the city, you can usually escape to a park or running path and have only the ambient city noise. Personally, I don’t run with music [outdoors], and I find running in silence or near-silence to be a great way to clear my head. And if it’s snowing (but not too windy)? It’s even more amazing.

3. It prepares you for race day. Even if all of your races are between April – October, you never know what weather you will have. I’ve seen snow in May in Chicago, and also as early as mid-October. If you continue training outside all year, you will be ready for whatever the weather is like on race day.

4. It (usually) doesn’t smell. Luckily my current gym doesn’t smell too bad, but I’ve been a member at some pretty crowded gyms that have the gross, sweaty, recycled air smell. When you’re outside, you’re breathing fresh air, and it usually smells fine. (Yes, sometimes you run past something that doesn’t, but it’s fleeting.) Speaking of the gym, you can avoid the resolution crowds by ditching the gym to run outside.

5. It’s really not that bad. I promise. You just need to learn how to layer properly. If you do, once you get moving, it doesn’t feel cold. It actually feels really great. And you won’t overheat or sweat as much as you will at the gym.

Now, I’m not saying you should throw all reason out the window. I take it indoors in the following conditions:

  • If the roads, sidewalks and trails are icy. (I don’t own Yaktrax.) During the day you can run on quiet streets after they’ve been plowed, but it’s tricky at night when you can’t always see the icy patches. (Don’t forget to wear your reflective gear/lights/headlamps when running at night, even on sidewalks.)
  • If a blizzard is happening. If visibility is low, cars and snow plows can’t see you. Even with reflective gear and blinking lights, that’s not safe.
  • If the wind chill is below zero. There’s cold, and then there’s dangerous.
  • If it’s raining (more than a drizzle). I don’t mind being cold, and I don’t mind being wet if it’s warm, but I don’t like being both cold and wet. This is the one weather condition where I’m not afraid to let my friends be more hardcore than me.
In other news, Kelly discovered that the official photos from our last race are up. While there are no pictures of us running (or finishing almost together), we seemed to be unintentionally photobombing a lot of people … whoops. Here are some highlights:
I’m in the fuchsia/paaaank.
With Kelly in the blue vest.
On the right. Me, Kelly in blue vest, Kate in gray vest
I’m sure what is happening here is me saying
“Hey we’re wearing similar outfits, let’s be friends!”
HEY GUYS I HAVE SHOES ON!