I’m not entirely sure if I’ve earned my Canadian stripes because speaking honestly, I truly don’t enjoy winter. Maybe it’s that I’ve had far too many experiences of trying to warm numb fingers and toes while on a ski lift in treacherous weather. It could also be partially my lack of enthusiasm for the season when driving in white-out conditions. Whatever the reason, when the snow flies, I find myself setting google flight alerts to tropical countries. This winter, though, with no warm-weather vacations on the horizon, I’ve decided to tough it out. In doing this, I’ve needed to be creative with my training leading up to my spring marathon. I’ve instigated a few habits and I have to say, it has become almost enjoyable this far. Here are a few tricks I’ve been using this winter:
I make cold weather rules
I have a personal rule where I just won’t run outside if it is colder than -20C or if there’s a lot of ice on the ground. Some may call me a wimp and others may question why I don’t set my metric to less cold. I found that to be the temperature where I cross an invisible line between feeling happy to enjoy the fresh air to feeling miserable and cold. You can find me sipping hot chocolate or giving kudos to others on Strava for doing what I will not.
I get creative with my long run
I am prepping for a marathon so I do need to be mindful of getting in some distance. On long run days when it is a bit chillier than I would like, I break it up. Recently, I ran 5K to a local gym, did a 10K effort on the treadmill with some marathon pace efforts and then I ran home. This way, I could fit in a decent long run and was able to thaw out midway through.
I focus on the small things
Whether it’s a small stone in your shoe or headphones that only play out of one earbud, the tiniest things can drive a runner crazy. Things I do to make my winter running more comfortable include waterproofing my shoes with a spray and wearing warm, sweat-wicking socks to keep my feet warm and dry. I run with lip balm because chapped lips are awful when there’s a headwind and I put extra moisturizer on my face. I know some runners also use Vaseline or coconut oil to protect their face as well. A final word on this is to invest in hand and feet warmers if you’re going to run in extremely cold weather.
I keep my cell phone warm
If you have a phone that’s crafted in warmer climates, it will most likely malfunction if it gets too cold. I put mine in a waterproof carrier and either run with it in my sports bra or in a pocket close to my body. There’s nothing worse than needing to make a call and having your phone die because of a cold battery.
I run with people
Winter running can feel a bit bleak alone. I love running with my local running club or meeting a friend for some early morning miles. Even if you do find yourself out running on a bitterly cold day, there’s nothing better than having someone beside you to reinforce your decision to face the winter.
Until the weather thaws, you can find me on Instagram at @lacesandlattes and on my personal blog.