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6 ways to keep running fun this winter

Don't let the cold temperatures and short days stop you from enjoying your favourite activity

Whether you like it or not, winter has arrived and won’t be going anywhere for the next several months. Cold, snow, ice and lack of daylight can make running feel more like a chore this time of year, so if your motivation is starting to drop with the temperature, follow these tips to keep it fun and help you get out the door this winter.

Get a running buddy

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Having a running buddy is great no matter what time of year it is, but in the winter, a reliable partner in crime is crucial. When it’s already dark at 4 p.m., knowing someone will be waiting for you to head out on a run will help you overcome the temptation to curl up on the couch instead. Better yet, now is a great time to join a group of runners. That way, if one of your running friends has to bail, you’ve got others to run with so you don’t have to go alone.

Having a group to run with during the winter is also a good safety precaution, since running alone in the dark can be risky for some runners, particularly women.

Warm-up inside

Stepping out into the cold feels a lot better when you’re already warm before you even get out there. Try doing a few jumping jacks, some walking lunges, high knees and butt kicks inside to build up a bit of body heat so the cold air feels more refreshing or welcome. Just be careful not to get too sweaty, which can ultimately make you colder if your clothing or skin gets too wet.

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Run in the daylight as much as possible

winter running

Running when the sun’s out is more pleasant than in the pitch black. This is especially true in the winter, when the sun can provide at least a little bit of warmth during the day. Most people working a nine to five job will have no choice but to run in the dark, but whenever possible, schedule your runs during the daylight hours. Winter is a great time to get on board with lunchtime runs, because you’re less likely to get as sweaty in the cold, but if you’re working from home, this is a great way to squeeze your run into your schedule before the sun goes down.

Dress for it

A great way to ensure you don’t enjoy your winter run is under-dressing for it. Make sure you layer appropriately, have something warm for your head and hands, and wear good shoes to avoid slipping on the snow and ice. Not sure if your wardrobe is ready for winter? Check out our winter clothing guide to make sure you have what you need.

Stop worrying about your stats

When the weather gets nasty, stop worrying about your distance, speed or any other data that you might normally track on a run. Some studies suggest that training in extreme heat or cold can cause a decrease in performance. Throw poor footing from ice and snow into the mix, and your stats are likely going to look different than what you’re used to. During the winter months, if all you can manage is a 30 minute run through the snow, or you have to slow your pace down because of the conditions, don’t sweat it. Managing your expectations is key to enjoying the season.

Hop on the ‘mill

GIFs that accurately describe winter running

Sometimes, you’re better off surrendering to the weather and staying inside — especially if you’re training for a race and you need to do a bit of speedwork. If you have a treadmill at home or if you have access to a gym, now’s the time to use it. Apps like Zwift can make an hour on the treadmill less boring, but at the very least, you can throw on your favourite tunes and enjoy running in shorts and a t-shirt for a little while.