This winter I’ve been avoiding getting a gym membership because it doesn’t really fit into our budget. This works out fine for me normally because I can run and bike outside (I just can’t swim if I’m triathlon training). G and I have also been going to the gym at Trinity for free since he’s an alum. It’s just a little far and inconvenient for me since I have to go when he goes.
Luckily I’ve found a small indoor track I can run at for free when I run after work, but I’ve also started my first season of winter running. I never used to run outdoors in the winter if it was below 40 degrees (unless it was for a fall race), but with the mild winter we’re having I decided to be tougher and run. The Runner’s World “What Should I Wear?” tool is really helpful in helping to decide what to wear when running in certain temps and weather. You can put in the temperature, add in the wind factor and how you like to feel when you run (warm, cold, in-between) and they show you exactly what to wear!
Running in colder temps actually hasn’t been that bad. It’s nice because you actually don’t get overheated like you would in warmer weather. I haven’t been brave enough to go out when there was light snow on the ground, but I’ve actually started doing some short, easy runs during my lunch breaks at work. I never used to run during lunch at work either, but it’s the warmest part of the day (usually) and it’s still light outside, so I’ve taken advantage of it. Plus I don’t get home as late so my husband’s not waiting so long for dinner. Tyndale also has a shower in one of the bathrooms so I can rinse off too, if needed.
We’ve also been blessed this winter with incredibly mild weather up until now. There hasn’t been any significant snowfall until last week and we even had 50-degree days in January! I didn’t have to worry about slipping and falling on ice and I actually ran in shorts and a t-shirt. It felt like Spring. Unfortunately, winter is officially upon us now. I haven’t ventured outside to run yet, but I’m planning on going out this weekend for a “long” run (6 miles). I wouldn’t call myself a “Winter Warrior” (yet), but I can definitely see how running outdoors through the winter is possible now.
Some tips for those who want to run in the winter but haven’t tried it yet:
- Don’t overdress. Your body will warm up when you start running. The guide I use is if you walk outside and feel chilled, but not enough so that you’re shivering, then you’re good to go. I’ve run outside in 20-degree weather with tights, long sleeve Under Armour, a t-shirt and shorts over the tights & UA, headband to cover my ears, gloves, and a vest. That was enough.
- Layers are key. Layers are great for winter running because they’re easy to shed if you discover that you overdressed. Once I ran in 30-degree weather with my jacket and quickly realized that I was too warm. I ended up wearing the jacket around my waist and shedding my gloves. That’s when I discovered that 30 degrees isn’t too bad for running.
- Hydrate! It’s still important to stay hydrated when you run in the winter. It may be colder, but the air is drier. So bring that water bottle along–especially for those longer runs.
Currently I’m working on building up my running base again. Half marathon training officially starts next month!