Good Content from: Sarah Canney, Trail Running Expert
As a runner in New England, I’ve made peace with the cold months and found ways to get the miles in even when the temperatures drop. So much so, that I guess you could say I embrace it — and it has become my thing. It hasn’t always been that way. I used to live in Arizona and that first winter back in New England was a shock to my system. Living in a town with no gym and with no access to a treadmill, I was forced outside in snow, ice and freezing rain. My perspective shifted and over the course of that winter, I grew fond of the harsh conditions.
Everyone has a different tolerance for winter running, but with the right gear and the willingness to go for it, maybe you too can find the joy in running through the colder months.
I always set out my clothes the night before based on the predicted hourly temps and, as I do, I spend some time visualizing getting up early, putting on my gear, walking out into the cold and starting to run. I think about the satisfied feeling I’ll have finishing the run. Maybe there will be fresh snow or a stunning winter sunrise? And I will, of course, be coming home to a nice hot cup of coffee. Maintaining a sense of adventure around running in adverse conditions can help shift your mindset and make the run more enjoyable.
Having the right gear can make a huge difference in your comfort level on winter runs. Consider your effort level: are you headed out for an easy run or a workout? The higher the intensity of your run, the fewer layers you’ll need. Conversely, if you’re running at an easy pace, you’ll want to make sure you have enough layers to stay warm. Since fingers and toes tend to be the most vulnerable to cold, things like the Inferno Merino Wool Blend Sock and the Ulti-Mitt are essential.
One of the biggest concerns for runners in the winter is traction. Snow and icy conditions can create slippery surfaces that, if you’re not prepared, could result in a fall. Use your best judgement when heading out, adjust your pace, slowing down to account for less-than-ideal footing and opt for trail shoes. The customizable Mad River trail shoe allows you to easily add screws to the bottom of your shoes, providing increased traction in any conditions winter throws your way.
Adjust Your Run
When the temperatures drop into the single digits, I stay closer to home by running loops and out-and-backs around the neighborhood. This allows me to loop back for an extra layer if necessary or I’ve even hopped inside for a minute or two to warm-up and then headed back out again. A run and some time spent outside can impact your day in a positive way, even if it is brief.
Whenever my motivation to run in cold weather waivers, I reach out to my running friends and ask them to meet up. Having the accountability of a group gets me out on mornings when I might skip the run for a cozy spot on the couch and another cup of coffee. Consider organizing a regular group run throughout the winter, log your miles together and then grab coffee after. Creating new traditions with friends can give you something to look forward to and keep you running through the winter.
Photography: Raya on Assignment