Friday, November 10, 2017

5 Ways to Talk Yourself into Running Outdoors in the Winter

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
And the treadmill is not delightful,
Since we've no choice but to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...
 ~taking liberties with Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let it Snow by Sammy Cahn

Here we are again. The days are shorter and for most of us, the temperatures are cooler. It's that time of year when the weather turns cold, the trees have shed their leaves, and the sun hides behind the clouds. It's hard to roll out of that warm bed and face the day, much less go outside for a run.

In the summer, I have no problem waking up early for a run. But when it's cold out? Steph asked me if I want to run at 6:15 on Saturday with her. I know I should, but getting up and out the door in the dark and cold is soooooo hard..... (can you hear me whining?) Can we go later?

You guys know I'm a die-hard treadmill-hating outdoor runner. But even as much as I'll run outdoors no matter what the weather, it doesn't mean that I'm always raring and ready to go! In the dead and dark of winter, there's plenty of self-talk and convincing that needs to happen before the running does. Here are some of the things I tell myself to get up and out the door when I'm not feeling it.



The Alternative is the Treadmill
Ok, for those of you who love or at least tolerate the treadmill, telling yourself this might not be enough for you to convince yourself to head outdoors. It always works for me, though. Maybe if I had a fancy treadmill with all the bells and whistles to keep me entertained, I might be inclined to stay inside. My treadmill is 20 years old and I believe that it is on its last legs. The last time I ran on it--I think that was once last winter--it kept speeding up and slowing down as if it was doing its own intervals. Maybe it was trying to buck me off. The calibration is completely off so I have no idea how fast I'm running. Plus it's soooooo boring.

Maybe this could convince my hubs it's time to replace the old mill.
Running Outside is Entertaining
At least for me, aka Mrs Kravitz, there's always something to entertain me! Heck, this week at the pond while I was doing speedwork, there was a guy who I'm pretty sure lives in his car. So I thought about that for a while. I was a little unnerved on the bike path earlier this week when a cyclist rode by and greeted me by name. I have no idea who he was and I was able to pass several miles while I wracked my brain thinking about this. Besides all that, there is the beauty of outdoors, the change of the seasons, and the variety around you. Just make sure that you are visible to cars and that you are safe.

Motivation is everywhere outdoors....and so is bad spelling...
You Get Badass Points for Running in Bad Weather
No one is ever impressed by a treadmill run and then maybe only if it is a treadmill marathon. Ever run in a blizzard? I have. I was training for Big Sur, a spring marathon, and I needed to get in a 10 mile run. The treadmill was not an option (see #1). It was snowing fairly heavy so I donned my YakTrax (affiliate link) and did a 5 mile loop twice around the neighborhood. No one was out except for the snowplow drivers and my neighbors walking their Malamutes. The dogs were thrilled to see me. I completely enjoyed this run and I still think about it when I need to motivate myself to get out there. Before I go outside to run in the winter, I always check the weather, particularly the wind direction and make sure to head out into the wind, so I have it at my back on the way home.

Kisses from Yukon while Clarice gets jealous
Stoking the Calorie Burning Furnace
Even though running in the cold feels harder than running in more temperate conditions, you probably won't burn much more calories unless you are shivering. Which of course, you don't want to do because who would? Brrrr. Dress appropriately, in layers, with wicking fabrics. Don't overdress, but keep in mind that research shows that sweating in the cold can actually burn "brown" fat, which is the kind stored in your belly and thighs. Just make sure you're upping your effort. Then go home and refuel on something warm and comforting.


Not Running At All is Worse than Running Outside in the Cold
Think about that. My conditions for this week's speedwork were less than ideal. It was 38 degrees with a 20 mph wind out of the west. So while my intervals with the wind at my back were Shalane-like, when I looped around the pond and headed into the wind, it was like someone was pushing me backward. In fact, I stopped to walk and was going to quit until I slapped myself upside the head. Quitting isn't an option. Neither is DNSing a run because of the weather. You never regret a run, but you'll regret skipping it. Just go.



The other thing that I remind myself, especially this time of year is that we ain't seen nothin' yet. In a few months, these temperatures will feel balmy. Dig deep and just go! What's stopping you? You are tougher than any conditions. You got this.

Besides ice and thunder, are there any other conditions that keep you from running outdoors? What tips do you have for runners who need the motivation to run outside in less than optimal running conditions?

I'm linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday 5.0.














46 comments :

  1. You nailed it right off the bat - usually one treadmill run is enough to convince me to bundle up and get outside next time.

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    1. Great minds agree on that! I'd rather brave almost any conditions than run indoors.

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  2. I dread being banished to the treadmill for ice. I will run outside in all conditions and I usually can find someone from our group to go along. I find the cold air exhilarating!

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    1. I agree! There's something about the cold air and the natural light that just give me life.

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  3. Oh my, #1 is the major reason!!! I hate the treadmill so much and honestly can't remember the last time I was on it. I won't run in lightening, icy conditions, tornado warnings (yes, this actually must be said because I know runners who have) or winds with gusts like 20+ mph. My hood has lots of old trees so I don't want to get whacked with a branch and die.

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    1. I feel like I am in such good company with the treadmill dreadmill loathing!

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  4. OMG THOSE PUPPIES!!!!! I love them so much. Can I come snuggle? Mals are some of my favorite dogs ever. I wish I had one.

    Also, the treadmill sucks but I make do. Meh...

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    1. They are probably the nicest dogs I've ever met! Great owners.

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  5. As long as roads are safe, all I can say is JUST GO!

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    1. And even if they're a little dicey, still go!

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  6. While we don't get anywhere close to the brutal winter weather that you guys get, it does get pretty cold at times for us fair-weathered southerners. I can tolerate our cold, but not cold and windy ....I'll take the treadmill option as long as it's not longer than a 6 mile run. :) Hats off to you guys!!

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    1. We get a lot of wind in the change of seasons and winter. You just have to suck it up and go.

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  7. If I would run with puppies, I think I would run outdoors every day - so cute!!

    I always know that the first 1-2 miles will be horrible, especially when it's really cold, but I also know that eventually my body will heat up so thats how I get myself out the door when it's cold!

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  8. There is no one out there if you have to take a pee ;D

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    1. I used to think that...until I had to take a pitstop on the path! Even though I was well hidden, I spied some runners going by...

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  9. It's insanely windy today. And just a tad chilly. Plus a little white stuff spitting on & off.

    Now, I admit normally I would've taken it to the treadmill, but some strides were on the schedule, and it's really hard to do strides on the mill. And since I'm meeting a friend to swim midday, I just got out there & got it done.

    With the right gear, it's not so bad.

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  10. I hate my treadmill too and so far this year have hopped on it only to do a quick mile after a hiit workout. I was going to get up and run on it this morning (dark o'clock and 5 degree windchill is not acceptable) but instead I decided I would head to the gym. If it is light out, I will run in about any weather but if it is dark, I become much less tolerant. I keep telling myself that we only have a few weeks until the shortest day/longest night of the year and it will quickly get better for morning runs.

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    1. Your comment brought back the memory of me running at 4 am in the dark, cold, windy, snowy deep winter when my boys were young--I had to go before my husband left for work. I don't know if I have that in me anymore!

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  11. In Sc winter isn't a problem. My coldest runs are usually in the 30s but most often they are in the 50s. Summer is when it gets TOUGH.
    Funny how everywhere is so different.

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    1. I hear that from a lot of you southern folks!

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  12. It's that first step outside in the cold weather that is the hardest...once I convince myself to go out, I'm good. Also I rely on the What to Wear app from Runner's World. I don't think I could run more than a mile on the treadmill, honestly.

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  13. Yes, yes, yes! The hardest part is the first few steps but I never regret getting out :)
    and now I am have motivation to burn my brown fat lol

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  14. High-5, Sister! You know where I stand on winter running ;-) I think my dear old 'Milly might be one (or two, maybe) year younger than your treadmill. It operates (and shows the stats), but has ZERO bells or whistles (no video screens, etc.) so it's pure torture and b.o.r.i.n.g.

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    1. I probably should test out the mill before I'm forced to use it. What if it doesn't work anymore?

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  15. The winter in Texas is THE BEST time to run. It's the summer I struggle with haha.

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    1. You guys do have perfect winter running conditions!

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  16. "Not running at all is worse than running in the cold." That one makes sense to me. So what makes me not get out there (skating) or not want to get out there? Cold. Danger-- crappy ice with ruts or defects, too many beginnners on the ice. Yesterday when I went to pick up my freshly sharpened skates at my home rink, I thought about skating right then and there. But a) it was a public session (beginnners, though not that many of them, so still OK), b) it was extra cold and damp and c) they were fixing something in the ceiling and literally had a car on the ice hooked up to some kind of contraption. Not OK. BTDT when a different rink was changing light bulbs and screws were falling on the ice-- too dangerous. Not to mention the looky-lous not paying attention to where they are going because they're watching the repair. I drove to another rink and skated there. Too bad you don't have another outdoors-- oh hey, that's what those winter Florida races are about.

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    1. Those Florida races are my other outdoors, I guess!

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  17. Lots of great tips here! I don't mind short treadmill runs, but I definitely am not a fan of long runs on the treadmill - I'd much rather brave the cold/snow for those!

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  18. I always loved running outside in the winter when we lived back east. I miss it!

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    1. I don't mind it but here in Chicago, winter can linger on a bit too long.

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  19. In the winter I dread going outside for a run when I can hear the wind howling. I usually still get out there but its tough. I am having a hard time getting motivated this morning since its in the 20s out there!

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    1. I feel you--I"m sitting here drinking coffee and thinking about heading outside!

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  20. I feel exactly the same way! The only thing that motivates me to run in the cold is my thermal lined running pants and top! I loved them SO much and am tempted to wear them on every cold run but I have to remember that even wearing them when it is 40 degrees is being WAY over dressed. It has to be below 30 to wear them and be comfortable!
    I've run in the deep snow before when I was training for my first marathon. It is one of my best running memories!

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    1. That deep snow run made me feel really tough and ready to tackle anything!

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  21. I love running outside in the winter! I do make use of my treadmill too though!

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  22. I need this motivation! I'm such a wimp when it comes to cold weather. My treadmill has a nice tv set up in front of it with netflix so it's not that bad! lol!

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  23. I always have a hard time with it. Sometimes I can run outside in the cold weather and sometimes I cannot. Yesterday it was 27 degrees but I was dressed appropriately and ran 7 miles. However, I will think about it twice if there is too much ice.

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  24. I definitely don't miss running in the snow and cold weather, you are badass for sure for getting out there. I would take the cold over the treadmill though, I hate the treadmill.

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  25. #5 is me anytime I can't find motivation to go outside... I know I will always regret a run that was skipped.

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  26. I run out in the cold because someday I may be too old and frail to run at all and I will be thankful I did it when I could

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