5 Ways to Keep Your Running Spirit Animal Alive this Winter

By Katie Merrill and Marc Almanzan, wintah runners through the polar vortex of 2014

1. Wear Bright and Neon Colors- Marsala may be the color of the year (that’s really a thing?) but don’t try to rock that style on your runs this winter. When the sun isn’t even up until 7am, and by 4 o’clock it’s already dark, choose crossing-guard colors to make sure you get noticed.  Nothing says hott like a neon orange vest.

He's ready to be seen.

He's ready to be seen.

2. Drink up! – We all know that a good stiff drink can warm you from the inside out, but that’s not the kind of burn we are talking about here. Even though its cold out and you may feel like you are sweating less on your outdoor runs, runners still need to hydrate. Cold weather can dry you out (just check out the alligator skin on your hands and elbows) and people are naturally inclined to drink less when it’s chilly.

3. Refocus your goals- Running a tempo workout outdoors on ice can be a) dangerous and b) frustrating.  Similarly, planning to run a 13-mile long run the same weekend a snowstorm is coming may leave you disappointed, stressed out, and covered in snow. Rather, be flexible and think about effort rather than pace or distance. Running on snow, against the wind, in cold temps is already a hard enough workout, without also getting down on yourself for not meeting expectations.  Instead enjoy the snow and feel like a badass for getting out there.

4. Dress for success. – Would you ever go to a nice family party in denim cutoffs and a metallic mesh shirt? No, because you would look and feel silly. (Well, maybe that depends on your family…) Similarly, dressing for winter running is a smart thing to think about. You want to stay warm and dry so that you can enjoy your run.  Multiple layers are a good idea, as well as thinking about skin coverage. Investing in a buff or balaclava, or even a good scarf to run in, can greatly help increase your comfort level on a run. Wool is also a good choice, for socks especially. It retains heat, even when wet; something that cotton does not do. Think about wearing a hat and gloves or even mittens, to protect your extremities too.

Baaaahhhhhd-ass cold weather gear.

Baaaahhhhhd-ass cold weather gear.

5. Be bold, be brave. – Remember that 99% of the battle is just getting dressed up and out the door. Inertia can be hard to beat, especially when you are warm and toasty inside, and its friggin cold, windy, and dark outside. But when was the last time you got in from a run and thought, “Man, I really regret doing that?” Not likely. So suck it up, and get moving. Chances are once you’re warmed up and running you won’t even notice the snot freeze in your nose.

Remember too that, like all things, winter is temporary. The warm sun of spring will shine again, and you will be thankful you didn’t give up on running when racing season comes back around. Finding friends to run with to keep your mind off the cold during the winter is also a big help (ahem, Forest Hills Runners), so lace up and get down with winter- we’ll see you out there!

Winter Running Friends: Hugs and snot rockets galore!

Winter Running Friends: Hugs and snot rockets galore!

- Each week we will be updating this blog with personal stories from fellow runners, race recaps, training tips, recipes, and more! If you are interested in becoming a blog contributor, please contact Katie Merrill at merrill.kathryn@gmail.com for more information. And remember, as Owen says, Be Amazing! -

Posted on January 5, 2015 .