Running When the Temperature Drops

greenland 12We’ve all seen the news: an Arctic chill blasted Canada and Alaska and the bitter cold swiftly made its way into the continental U.S. Although it remains comfortably in the fall season on my calendar, the outdoor temperatures make it feel like the middle of winter. I’m trying to maintain a positive attitude and look forward to running in wintertime. Here are a few reasons why:

I burn more calories. While running causes a calorie deficit, running while freezing really burns off those Thanksgiving pies. The body works harder when it’s cold, which in turn, makes a six-mile run burn an extra Christmas cookie.

The gym is less crowded. Until New Year’s, when everyone joins a gym to reach their resolution goals, the gyms stay relatively empty. This means open treadmills. When it is just too cold to run outside, I will take to the treadmill to rack up a little mileage. While it’s not ideal for me, I much prefer outdoor running, in the wintertime I don’t have to wait in the dreaded line for a machine. I can work out in hot, sweaty gym and still get in a run and not have to stand around hoping one opens.

Cute apparel. I’m used to sports bras and running shorts; they get plenty of use. In the winter, I dig out my nice running jackets, matching hat and gloves, and long running pants. It’s the fashionista in me that loves this whole new wardrobe that comes with the seasonal change. Just as I love reaching into the back of my closet to pull out my purple winter coat with the silver lining, I love wearing my pink running jacket and black cap. No one notices but me, but hey, I feel good and that’s all that matters.

Christmas lights. While Thanksgiving has come to a close and the turkey leftovers are in the pit of my stomach, houses all around decorate for the holidays. I love taking my run off my normal six-mile path and discovering new streets lined with tinsel and glowing lights. Some homes even play loud music from speakers wired to the outside. This gives me a little more pep to my step. The lights give me something new to enjoy from the darkness of the neighborhoods.

What do you love about cold-weather running?  Whatever the reason, happy running!

Running in the Rain

I try talking to the man about the weather, but he never listens. Typical man. The weather reports haven’t been too kind of as late, which isn’t surprising. It is winter and how I long for a little friendlier weather for my long runs. But I vowed to keep a more positive attitude for 2013–one of my new year’s resolutions. Thus, I decided to take my long run outdoors this weekend on a not-so-pleasant rainy day. With my new-found happiness and avoidance of all-things negative, I discovered a few reasons to love running among the clouds and rain.

New sounds to hear. Because of the devastation I would feel if my iPod suffered any destruction, I left my not-so-waterproof iPod at home in my gym bag. Instead, I just listened to the drops on the street, the spray coming from the cars as they drove through the puddles and my feet making slushing sounds. While not exactly Rihanna and Pink, the sounds of nature were a welcomed change to my run. I loved hearing the light drops change to torrential rain.

A new route to run. Because of all the puddles, I couldn’t exactly run through the streets like I usually do. My typical six-mile route suffered from record-breaking waterfall and now found itself covered in mud pits and three-inch puddles. Rather than brave blisters, I took to the sidewalk on a new path. Because of this, I got to watch older men try to play a game of golf in a downpour (which was very entertaining) and bikers take a spill while peddling through the street (not so entertaining…actually kind of sad and I stopped to help.) New views always added a little something extra to my run that sometimes felt rather monotonous–and I have Mother Nature to thank for it.

Finding hilarity in my run. Running through pounding rain is both ridiculous and incredibly enjoyable at the same time. I found tremendous joy in the heavy rain hitting my head and drowning me with each step. One car driving by actually slowed down to ask if I needed help. “No,” I said and continued on laughing my way back home. I looked insane and in desperate need of a towel, but I wouldn’t take it back. I felt like a kid again going outside and just playing in the rain.

I encourage you to take your run outdoors even in inclement weather. Is it snowing? Find peace and zen in the run with the silent snowfall. Is it raining? Jump through puddles and come back home muddy.