Cold Weather Running, Why You Should Start!



Well… we are in for the long haul, the cold weather has settled in and winter is around the corner.

If you enjoyed running or walking outside all summer, maybe this is the year you add it to your winter routine as well.  There are numerous benefits to spending time and exercising outdoors in cold weather. Everything from burning extra calories and keeping off the holiday bulge, to keeping you happy. Here are a few reasons to start, or to continue, running in the snow this winter!

  • Calorie Burn: Cold weather causes your body to work harder to keep you warm, during a run this means more calories are spent than during the summer.  BONUS: this means you can work off all those holiday feasts faster!
  • You run faster and longer!: In the cool winter air, your body doesn’t have to spend energy cooling itself off, this means you don’t tire as quickly and can run for longer distances. You may run faster because you want to get back to your warm house… so you end up running faster.
  • Less crowded: There are usually far less people on the trails during the winter, this translates to a nice quiet run.
  • Bye-bye winter blues: There is evidence that depression levels peak during the winter months when people are holed up in their warm homes all winter. A run can increase endorphins, making you happy!
  • Treadmills be gone!: Running outdoors is far more engaging than staring at a basement wall while on your treadmill.  BUT; there IS such a thing as too cold to run. If it is minus 20 degrees outside, maybe consider an indoor track or opt for your treadmill during days you can’t get outside.

If you have decided to give winter running a go this year, here are a few important tips to make it as enjoyable as possible;

  • Wicking layers are important! Make sure the layer closest to the skin (this means long underwear and socks too) are materials that pulls sweat and water away from the skin, keeping you dry and warm during your run.
  • Layer up! Every 5 degree drop in temperature should mean adding layer to your running wear.
  • Waterproof shoes or shoes with as little mesh as possible will keep your feet dry and happy when running in the snow. Socks made for winter sports or running will wick water and keep your feet feeling dry as well.
  • Protect your extremities! You lose up to 40% of your body heat through the top of your head, which means a hat or toque can be the difference between a nice warm run and a grumpy cold run.
  • Stay hydrated, even though it doesn’t feel like you need water at -18 degrees you are still sweating and burning more calories than usual.
  • Try running with friends. Running in groups or pairs can be more enjoyable and keeps you accountable to meet up.
  • Change out of wet and cold clothing as soon as possible! Don’t get chilled or sick, when you come home take off your running gear put on some comfy dry clothes and make yourself a nice hot cup of something to drink.

There’s never a better time than now…. so start before winter really has a chance to set it! Good luck, stay warm, and have FUN!