Monday, November 5, 2012

10 Tips to Shut Up and Run in the Cold

It is 4:50 p.m. and almost dark. WAH. I know this is payback for the bright sunlight I saw at 7:00 a.m. this morning. Let’s face it - I just like the longer days of summer. Motivation comes easy when it is warm, sunny and inviting outside. 

I am one that likes to train through the winter time. Hell, I like to train all the time, which is probably why I am 2 for 7 in the injury department. For me, there is something very satisfying and refreshing about a cold crisp run. There is nothing like the peacefulness of a snowy run or a hot bath after my butt cheeks have been frozen solid out on the trails.

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As we creep into winter, here are some tips to keep motivated despite the plunging temperatures:

1.  Be grateful: Stop your whining and remember that you can run. You get to run. There are many people too sick, disabled or injured to do what you are complaining about. Some people would kill to go just one mile in your frozen shoes. So, adjust your attitude fool!

2. Know that cold is easier than hot: Running in the cold can actually be less taxing on your body than running in the heat. Your body doesn’t have to work as hard to cool down and this can increase performance and energy.

3. Sleep in your clothes: If you are really desperate, sleep in your running tights and base layer. That way you don’t have to go through the extra step of getting undressed and dressed in the morning. You might get up easier, but I’m not promising this will do wonders for your sex life.

4. Get the right gear: Not only should you make sure you’ve got the correct cold weather gear for your climate (see HERE for some guidelines), but treat yourself to a new, fun, sassy running item (thongs might be inadvisable). Maybe this will make getting dressed and hitting the road a bit easier.

5. Have someone waiting on you: I’ve said it before, but there is almost no better motivation than to know someone or a group is waiting for you to show up for a run. Do you really want to be the pussy of the group?

6. Have a warm reward: Know that after your cold run, you will treat yourself to something toasty and warm like a latte, a hot bath or a cup of tea by the fire.

7. Remember the bad-ass effect: Not everyone runs when it’s cold outside. It takes stamina, balls and determination. Tell yourself that every car that passes you is impressed by your fortitude. You may be lying to yourself, but at least it can provide temporary motivation.

8. Know you’ll be less SAD: Research has shown that running in the cold can actually reduce symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Running can release feel good hormones that stave off depression, decrease anxiety and promote a general feeling of contentment.

9. Let your goal stare you in the face: If you are training for something, want to lose weight, or are simply just trying to stay in shape, write your goal down on a sticky note and put it on your alarm clock or bathroom mirror. Sometimes these little powers of suggestion can be the extra push you need.

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10. Sign up: There are all kinds of short races throughout the winter time – Peppermint Schnapps 10Ks and Freeze Your Ass Off 5 Milers. Sign up for one just to keep your head in the game.

Do you like or despise running in the cold?

Any cold weather running tips or ways to stay motivated?

Do you train outside all winter long?

SUAR

84 comments:

  1. What do you suggest as far as safety precautions when running in the dark?

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    1. I don't run in the dark, but there are some good tips here: http://running.competitor.com/2011/11/training/seven-safety-tips-for-running-in-the-dark_40694

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    2. Thanks for the link. I'm in an area that's high traffic and kindof dangerous at night (not the best of areas). I think that's the only thing missing from this piece. I carry a little strap-on (yeah, I said it) of mace just as an extra precaution. My running park didn't get the reputation as a rape park for just selling lemonade. But otherwise, good tips. I didn't think about the hat.

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    3. I do laps around my block. I live at the back of a quiet subdivision, so I don't see a single car or person. It's mindnumbing and boring, but it's safe. Sometimes the only time I can get my runs done is to get up at 4:30, so as much as I would like to not run in the dark without access to a treadmill and with a fulltime job and two kids, it's my only choice. If you have an option or an area like this, I would suggest it. In some ways, it's improved my running because I've learned to just zone and put my legs on autopilot a lot more than I was able to do in the past.

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    4. Erin, I'm with you. I live in a neighborhood that's a grid of 4 streets by 4 streets and when it's dark, I just zig-zag around the local streets. One could say it's boring, but I get into a zone and honestly, it's one of my favorite ways to run. It's relatively quiet as far as vehicular traffic, but just in case, I found this cool Nike hat that's made entirely of reflective material. It must look like a glowing hat floating down the street to the oncoming traffic.

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    5. Oh, and P.S., I love running in the cold--I overheat very easily when it's above 60 degrees, so as long as I layer appropriately, I'd much rather run in winter.

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    6. ILLUMINATE yourself! I use a headlamp, flashing armbands, a xinglet reflective vest and clip a flashing LED light to the back of my vest so I can be seen coming and going. I also wear white and/or bright clothing. It's not exactly fashion forward (in fact the fashion police would like to throw me in jail I am sure) but I do light up like a flashing sign post at night. For wild animals and people (neither of which I have encountered other than some aggressive turkeys) I carry bear spray, which you can get at many sports/outdoors stores or at gun stores, or you can get some handheld pepper spray at many running stores or online. I also carry a phone for emergencies. And of course nothing beats having a running partner or two to stave off a vivid imagination when running in the dark. The biggest safety tip I can personally offer is "be aware".

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    7. I don't know how many dancing leaves skipping in the wind across the asphalt that I maced thinking it was a dog......

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  2. I live in Florida...none of this really applies here.

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    1. Yep, me too. However, I grew up in Colorado, so, I dream of those cool, crisp, or even cold morning runs, especially in the crazy humid Florida summers! I think people that live in cooler, less humid climates, are faster than us hot, humid folks. At least that's what I tell myself everytime I try to break that elusive, sub 2:30 half marathon time. See I told ya...heat =slow!

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    2. I am running in Orlando on Saturday night, what are you waering now to run? Just so I pack the right stuff.

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    3. Live in Mexico and our winters are Beth's summers but They're Still Fucking Cold and No, there is no heat here either. So when it gets cold we go get in the car and turn on the heater. :) I refuse to do anything in the cold and will even forgo the still waters of the early morning for the chop and wind of the after noon because ain't NOTHING getting my ass in the water when the thermometer is below 30 (Celsius).

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  3. I LOVE cold weather running until it gets below 20 degrees, anything below 10 and it's treadmill time for me!

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  4. I don't like running in the cold. I have a hard time breathing- my lungs just don't like cold air!
    That said, I do want to run a couple holiday races this year, so I am really trying to get outside when the weather is decent. I have invested in some warmer running clothes, so maybe there is a chance for me! If not, the treadmill is always on stand-by!

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  5. I did train outside all of last winter in NC. And will definitely do it again this winter in Arizona. But the cold weather is harder due to asthma. I make sure I have my inhaler and something around my neck that can be pulled up to breathe warmer, more humid air and that helps.
    The Kidless Kronicles

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  6. Amen sister! I live in Syracuse New York and we get our share of cold, windy, snowy seasonal weather. After years of skulking away for a winter of running on the treadmill I man'd up and ran outside all last winter. MAKES YOU FEEL STRONG LIKE RUSSIAN BULL.

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    1. My husband and I lived in Syracuse when we were first married. I am VERY impressed that you run outside in the winter!!! I live in CO now and everyday is like spring compared to Syracuse.

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  7. Love these rules and so similar to a post I did a few days ago myself! I think we have different climates but most of the same rules apply!
    http://soundbodysoundmind.wordpress.com/

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  8. I'm planning to run my first 1/2 marathon the last weekend in February (here in northwest MT). It's called the Snowjoke Half. Last year there was a blizzard. Two years ago, it was -17*F. *snort* I figure if I can run THAT, I can run anything.

    Plus, bragging rights.

    @Becca - I have a pair of Saucony Ulti-Mitts (I think they are called?) that have USB lights I can clip in. The charge lasts ~2 hours. I also will run w/my headlamp (Petzl Tikka 2 is my current fave) if it's REALLY dark (no streetlights, etc). I don't like running in the dark b/c I run alone and it freaks me out completely. I'm going to start running my lunch hour at work - daylight & as warm as it's gonna get until...oh, June. Yay Rockies!

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  9. I have learned to embrace the cold. There was a time that I just put away my running shoes when the first flurries fell, but now I just keep going the whole year through. Sometimes it's harder to go outside when it's cold, but I usually find that my energy level stays up throughout the run in the winter and I have fewer runs where I feel like I'm dragging myself through it like on a hot day in summer.

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  10. I live in Indiana, and am about to sign up for a marathon in March. Which will mean long runs in the cold (I can't stand more than about an hour on the treadmill or I go insane).
    While I still call a 10 miler last December my favorite race ever, I absolutely HATE the first 10 minutes of a cold run. But, i do love that badass factor once I get down to the paved trail, where I'm the only one crazy enough or amazing enough to be out there, gasping, hands freezing, and topping off the sexy with snot running down my face, which we classy runners simply wipe away with our fleece gloves.
    oh, yeah, Bring it on, winter.

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    1. I live in Indiana and trained for a half in March last year. Granted, we had a fairly mild winter last year, but it ended up being the perfect motivator to get me through winter running. I also am not a treadmill runner, so it's a great way to keep going!

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  11. I live in Montana. So, running in the cold yuck is standard issue here. I agree about getting some warm sassy new clothes to keep one motivated and warm! One of my pet peeves is running in slush piles and getting my feet wet.HAte wet feet!! So I have a tip that my mother taught me to keep your feet dry-bread bags! Don't laugh, it works! I put them over my socks and tuck the loose ends into my tights or use duct tape. ALso when it is really cold I put duct tape over the tops of my shoes including over the laces.I find that mesh stuff they make shoes out of is very drafty! So there you have it my tried and true cold running tips that won't cost you anything.

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    1. Great tip on the bread bags! I will try this. I love cold, but despise slush!

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  12. I love cold weather running. I run outside all year long, but if the roads haven't been plowed after a big snow storm, I might have to bring it inside. I have yak tracks, but I'm not a big fan of weird things on the bottom of my shoes!

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  13. I live in San Diego so this isn't really applicable. Out here, I prefer to train in the winter. The temps are PERFECT! I love the chilly, crisp air. I'm so excited for cooler temperatures; however, it's been in the high 80s lately. Sheesh! Those pictures of snow are actually looking a bit enticing at this point.

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  14. Peppermint Schnapps 10k? Sign me up!

    #2 is right on. I recently moved back to Alaska from New York and I have decided that never again will I complain about cold weather-NOTHING is worse than 100+-degree, humid city weather. Nothing. It seems to be working well so far! That and the promise of a boiling-hot shower when I get home.

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  15. I live in LA, so it doesn't really apply (it was 94 here today), but I go home to Michigan for Christmas each year, and it's tough to get out the door into the snow. I'll be Marathon training this time, though, so I'll have to!

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  16. I spent all summer running in suffocating heat and humidity...now I finally get the chance to train in perfect running weather! So, for the next 6 months I will be loving South Georgia - Then, around May 1st, I will once again resume dream-planning my move to Colorado!

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  17. I LOVE running in the cold! It's practically my best thing. Though once it gets much colder than about -30 C (-22F) I start thinking twice about it, and about -35 C (-31 F) is about as cold as I'll go out in. Depends a lot on the wind. Fortunately we don't get much more than a few weeks of that in a usual winter.

    Layers are the secret, and wearing a bit less than you think you'll need. Yes, less. Running produces lots of heat. It takes a bit of practice to learn what works for you to keep the wind out and the sweat under control. Some people swear by yak trax, or similar stuff that gives you a better grip on ice. I don't use them myself, preferring to be balanced and running carefully.

    Naturally I'm not out doing all out wind sprints at those temps. You need to pay attention to your body and manage your effort carefully.

    Safety is very important, beyond clothing layers. If it's dark I wear gear with the reflective strips, and a full reflective vest. I prefer not to wear a head lamp. I'd rather rely on my eyes dark adapting to see everything, rather than just seeing what my light is shining on. I'd never even consider wearing ear phones; I use all my senses to keep track of what's going on around me. I pay a lot of attention to cars coming out of garages. I wear road ID, and someone knows where and how long I'm going to be. For anything over a 30 minute run, I'll take some water with me because it's so dry here and the humidity is even lower in the winter.

    I would go easy on the hot drink or bath after a run. That's a big shock to the system. Get dry once you're inside, have something to drink and eat, just like normal, stretch if you do that, and then have the hot drink, bath, shower.

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  18. I love to run in the cold! Even though it starts off with the immediate thought of "What the heck am I doing?" and people in their warm cars are giving you the crazy-stare... it all becomes worth it in the end. Usually by the end I can't wait to get out of my layers and indulge on nothing but ice water.

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  19. Love running in the cold! Especially now since the mornings just got lighter. I love these tips! Thank you!

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  20. It was 94 here today so this doesn't really apply. But it's good stuff if I ever leave California! Cold to me is below 40. Below 30 is shocking and rare.

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    1. It sounds like I should move to Cali! I HATE the cold, Haaaaaaatte it. Blah.

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  21. I love running in the cold and on the really awful days I keep reminding myself just how much I despise running in the heat. It makes it easier to get out of bed in the dark.

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  22. I love the badass factor of running in the cold. I'm from Manitoba, Canada and winter is harsh, but running it is great. Tonight, my run club ran in freezing sleet and laughed most of the way. Finished it off with a latte and a hot shower. I felt like a million bucks.

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  23. The sleeping in your running clothes stuff really works. It's how I transitioned to a morning runner.

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  24. This will be my 2nd winter running and can't wait!! I meet at 5:45am in the beautiful MN mornings with a great group of gals. The group is key - who would leave someone to be alone at that hour and temp. Covering the chin, mouth -- my Saucony mittens are a must. The peaceful crunch of the snow is priceless (and of course bragging rights!)

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    1. I have some running mittens as well and they are a life saver!

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    2. It will be my third winter running during MN winters. Last year was NOT winter, in my book, though.

      I prefer running when it's cold. Just love how crisp and brisk the cold air is once my lungs adjust to it. I get hot quickly, so cold running is MUCH more comfortable. Just have to have my Yak Trax!

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  25. I like cold much better than heat. I'm still figuring out the whole 'dressing like it's 10 degrees more outside' though, I tend to overdress and then I have to take stuff off ;). Any advice on running in snow or on ice? Shoe tips?

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    1. I don't think there's a solution to running on ice except to not do it. For deeper snow I use Yak Trax. Also, I will sometimes wear my trail running shoes in the snow (even on the roads) b/c the traction is better and they are a more substantial (and warmer) shoe.

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    2. Thanks, I'll check them out.

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  26. Awesome tips! I don't love the cold, but at the end of the day, I run. Whatever the weather says.

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  27. I am not a big fan of cold running. I don't find my times as good, but i do find that even more miles can be done with less muscle soreness and who needs an ice bath after running in the low 30s? Last year, i hit the treadmill at under 40, so far this year i've gone out as long as it's above freezing...not sure at what point i'll stop going out.

    I'm signed up for a Freezing 5k which i'm sure i'll hate-not b/c of the actual running time, but b/c of the standing around prior to race start. And for "daily" motivation, facebook running groups. Some runners are nuttier than me and run in colder temps and i hate wussing out on them.

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  28. Reading blogs right now to procrastinate on running in the cold, dark...thanks for giving me a kick in the rear to get out the door.

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  29. I absolutely HATE to run in the cold. Since I run with my dog, he turns into a huge ass when he misses a run. I went to Savannah on Friday for my husband's half and returned on Sunday. So he missed two runs. I came home to a torn screen and lots of things chewed up.

    Safe to say, we ran four miles yesterday. All is right in his world again.

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  30. I run outside all year round because I HATE treadmills. I do enjoy cold-weather running. Which is a good thing, because I'm Canadian, eh!

    I have a couple of cold running rules. One is that I won't go out if it is below -25C (-13F). The other is to stick to main, well-lit streets. Not only because it is safer but because they are most often cleared, so I won't twist an ankle (AGAIN) from slipping on unseen patches of ice.

    Best gear: My icebreaker merino wool base layer. There is no better base layer on the market, I would humbly suggest.

    My tip to stay motivated: Get a dog like mine (a crazy, energy-filled Australian Shepherd/Border Collie). He needs his exercise, regardless of weather, and you can stay out for less time if you run him instead of walk him! :)

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  31. I just had my fourth child (last month) and I am really excited about getting back to running in two weeks. Last year I purchased Nike Hyperwarm pants and a shirt to keep me warm. They did an awesome job. This year I bought Nike fairisle running tights. Not so sure they'll be warm, but they sure are cute. Can't wait to get running!

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  32. I run outside all winter. My favorite is running in the snow. It is so peaceful and beautiful. I didn't see YaxTrax in your picture, but I'd add those to the list of essentials. They do make your shoes a little stiffer, but it sure beats wiping out on a patch of black ice and pulling a hammy, which I did last winter!

    We have brutal cold here in Chicago, and I'll still run in that. Heck, I trained for the WDW half, doing my long runs in December, when the wind chill was -0! The only thing that will keep me inside is ice.

    I have found several running paths that are plowed in the winter, and that is where I'll run, if the roads are snow covered/icy.

    Running outside in the cold definitely gives me a mental "leg up" on winter. I hate winter. This is my way of coping with it.

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  33. I agree that running the cold is easier than running in heat. And as an added bonus, I've read you burn more calories because your body has to work harder to stay at the right temperature.

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  34. Re: Sex life. Just wait until AFTER the nightie is on the floor, THEN put on your running tights. Problem solved!

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  35. I like running in the winter as well, you don't overheat as much. When the ground is clear it can be a perfect run. I've only ever had to be rescued once because I was too cold to get home. I get outside as often as I can. Having to do so much of my running on the treadmill, it takes some pretty extreme weather only to keep me inside when I have the opportunity to get out.

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  36. Honestly, I prefer the cooler weather to hot weather but it's just because it gets so uncomfortable and humid here in the South.

    I ran a 5K this past Saturday and it was 40* here in Charlotte, NC at 8am when it started, it was FREEZING! Luckily, I was prepared and got some great Nike running pants and I already had a long sleeve top, ear warmers, and gloves. I actually got hot right at the end, it's just the getting out of bed and getting to the starting line that's the hard part :)

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  37. I'm thinking about sleeping in my base layer this weekend, to get a head start. My friend is a newbie runner, so she's waiting on me on Saturday mornings. And, I always have a steaming hot coffee waiting for me when I get home (if I have it before, during the winter season, I won't ever leave).

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  38. I sweat like crazy, so I'll take cold weather running vs. hot any day! You can always remove layers, but there's only so much you can take off in the summer till someone reports you for indecent exposure.

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  39. Once I get moving I like running in the cold, as long as I have a tissue. I do run on my treadmill if is is super cold or the roads are icy. Here on LI they have a winter run series where every sunday there is a 5k at a different state park so that keeps you motivated. I am not sure it will happen this year since Sandy took out a lot of the roads to both of the parks on beaches but maybe they will just move those races.

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  40. This will be my first winter running in Chicago, so this was very helpful! PS the alarm on my iPhone reads exactly "get your ass up and run" haha. Too funny!

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  41. Because I know this is not a prudish bunch... one of my favorite side effects of cold running is my cold ass when it is done - I am not shy about rubbing up to my hubby as a way to goose him! (my hubby says its like a "frozen turkey"). I especially love it if he is still in bed when I get home from a cold morning run. Mean wife maybe, but should any man turn down a naked woman - even if her skin is frozen solid?!

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  42. Sometimes I think you are a little spy who runs around listening to my conversations while I run. My lil' running buddy and I were talking about this today. It was cold out and we both had headaches. We were at the nice warm gym and didn't really want to get all suited up to go out into the cold. I finally said that we could either run outside and feel like crap or sit and stare at the numbers on the treadmill and feel like crap. We bucked up and went outside...it was cold but such a beautiful morning. Sometimes we just need a little push, I would way rather run outside in the cold than be stuck on a treadmill.

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    1. Could not agree more. I do think it is tougher initially to start running outside on a cold day then heading to the warmth of the gym. But after a few minutes I am always glad I headed outdoors.

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  43. LOVE LOVE LOVE winter Runnng,, it so invigerating,, and much better then the summer heat,, even in the summer I am up and out at the but crack of dawn,, just to stay cool !!LOve the tips,, all good !

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  44. I just moved to Colorado from North Pole, Alaska so this weather is still awesome to run in for me! I am having troubles adjusting to running in the morning rather than after work though. I just love to sleep too much!

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  45. Winter training is by far my favorite. I'm in Ohio and we get some darn cold days but not usually too much snow so it really is perfect training weather. Sure beats slogging through 90 degree heat with 100% humidity over the summer!

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  46. I love running in the cold. Of course I'm in California where the "cold" is 50 degrees and no snow, but I also love running in the rain. Much easier than running in 90 degree weather (or 80 for that matter).

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  47. I'm a Florida runner and it DOES TOO get cold here! Coldest I have run in is about 20 degrees; I'm sure thats downright toasty to many of you. But I do enjoy the badassity of it as I'm out there at O:dark:30 all alone in the quiet. Best advice I ever read: "Alarm goes off, feet hit the floor, keep moving." No excuse.

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  48. I did a half marathon over the weekend in Nevada. It was 55 degrees at the start, and people there were wearing what I would wear when it's 10 degrees! No joke! I told someone that I set my 5k PR in 7 degrees and they looked like they were going to pass out! Lol. I'm from Wisconsin, so it's all relative. I do not mind cold. You can definitely dress for it and be comfortable. My nemesis is ice. That's what puts me on the treadmill.

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  49. I love the cold weather. Very good read. Thank You.

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  50. Here in Ottawa we run at -40C in the winter and up to +40C in the summer...well some runners do. I tend to run inside more in the winter on the treadmill as I am afraid of slipping on the ice. If it is clear and cold and the sidewalks are well groomed you will find me out there however as nothing beats the feeling of your eyelashes freezing together,lol.

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  51. Thank you for this! Sometimes we just need a reminder!

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  52. Being a Canadian...i get the privilege of running in the cold. And in our winter its damn cold. I find run runs to do with pals to get me thru the crazy cold and DAMN a blueberry tea is good afterwards...hot toddys all round!

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  53. this is a great post, I really want that shut up and run ring, I need to set a goal and then order it

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  54. I love running in the cold. All I have to do it think about how much I despise running in the heat, and I have no trouble getting out the door even in single digits (as long as there is no ice). I am a heat wimp. :) I do think that with a few pieces of good cold weather running gear way more people could enjoy running in the cold. Great post!

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  55. Good reminders. Even though I don't enjoy hot, humid runs (and get out early to avoid the worst of the heat), I hate winter. It's pretty much dark anytime I could run, and cold. I hate cold. I have stocked up on winter running gear, and did pretty well last year. Signing up for winter races to help stay on track this year, and I will be using the above tips to try to stay motivated when the cozy, warm bed calls. I always fantasize about the hot chocolate I am going to have after a cold long run. :)

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  56. Hi Beth - Thanks for the post - great info! I hope you don't mind, but I put a link to it on my post about having the right gear to run in the winter: http://eatrunreadtravel.com/2012/11/20/do-you-have-the-gear-for-winter-running/#comment-218

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  57. Hi Beth - had to come and revisit this post as I am having a great deal of trouble motivating myself since moving to MT and now that it is cold (brrrrrr) and snowy it is even harder. Your blog is refreshing :-) Have a great Sunday!

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  58. Anyone have suggestions on cold-weather socks?

    Love to run in the cold but my feet freeze. :oO

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  59. Un fotograf fara portofoliu nu are nicio sansa in lumea reala. De aceea, pentru cei care nu-si permit investitii foarte mari, le recomandam sa mearga intr-un magazin de imprimante second hand.

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  60. I find the hardest part of running in the morning is the getting up in the dark. With the daylight savings, it doesn't get light until 7am and it's dark by 5pm. So you really need to light yourself up.

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  61. I love winter running because it's a new challenge and it awakens the lazy hibernation feeling I get...I still hibernate, but do it gracefully by sprinkling running on top of it :)

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  62. A good example of content presentation. A piece of information from you every now and then is really great.

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  63. Nice blog. Will let you know whether these tips work tomorrow morning. :)

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