The return of winter running

Sore back, tight hamstrings and calf muscles, and a chill that won’t go away. That can only mean one thing: the return of winter running.

I went for my first true outdoor run of the winter season this weekend that included frigid temperatures, uneven snow, and some hidden slick spots.

I suffer growing pains at the start of every winter before my body adjusts. My sore body is a reminder to ease into it.

I woke up on Saturday to fluffy snowflakes falling. I knew I wanted to get in a long run and this was the perfect setting for it. So I donned my layers, threw on my shoes, and hit the snow. I am the queen of falling but managed to stay upright all run.

Regardless of whether I fell or not, I learned my lesson and should have eased into the winter running game instead of going full bore with a long run.

I wrote a couple posts about winter running last year (five tips to enjoy winter running and winter running wear) but want to touch on it again.


I’ll call it tips to avoid the post-run pains of that first winter run:

  1. Strengthen. Make sure you include lower body strength into your routine to take care of those ankles, knees and hips. The uneven surface is tough on them and can pose a higher injury risk.
  2. Even though it’s sweater season, you still have to keep that core strong. Hidden icy patches can have you stumbling around like you are on your way home from a holiday party, really testing your core. Incorporate core exercises during the rest portion of your strength training, or search core/back workouts. My personal favourites are  under Get Focused on the Nike Training Club app.
  3. Slow down. Don’t expect to hold the same pace on your winter runs that you do in summer if the sidewalks aren’t clear. Pushing the pace will only increase your injury risk. Accept that you’ll probably be slower, and if you have a speed workout in the agenda, consider running it inside.

My next few runs will be shorter to let my body adjust before going long again! Happy winter, and happy running!

What are the temperatures where you live? What’s your favourite core routine? Share any links! 


42 responses to “The return of winter running

  1. My favourite core routine is the Jillian Michaels 6 week 6 pack – it burns!! Right now it’s over 30 degrees Celsius where I am, so no need to worry about winter running haha!

  2. I just became aware of the Nike Training Club app and love it! My ankles definitely need to be strengthened more before all the snow hits…which was yesterday 🙂

  3. I get cold just looking at that picture of you bundled up for the run. And to think, I was complaining this morning about the “cold front” that just moved in that dropped the temperature down to 5C/40F. I’ve gone soft – someone’s going to make me turn in my Canadian passport soon.

    • Did you still cycle in the 5 degree weather? Seriously…I find it hard to believe you’re from Alberta!

      • Lethbridge born and raised (which, let’s be honest, is already pretty cushy compared to Edmonton – at least we got chinooks to break up the winter). I didn’t move south until I was 22. Let’s just say that I don’t come back to Canada to visit my family in the winter time (which I translate into October through April).

        I still biked to work this morning, and I plan on running tomorrow (supposed to be below freezing!). I’ve never not gotten on the bike down here because of the “cold.”

  4. It was 17 degrees (F) this morning – I think we are supposed to warm up to about 38 today. I will NOT be running outside. Good think I love my treadmill because I’m a cold weather wimp!!!
    I do like working my core though!

  5. Way to get out there, even in the cold! I converted from running in shorts to running in capris this past week, and I felt that that was quite a leap! Eek! I don’t know what I’d be doing if it was snowy!

  6. We have yet to experience any true winter–ours generally waits until January. I’ve had a couple of runs in capris, but otherwise still in shorts! That’s fine by me.

    Good luck adjusting–short and slow is the way to go!

  7. Reblogged this on Triathlon Obsession and commented:
    With the snow today and chilly weather, I’ve got to ‘toughen up buttercup!” and make sure I get out once a week to run. My Canadian blogger pals do it and I know it’s much much colder there. Here’s to inspiring some winter running outside!

  8. Since I now live in Texas, I don’t have to deal with too much winter running. That said we’re supposed to have our first sub freezing temps tonight! I was in shorts and sandals just yesterday…Crazy!
    Good luck, and be safe!

  9. Hmmm, I should probably start working on more core (I think I say this 5 million times a year) thanks for the tips. Denver is getting cold but no snow yet, but it’s coming.

  10. It’s 40-50s right now but I think we are dipping into the 30s at night. In winter it is all about the gear!! If you wear the right clothes you should be fine! 🙂
    I’ve been trying to work my core more! It definitely helps when I trip not to fall!!
    I can’t believe it’s already snowing there!! They say it’s gonna snow a bunch here! Agh!!

  11. I love you all bundled up – and I can’t help but smile at the way your eye lashes look…. kinda magical! ahahaha Welp, I know all too well what winter running is like having lived in Ottawa for so long but this year, my winter running will include “rain running” – which isn’t too bad either but it will make for a heck of a lot of soggy gear. Great tips, ones that we often forget!! And I’m so glad you didn’t take a tumble, nothing worse!

  12. Great tips!! As much as I “hate” winter running … there is something beautiful and different about it. I feel as long as you’re dressed appropriately, it really can be enjoyable!!!

  13. My number piece of running advice/must-have apparel: good running gloves!! The rest of my body eventually warms up, but my fingers are always cold! It’s actually snowing here today. My daughter was so excited about the forecast this morning. Unfortunately, south in the south means three certainties: no milk/bread at the store, school closings, and idiot drivers!

    • Aw- I bet your daughter was excited! Did the snow materialize? Funny that there is no bread or milk at the store! Do people buy it in bunches in case they can’t leave the house?
      Totally agree about good running gloves. My fingers are always so cold, too!

  14. Fortunately our weather slowly gets colder, so it helps me ease into the winter running. Last year I did almost 100% of my running on the treadmill because I was wimping out, but my goal is to keep running outside as much as possible this winter. Although I’m already fearful of another fall, so once it gets cold enough for ice I may have to give up on the goal!

  15. Great advice! As much as I prefer warmer temperatures I feel like there is something special about training in the winter. I always feel like part of an exclusive team that is daring enough to brave the elements! Those are great pieces of advice. I’m starting to focus on my strength and just discovered the Nike app!

  16. As much as I hate being cold, I do love how winter forces you to just slow down and take it easy. It has been sunny and in the 60s here the past few days. Only in the middle of the day, though. morning and nights are COLD. Gotta love CO sunshine 🙂

    • Sounds like beautiful weather still! We get glorious sunshine most of the time, but today it rained most of the day. Totally bizarre.
      Have you been runching more during the warmth of the day?

  17. I’m glad you wrote this because I woke up this morning stiff and wasn’t sure why…I ran for the first time in snow/cold last night, too! It was 28, which isn’t horrible, but still felt icy when I’ve been running in the upper 30’s and 40’s. I actually love winter running. It’s relaxing and it makes me feel “cleaned out” somehow, like breathing in all that cold air got dust out of my lungs. LOL

  18. As much as I want summer back right now(!), I actually really enjoy winter running. If you’re bundled properly, it’s fun! Great tips, too! It always takes me a bit to remember that my winter run pace is slower than my summer 🙂 Happy running, friend!

    • I totally want summer back, too, but I’m embracing winter and all it throws at us! Hard to accept about the slower pace. But it’s nice come spring/summer when you’re automatically faster!
      Happy running to you!!

  19. Ah, you’re too cute in your winter outfit. The weather is still decent in my area, cold, but decent. I can’t stand running in a ton of layers..I get so hot!

    • Lucky lady! I bet you wouldn’t get too hot running here in the middle of winter! Sometimes I do feel a little claustrophobic around the neck though, so I kind of know what you’re saying!

  20. I find it so hard to get my head round the fact that you guys are snowed in already. It’s getting colder over here but nowhere near 0C! But it must be so awesome for you to be able to train in all seasons and conditions. That will inevitably make you a stronger athlete.

    • Oh my, you should see the storm we were walloped with last night/today. It’s crazy! Although I say I’d love to live somewhere with year round warmth, I do love the seasons!
      Are you guys going on a ski getaway again this winter?

  21. UGH!! Just the thought of snow makes me cold. Luckily we missed our first “snowfall” of the year (just a dusting) since we were in Florida. I stick to the treadmill in the winter but I just signed up for a Santa Hustle Half Marathon with a friend next month. Hopefully it won’t be too cold then!!

Leave some love

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s