Welp, it is officially winter. If the calendar change on December 21 didn’t convince you, the snow storms moving across the country this week have solidified it.
Nonetheless, races and training do not stop just because it’s cold. Yes you can always head indoors, as I do twice a week for cross training at OrangeTheory, but there are so many reasons why running outside in the cold is awesome.
(Note: These reasons are applicable no matter what “cold” means to you. They hold just as true when I experienced winter living in Tennessee as they do living in Chicago.)
Here are 6 benefits of cold weather running as I see it:
1. Faster paces with the same effort
This is a big one. All summer I keep myself motivated through the hard miles with this thought at the forefront:
“Just think how fast you’ll be in the fall.”
It is true. In colder weather we are able to run faster with the same effort because, quite frankly, breathing is easier in colder air. Who wants to feel like they are breathing through a wet blanket?!?
Yeah, no one.
But we do it in the summer and that level of VO2 fitness pays off come winter. We’ve done the hard work so putting forth the same effort when it’s easier to breathe results in faster paces without increasing the heart rate.
2. More Fun Outfits
As a result, I wear as little clothing in summer as possible while still maintaining my ingrained Southern modesty. (Example.)
But as soon as the weather gets colder, more layers are needed to stay warm. Layers = more clothes = fashion and not just utility come into play!!
3. Opportunities for new gear
What runner doesn’t love new gear?!? Exactly.
So in addition to the whole “fun outfits” aspect of winter, you need gear to stay warm in winter while still being able to train. That has opened the door to new brands and small businesses to come into my world.
Example: this beanie I am OB-SESSED with and was handmade by a woman-owned small business.
As a business owner myself, supporting other small business women is a no brainer.
4. More pockets!
Find me a woman who doesn’t appreciate good pockets. I dare you.
Enough said. Let’s move on.
5. Never having to worry about heatstroke
Or…if you are sweating enough/too much.
Two years ago, if you would have asked this WRITER how much she thinks about biology and chemistry in a day, I would have laughed.
But as an endurance athlete, understanding biology and chemistry is SO important to training for marathons without risking your health.
Knowing the temperature at which you “should” be sweating and what is considered not enough; how to combat that with electrolyte supplements and salt tablets; and when to take each is the difference between finishing a run/race in good health and with a trip the E.R.
Or, heaven forbid not finishing due to heatstroke or injury from dehydration.
So yeah, not having to worry about those things in winter is fantastic.
6. No chafing!
For a few months (aka Nov – March) I get to say bye-bye to my Vaseline in #alltheplaces and just add my 10,000 layers and go run without worries of marking my body.
NOTE: Yes I know there are lots of fancy anti-chafe products on the market, but I have tried a bunch and nothing works as well as good ‘ole Vaseline in my experience.