Winter is Here

Hey, so guess what?  It’s winter!  Now, I know many of you have already realized this and have been dealing with a lot of snow, but here in the Washington, D.C. area, we’ve had a pretty mild season.  And I think we sort of skipped over last winter too.  But these past few weeks have been cold.  With snow!

Now, as a native Midwesterner, I can’t help but laugh when the city goes into crisis when we get an inch of snow.  It’s an inch of snow!  Admittedly, there are reasons for this:

  1. This area doesn’t have the equipment to clear snow.  Sure, there are plows and salt trucks, but not like there are in cities that regularly get a lot of snow.
  2. Because snow isn’t common, a lot of people don’t know how to drive in snow.  The running joke is that five snowflakes fall and accidents start on the highway.

So in general, I don’t mind the winter.  However, when it comes to outdoor activities, it isn’t fun.  The other day, was too lazy to dry my hair and in the 5-10 minute walk from the parking garage to my office, my hair froze.  (I knew this would happen and find it hilarious.)  And then there’s running outside in the cold.

When there is heavy snow and ice, I find it tough to run outside.  Thankfully, that’s rare here, because I always feel like I’m risking falling or injuring my ankles.  Typically, I’m just doing long runs in the cold with maybe a bit of patchy snow.  That means bundling up.

I like to feel cool when I run, so in the really cold weather, I try not to bundle up too much.  For example, when the weather is in the 30’s, I typically wear running tights, a short sleeved shirt tucked in and a lined long-sleeved shirt over that.  I also wear a light knit cap and gloves.  Yes, it’s very cold when I start, but I warm up quite quickly.  If it’s really windy, I may add a windbreaker or something to protect my face.

A big key for me when I run in the winter is to remember to stay hydrated.  The cold dry air really saps moisture.  Just because I don’t feel sweaty doesn’t mean that I don’t need to keep drinking.

So that’s how I handle winter running.  How do you all handle winter running?  And those of you with warm winters, I don’t want to hear a lot of gloating!  Sure, you have warm winters, but your summers are BRUTAL!


2 thoughts on “Winter is Here

  1. Although I’ve thought about it before now, discovering your blog during Holidailies helped inspire me to think about training for a marathon (or maybe a half first!), but of course that decision came right in the midst of Indiana winter (brrrr!). I have a co-worker who goes out and runs in all weather, pretty much no matter what, but he’s ex-Navy and hardcore like that.

    I run inside, on an indoor track or one of the treadmills.

  2. When I lived in the Binghamton NY area — with long cold winters — I used to run outdoors when weather permitted. Cold was okay — and so was snow if it was packed down — but ice and slush and rain would keep me indoors. When I worked at the state university, I could run on an indoor track in the basement of one of the gyms. (I think it was about 875 laps to a mile — okay, I exaggerate, it was more like 8 laps to a mile.) Other than that, winter running meant running in the dark and cold — except on weekends when it meant running in cold daylight.

    Now that I live in Rhode Island I have a slightly milder climate (especially since I am near the coast where the ocean usually helps to moderate winter lows a bit). I will sometimes run outdoors in the winter — but only on milder days. I prefer to go to the Y in winter. As I approach septuagenarian status (just three more months) I am torn between the desire to get into better physical/athletic condition and the desire to do so comfortably. Actually, because of my December bunion surgery, my podiatrist does not want me slamming my left foot on the ground for a while yet. He told me yesterday that I could go outside and walk — but no more than ten minutes at a time — and gradually work up to longer walks — but no jogging until my next post-op exam in late February. So I’ve not done any winter running since last winter (and that was a fairly mild winter). Still, I am really looking forward to getting running again (and also dreading it because I know how great the mismatch between desire and performance will be).

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