Logging Miles in the Winter

December 31, 2016

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy…” – Elle Woods


(Photo by the Grand Forks Herald)

When Jared gets home from work, he can usually tell if I squeezed in a workout that day due to my demeanor. Unfortunately, running in the middle of winter is tough to do when you live in North Dakota. Here are some things I do to allow me to log my miles even if there is snow on the ground.

1. Find a running buddy
I have a dog, Argo, that LOVES to go running with me. Knowing that he will eat our entire house if he is not exercised is great motivation for me to get moving.
(I have been using this hands-free leash for months and it prevents one arm from getting sore.)

2. Learn to love the dreadful treadmill

My rule is that if the temperature (with windchill) is above zero degrees, I will run outside. If it is below, I will run on the treadmill.

A few years back, we purchased this treadmill and it has held up great! We already had one functioning treadmill but when our neighbors moved away, we jumped in and bought a second one. Why? So Argo and I can run side-by-side in the basement!

Treadmill training is brutal so I have little tricks to save me from boredom. These include only allowing myself to watch my favorite television shows while on the treadmill and covering up the display so I can’t look at my distance or time.

3. Lower those expectations
When I run on the treadmill, I do it at a SLOW pace. When I run outside in the winter, as to not fall on my face, I shuffle my feet. The things I just listed simply make me run slower. On my outdoor runs, I just run for a certain amount of time OR miles but never both. If I tracked both, I would be too discouraged by my pace after seeing my miles per minute report.

4. Get some great gear!

Do you remember the show What Not To Wear? If you saw what I wear running, you would want to nominate me for a similar style makeover. If I had to pick two game-changing pieces I wear outside, it would be my facemask and pants.

We all know what a facemask does, I don’t need to tell you that. I love my Cold Avenger mask and it makes a huge difference. It manages extra moisture away from skin and allows for 100% free breathing where other masks eventually freeze up. It also comes in two pieces so if you become too warm, you can take of the ventilator.

I was gifted North Face windproof pants a few years ago and have worn them faithfully since. If they were waterproof, I would actually wear them downhill skiing in addition to running. The only downfall is that they have an unflattering waistline that digs into my hips. I have yet to find a pair of pants that tops these.

5. Set a goal 

Runners are naturally crazy people. Some of us crazies will actually run races in the middle of winter. I have set a goal to run a half marathon in January. Although I will have to travel five hours to get to the start line, I look forward to the experience! Someday, I will run the Antarctica full marathon but until then, the midwest will suffice.

(Photo by the Grand Forks Herald.)

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