7 things that happen when you run in the winter.

It’s no secret that Canada is cold. Like, really cold. We pride ourselves on being able to tough out the winters, we add “efficient snow shoveller” to our resumes, and we truly understand that layered clothing is not just as a fashion statement. I am definitely a pansy when it comes to winter running. The cold, the wind, the fear of falling, the fact that snow blowing in your eyeballs hurts… the excuses all usually pop into my head when I think about bundling up for a cold winter run. BUT when I do get out there, it is pretty magical, and there are a few things that happen when you run in the winter.

1. You not only have a summer wardrobe and a winter wardrobe for your regular clothes, you have summer running gear AND winter running gear. Running tights are my favourite, so I kind of get excited when I get to pull them out of my closet!

2. You develop a really strong core. Trying to balance while running across slippery patches and icy roads takes a really strong core. You will always feel your stabilizer muscles after a crazy icy run, because you are constantly trying not to fall!

3. You will stick these in weird places. They may say “pocket warmers” but you will find out that there are a lot more places to put them. Last year I shoved them down my pants to keep my butt warm before a race… don’t tell me you haven’t done that before too?

4. You will find the other crazy people. One a warm +20 summer day you will see hundreds of people on the trails going for a run. On a -20 day? Not so much. The ones out running are crazy, like you, so you will automatically bond over your insanity and become friends with them.

5. You will realize that it doesn’t always have to be a “bitter, cold, and depressing winter,” because it is sometimes kind of beautiful. The sun shining down on a fresh layer of snow is magical. When you are the only one out running on an early winter morning, you get to appreciate this kind of stuff. 

6. You will discover a whole new love for hot coffee. You thought it was a delicious treat in the summer/fall/spring? Those seasons have nothing on winter. After a cold winter run coffee is your best friend and Starbucks becomes your second home. 

7. Finally, you feel 812% more badass when you run outside in the winter. People driving past with their heated seats and heated steering wheels will look at you like you are crazy, and even if you are running slower than a snail in molasses, you will smile because you know how badass and crazy awesome you look. Just try not to fall when they are watching you… 😉

Central Alberta has been fairly lucky so far this autumn. We had that skiff of snow in September and after that our temperatures have been relatively awesome. I guess that had to come to an end sometime because our forecast calls for snow today and tomorrow. As I attempted to mentally prepare myself for running in the cold, I was thinking back to some of the runs I did last year in the winter, hence this list! 

Note: Winter running IS fun and awesome and badass but please take caution when running in the cold and sliding on the ice. You may not have to worry as much about dehydration and heat stroke but there are some dangers to winter running as well. Be safe! 

Do you run outside in the winter? 

Any treadmill lovers out there? We can start a club!


  1. I find the hardest part of winter running is getting out the door. Once I’m out pounding the pavement/snow/ice/slush, I feel that ‘zen’ that only a run can bring.

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