Run OUTSIDE? In the Cold? Are You Nuts?

It’s holiday time.  It’s chaotic.  It’s cold.  It’s snowing again.  The weather makes the treadmill look mighty inviting. However, there are some positive aspect to getting out the door for an outside run!


First, have you noticed that you can still hear your kids fighting, screaming and hitting each other when you are plugged into the treadmill?  It doesn’t matter how loud the music or movie may be, you can still hear them screaming “MOM” at the top of their lungs as they torture one another.  A lot of the mental benefits of running are lost when you are constantly leaping off the treadmill to beat chase down your little angels.   My hubby used to ask me why I would go outside in negative degree weather to run.   Alone.  In the dark.  In rain.  In the snow.  In the sleet.  He doesn’t ask why anymore because he is too busy chasing the children around to break up their fights


According to an article in Men’s Health, here are a few other benefits to running outside in the cold:

  • You burn more calories in the cold because your body not only expends energy for exercise but also to keep you warm.
  • Combats Seasonal/Winter Depression by keeping your serotonin levels high.
  • Increases “toughness” both mentally and physically.  Your body adapts to the weather/temps and your mind realizes that new things are possible. 
  • Your body learns to use oxygen more efficiently.

A few things I do to force myself out the door on those cold mornings:

  • I commit to a group run or meet up with friends:

image  Me_Aurelia_Dawn

  • I pick a new or different venue to explore.

image  Snow at WFG_Dec 2013

  • I have a race lined up that will force me to keep logging miles outside so that I will be accustomed to the elements.
  • I sometimes treat myself to coffee or breakfast after a particularly cold, dismal outdoor run.
  • I keep things light, fun and disregard pace. 
  • I take a long hot bath when I get home and think about how happy I am that I’m not shivering in an ice bath.  Smile
  • I will occasionally buy a new piece of winter running gear to get me excited about trying it out in the cold, like those Athleta PolarTec Power Stretch 2 tights that I’m loving right now (and also wearing in every photo above).

How about you?  What do you do in the winter to keep yourself focused and heading OUTSIDE for your runs? 

** Disclaimer – If it’s icy or the weather conditions reduce visibility, stay inside for safety reasons!

** I Run Outside ALL Year Long**  Amanda – TooTallFritz **