Training Week 1: Six Reasons to Train Through the Winter

I'm all cozied up in my warm bed, everyone is fast asleep and...

[Insert random non-smartphone alarm here]
The phone alarm goes off. 5:30 AM, already?!

I turn the alarm off as fast as possible and sneak out of the bedroom. Quickly, I throw on a few layers of running clothes and jump out the door before the kids sense that mommy is trying to make a break for it. (I swear they have a special alarm that goes off)

I do sometimes wonder "why". Why on earth am I leaving the warm house to exercise in the freezing cold? Logically, that makes zero sense.

After a few minutes of running, I remember why I do this. On a clear morning run, the stars and the moon shine so bright. I love the quiet, the crunch of the snow and I even love those cold mornings - only when the temp is at least above zero and the wind is light!

I do most of my writing in my head while running and this list was assembled on a particularly freezing cold run late Saturday morning.

There are many reasons to train through the winter. Here are just a few to motivate you through the chillier months:

6 Reasons to Train Through the Winter

1. Take in the Fresh Air.

Fight the cabin fever with a dose of fresh air and sunshine (if you're lucky)! Staying at home with little ones means the boys and I are stuck inside when the weather is below 30°F-ish or it's too windy. I love taking the kids out but sometimes the winter weather just doesn't cooperate.

Training for a spring marathon gives me that extra motivation to get out the door, even though a warm house is much more comfy. I never regret waking up early for a run! I try to do my long run during the daylight hours on the weekend to get a little sunshine, too.

2. Get The "Glow".

Whether you are running outside in the dark early morning hour or later in the day, your neon reflective gear or wind-chapped face is very likely to "glow".

Buy a super-stylish reflective vest from Walmart and you will be the envy of the town... like me! (note heavy sarcasm) And, who knows, maybe your wind-chapped face will be mistaken for a nice sun tan.

3. Break Up The Winter Months.

Winter gets looooooong around here! November through April qualify as "winter" to me.  Training over the winter makes the freezing weeks fly by and it also helps to burn those extra holiday calories.

4. Justify Your Ridiculous Amount of Running Clothes.

Summer running is so simple. You just need the basics - shorts, top, socks and shoes. Running in the winter here means layers upon layers upon layers. When I head out for a winter run, I grab whatever clothes are in reach and layer it up.

Running tights, more tights, winter coat, shirt, another shirt, maybe one more shirt, stocking cap, neck warmer, gloves, tall socks, reflective vest - all fashion sense goes out the window!

5. Appreciate The Treadmill.

There are some days when it would be downright miserable to run outside. Those are the days I hop on the treadmill and feel thankful I have access to one! Running outside in the extreme cold can be dangerous and it sure hurts my lungs after.

6. Every Town Needs a Crazy Runner.

Doesn't every town have at least one? I know my hometown did growing up (and it actually wasn't me!). Don't be afraid to be that "weirdo" out running in the frozen tundra wearing all sorts of random clothes to keep your behind from freezing.

If you happen to be the town's crazy runner, just keep on running. There is something wonderful about long-distance running and you just might inspire someone else to head out for a run, too.

All that being said, here's to completing my first week of training for Fargo!

Fargo Marathon Training Week 1:

01/04 M - Easy: 5.52 mi 00:51 @ 09:14 avg pace. Cool, windy and icy run outside with the dog.

01/05 T - Hill Intervals: (Treadmill) 3.65 mi 00:30 08:13 pace. 6 x 75 sec. intervals @ 8% grade, 6:49 pace. Finished with 10 minutes at 8:34. 5 x 1:00 planks.
01/06 W - Strength Training.

01/07 H - Easy: 6.1 mi, 00:56 @ 09:13 avg pace. Beautiful morning in the 20°F's with little wind, icy.

01/08 F - Tempo Run: (Treadmill) 4 mi, 00:32 @ 07:52 avg pace. 6 x 75 second intervals @ 6:31.

01/09 Sa - Easy: My "Frozen 5k". 3.14 mi 00:27 08:38 pace. -5F actual temp, -15F windchill. That run felt ridiculously cold! My hat and face mask frosted over the minute I left my parents' driveway. Cut the run short and I'm glad I did!

***Ran double long runs last week, 8-miler and 10-miler, due to time constraints this weekend.

01/10 Su - Off.

Total Mileage: 22.41 miles

Do you train through the winter?
What is your favorite winter activity?

Linking up with the Fitness Health & Happiness link-up.


  1. I almost always train through the winter. Not intentionally. Race calendars have just worked out that way. Great tips!

  2. Amy - I have always enjoyed running in Winter - I love running in cold air and I really miss it since moving to Florida. Enjoy!

    1. Thanks, Ilka! I'm not sure I could handle the heat and humidity in Florida - you are one tough cookie!

  3. I run all year, too. I enjoy seeing people when I run, but I also like those peaceful runs when I'm the only one outside - because of the weather or when I start off early.

    1. Same here - sometimes the peace and quiet is nice but there are those days when I would love to run with a whole group!

  4. i was injured last winter so right now I am loving running outside for many of the same reasons that you are. Happy running!

    1. Happy running, Deborah! I'm glad you are recovered and ready to go this winter :)

  5. You are fierce!!! I have to admit-- I fall back to my treadmill to run too often :-) I'm a wuss in the cold!

    1. Confession: I have been on my treadmill for the past 4 runs! We have been in a sub-zero and windy streak and I'll take the treadmill over that any day :)

  6. Its hard for me to do any exercise through the winter..this year I'm challenging myself to do it!! Thank you for the motivation!

  7. Sometimes I like that cold fresh air in my winter running. It reminds me that I'm alive and can experience it and wakes me right up. I haven't learned to appreciate the treadmill yet, but I love the "every town has a crazy runner." Have a great weekend!

    1. I agree - the crisp cool air is refreshing. Wakes you right up :)

  8. I trained for a marathon a couple winters ago with a running group and it was actually FUN to be hardcore and out in the snow. There were a couple miserable runs, but overall I loved it!

    1. And running in a group in the winter makes it even more fun! That sounds like a great experience, Kate. We had a running group that ran all winter in our old hometown and the camaraderie was extra motivation :)

  9. I am signed up for a spring marathon and then I moved to Minneapolis! Today the weather says feels like -33 and wind chill can cause frostbite in as little as 10 minutes. I have definitely been taking my training indoors at these temps! Hoping to get outside again soon!

    1. Hey, it's nice to meet a fellow Minnesotan! We have been in quite a cold streak lately. I'm thinking the weather will break soon - at least to above zero this week :)


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