Easing the Chill of Winter Running: Thoughts from a Former Non-Runner
by Adrienne Cayley
Slipping into my sneakers, surrounded by the warmth of my living room, I anticipate what is about to happen. Once I step outside my front door, I know that the cold will take my breath away. My fingers and toes will go numb for a few minutes until my body warms up. And I can’t wait.
I never pictured myself as winter runner. Running outside in the cold seemed strange and odd to me. Cold weather existed for cozy sweaters, a warm fire and a crochet hook. It was meant to be enjoyed from the inside looking out. It certainly was not for being outside.
I started running in the month of April with the Eau Claire chapter of Moms on the Run. My first run consisted mostly of walking with a few 30 second bursts of running. But as the spring and summer wore on, both my stamina and my distances grew.
I continued running into the fall, but, as we all know, fall is a short season here in Wisconsin and I had a decision to make. Was I going to continue my running journey into the cold and darkness of winter, or was I going to stop and lose all that I had worked so hard to build up? Not surprisingly, the answer came to me on a run. I had to keep going.
Like many winter activities, I quickly learned that the key to winter running is layering with the right gear—Polartec running tights, wool running socks and a good hat and gloves. I also knew I would be more successful with a goal to keep me motivated. So, I signed up for the half marathon of the Eau Claire Marathon races.
What I didn’t expect to find in winter running was peace. Sloppy roads and sidewalks meant that I needed to slow everything down. My running goal was simplified: just keep moving. Speed goals can wait until spring. Instead, I allowed my thoughts to quiet down and my senses to expand. I experienced the sight of Christmas lights reflected on the snow and ice, the sound of my breath releasing from my body and the feel of snowflakes landing on the exposed planes of my face. Peace.
Now, instead of watching winter go by from my living room, I close the front door behind me and run into its embrace.
To learn more about Mom’s on the Run, visit momsontherun.com/eauclaire.html.