Running in a Winter Wonderland

When the days get warmer, and the leaves finally start to bud on the raw branches of the trees, it’s likely you will see many students out on the streets, breaking in their neglected running shoes they allowed to collect dust all winter. I have some wonderful news for you—you don’t have to wait until spring to pick up being a runner again! There is no need to hold off on your jogging. I promise you, running outside in the winter is not that bad. Actually, there’s something quite magical about it.

Now, don’t just pick up your shoes and head out the door right this moment. If you’ve never been a winter-runner before, let me give you some tid-bits first and foremost.

  1. Get reflective gear. It’s important to stick out when you’re out there. I have found that drivers are less inclined to be on the lookout for runners crossing the street during winter. I think people are programmed to assume nobody is going to be out running this time of year. You can either buy running clothes with reflective gear on it, or get some reflective duct tape and put it on whatever you love to run in.
  2. Never run at night. Don’t get me wrong, in the summer time I love going for a nice long run at night. Not in the winter, though. If there’s a slippery spot, it’s likely you won’t be able to see it. Don’t take the risk—it’s really not worth it.
  3. Find a partner. This is not absolutely vital, there are days that I actually prefer to run by myself (usually after a stressful day; it’s a great way to clear my mind). However, having a partner to be accountable for will make it harder for you to “take a day off” and avoid your workout for the day.
  4. Make sure you have all of the necessary running gear. You’ll need good running pants or tights, gloves/mittens, a hat or headband that covers your ears, and a neck warmer or scarf. There will be days where it will be unnecessary to have all that gear, but you’ll want it just in case.
  5. Headphones: If you’re running with a partner, I HIGHLY recommend taking the step to not run with headphones. It’s a good time to chat, vent, or push and challenge each other through the run.  I understand the want to run with music, but when running alone you should only have one ear bud in. There have been many cases of runners being hit by a car because they weren’t paying attention, or couldn’t hear a horn honk because they were listening to music. It’s good to be aware of your surroundings when you’re out running.

I am not saying you should run outside every day. If it’s below freezing, or if there is a big snowstorm, the Williams Center has excellent cardio equipment. If you’re just starting out, it’s actually smart to plan to run outside only a few days a week, and spend the other days on cardio equipment or doing a kick-butt group fitness class.

If you have any other running related questions, feel free to e-mail me at I’ve been a competitive runner for over 10 years, and am always willing, and happy to help out a fellow runner.



“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

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