Bruce Peninsula, Tobermory, Ont.
We wake up, put on our comfiest pants and sip a hot beverage while peering at the light layer of snow on the driveway. The low thermometer reading repels us from our sneakers, and the comfort of our couch compels us to push our scheduled run to the next day, next week, next season. But to let our mileage slip and put off our workouts to the spring is to miss out on the unique beauties of winter running. These five reasons remind you why you should stop planning your hibernation, and instead get excited to haul your love for running through the snow and into the new year.
1. You get to throw pace out the window
Poorly packed snow, slush and the odd Christmas parade threaten to slow down most of your runs and, consequently, leave you with a choice. You can f ight the elements to nail down a sexy run pace to impress the seven people who track the mileage data you post on a virtual logbook, or you can let bodily feedback alone dictate your running speed. Choose option two and shield yourself from injury, burnout and possibly heartache.
2. Keeping your fitness is not expected, but so rewarding
The cold, sweets and festivities make it likely you’ll experience a drop in fitness. That’s exactly why f lipping the script and diligently nailing a winter training block is so rewarding: it is the best way to quietly gain an edge on your competitor, and make them pay in the spring. Plus, who doesn’t want to be prepared for an impromptu showdown at the community Santa Shuff le? Disclaimer: off weeks between seasons are recommended!
3. New injury-resistant terrain
Uneven and changing snow-padded landing ground varies your shock absorption between steps and may help strengthen stabilizing muscles in your legs, helping to eliminate pesky muscle imbalances. A thin layer of snow may also help soften the pounding on your body and voila!, you’ve used winter as a natural injury-repellent (assuming you stay away from ice and chafing running tights).
4. Gain a mental edge
Quite simply, if you can learn to put in hard work in the cold and snowy, you will be laughing in the mild and sunny. Fighting with a Canadian winter’s inherent obstacles will build your mental toughness and prepare you to tackle the world once the temperature rises and the snowfalls cease. Plus, there is something about pushing your physical limits under several layers of clothing while seeing your own breath through frozen snot that gives workouts an awesome Rocky Balboa quality.
5. Milking it on social media
A snowy beard or icicle-clad eyelash photo on Instagram is often well-received. The same can be said of a triumphant Strava update on the coldest day of January, or a sarcastic tweet aimed at your more delicate training partner who opted for the treadmill. No, we do not run to f launt it on social media. Yes, we may use social media to share with the world that we did in fact make it home safely and free of frostbite.
TOP Running on uneven terrain can help build stabilizing muscles and prevent injury
LEFT Adam Scotti post-run in Ottawa, sporting a glorious ice beard