Jog and Enjoy the Weather

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Last year, I finally experienced something that many runners before me had discovered: a love of running. It didn't happen overnight and it was something that I never expected, but over time, running morphed from something I "should" do into something that I wanted to do.

That said, this is the first winter that I am running outdoors and making every effort to stick with my routine, even though the rain, snow and dropping temperatures are doing their best to keep me from it. Until recently, I hadn't exercised outside in any temperatures colder than 20 degrees.

Last Monday, I checked the Tuesday morning weather report to see what I was up against. It wasn't pretty: 17 degrees and snow. But more importantly, the weather website predicted that it would "feel like" 8 degrees outside. Yikes!

I laid out my gear (reflective vest, fleece gloves and headband, iPod, Garmin, the works), layered up and went to bed in my workout clothes that night. I wasn't fully committed to the next day's workout. After all, I do not like mornings, winter or snow, so the odds of me being successful were stacked against me.

When I awoke and peeked through my blinds, I saw my street and sidewalk covered in snow. "Great," I thought. "How am I supposed to run in two inches of snow?" I'm more than paranoid about slipping and falling when it's icy, wet or snowy outside. I think this stems from an unforgettable—and painful—fall I took as a kid when walking to the bus stop. I put on my second layer of clothes: lined pants (on top of my running tights), a zip-up fleece with a mock turtleneck (on top of my long sleeved performance top), and a second fleece headband—not for my head and ears, but to wrap around my face to warm my nose, mouth and breath. (I was a remarkable sight, let me tell you.)

When I got outside, it didn't feel too cold, certainly not like 8 degrees (I would guess closer to 20). As I walked to the end of my street to begin my run, I kept finagling with my earphones, which didn't want to stay in place with two headbands wrapped around my head (epic fail!), so I shoved my iPod into my pocket and ran without music (another feat I would have never attempted a year ago).

Despite the cold, snow and lack of entertainment, this winter run was unlike all the others that I had done before it. Without music blasting in my ears, my other senses were heightened and I think I enjoyed myself as much—or maybe more—than when I work out to my favorite songs. Without music to motivate me or set my pace, I had to listen to my own body to set the tone for the day's workout. I heard my deep breaths, indicating that I was working hard—something I never really noticed before. I listened to every single step that packed the snow underneath me to form a perfect footprint, making a squeaky sound as I jogged slowly down the block. I watched the airy snowflakes, float down before me like miniature feathers. It was beautiful! They weren't in a hurry and neither was I. Occasionally, one would land on my eyelashes or my cheeks only to melt on contact.

I could have viewed this cold, dark morning as something dreadful. I could have focused on the slippery sidewalks, below freezing temperatures or my cold nose, but I chose to view it as something magical, almost like a kid who wakes up to snow on Christmas morning. It was my version of playing in the snow, something I haven't done since I was a lot younger.

With a couple inches of snow on the sidewalk, there is no such thing as running fast. I had to be extra careful about where I stepped and how I picked up my feet. I ran for 24 minutes that morning (my short run for the week), and only managed to cover 2 miles, but I didn't care. Sometimes, no matter how fast or slow you're moving, whether you're near or far away from your goal, sometimes you just have to accept what is and enjoy the journey itself.

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Very inspiring blog. Thank you so much for sharing. Report
I really enjoyed this blog. I live in Minnesota and had never gone out walking if it was below freezing - 32 degrees. But this past winter one goal I made for myself was to walk with Daisy (my dog) at least 3 times a week. The first time the temp was single digit I just bundled up and we went. She was amazingly happy, and I didn't mind it as much as I thought. Sure, it was cold and challenging to walk in some areas but it was also very freeing. This winter I plan to walk every day unless it's way below 0. Report
This was a beautiful post. I know it was a long time ago, but I just read it for the first time, and it was really nice. Thank you. Report
Wow, I really enjoyed the blog. I didn't realize I had actually read it about a year and a half ago until I saw my posting halfway down (January, 2010).
Since January, I've been working out in a gym most mornings and running on the treadmill. Today, because of an early appointment, I ran through my neighborhood. Although it was dark when I started (4:45am), the sky brightened bit by bit to reveal the beginnings of a glorious June morning.
The treadmill is simply a means to an end. Running outside is almost a reward in itself! Report
I love running in the winter. When I lived in Ohio, winter was my favorite time to run. The cold invigorated me and the snow was beautiful. I loved the sound of my shoes making that scrunchy, squeaky noise as they compressed the snow. I especially loved it if fresh snow was falling. It was like running through a snow globe. I'd always find myself randomly smiling at the sheer joy of it. Running and smiling? Who knew!!?? I now live in a brown, prickly, ugly desert--there isn't anything remotely invigorating here. I miss Ohio. Report
Running without music forces me to hear my rapid and labored breath which psychs me out and slow down which makes me feel guilty :-/ But I love your emphasis on taking it slow and just enjoying the run. Oftentimes, you are so focused on time, intensity and progress that you forget to enjoy the time you appoint to making and sustaining a healthy body! Report
"Sometimes, no matter how fast or slow you're moving, whether you're near or far away from your goal, sometimes you just have to accept what is and enjoy the journey itself."

Very true and inspiring. Sometimes, winning and losing is not everything. You doing it, is more important!!
What a well-written and inspiring post! I hate winter and snow, but felt I was right there with you and enjoying it too. Thank you so much for sharing your success with us! Report
I absolutely love running in the snow it is so peaceful. My favorite fun run this year so far was a 3*run around a lake(3x's) no one else was there not even the ice fishermen just me and God!! Report
WOW! You even made me want to run...and I don't even jog YET!
Keep up your good work! Report
Well said---glad you've learned to enjoy the journey--it is what life happens to be. :) Report
I swear I have had this exact experience with the only difference my run was after work instead of first thing in the morning. I sometimes felt like a football player going through the tires trying to dodge the ice but what an awesome feeling isn't it! I never thought in a million years I would look forward to my runs as much as i do, even in the snow! Report
My husband and I were laughing at a woman out running the other morning coming down the street facing traffic where there is a LARGE sidewalk along that stretch of street, and we just said "WOW, she sure wants to make positive that EVERYONE notices her out running in the cold weather." Report
I used to be able to do the same every Winter, but the area I live in it truly is putting your own life in jeopardy to try it- no sidewalks or street shoulders here: (

And with RA or other Health Conditions, running or subjecting yourself for a prolonged period in such extreme colds is highly unadvised. Report
I felt like I was there. I really do understand how wonderful that jog can feel - like mediation with a sweat!
I love running outside without my iPod! With my dog as my trusty partner, I am more in tune (hah) with what is going on around me, my body and my dog. To me running in the gym is so boring since there is no moving scenery and nothing interesting to watch or be involved in. Report
Try yak traks for the ice! They work great! Report
I had a similar experience last week -- planned a run in the snow only to find that my iPod battery was dead. I had a great time listening to the crunching under-foot, my breath, the birds, and -- on the road sections -- the oncoming traffic! I still prefer the music to help me keep a rhythm, but this was a great run Report
I did this last Christmas in Canada...try jogging in this type of weather listening to was a surreal experience! LOL Report
I am often a "fair weather" exerciser but even I like to challenge myself and it out in "adverse" conditions once in a while. Good for you! Report
How inspirational! I am not a runner but more inspired to try. These are some of the true reasons that I don't listen to my ipod. I love the sound birds, leaves, feet, breath......i guess in general everything mother nature makes. Report
Sounds like fun Report
love winter time to run, I live in an area where I can run year around, don't have to buy or wear extra clothes. Love to trail run during the winter months, not as many runners. This is a good time of the year to work on base mileage. Report
I loved this blog! It made me more determined than ever that I will become a runner. I'm still a work in progress but I'm getting there! Thanks for sharing this beautiful and inspiration blog with us! Report
Beautifully put Nicole. I loved the illiteration of the run. felt like I was right there with you. Course my Florida self would have been inside watching you through the window. 9 degrees is unnatural. LOL!!!

great job. Way to persevere!!! Report
I love this blog, Nicole! I don't have snow where I live and very rarely encounter weather related incidents...but I have found that I really enjoy running in the rain! To feel so in tune with nature AND my body is just amazing! Great blog and I hope it encourages others to enjoy it regardless of the long as they are properly outfitted of course! :-) Report
I'm not a runner--yet--but you give me hope I might make it there someday in the not-too-distant future. Thank you! Report
Coach Nicole you inspire me once again! I just did your Jump Rope video last night and loved it as it was a sheet of ice outside and pitch black by the time I got home from work. I enjoy being outside but have yet to "love" running but once again you give me hope! I can see I need to invest in better equipment, my biggest impediment being eyeglasses that fog over in the colder temps when I "run" into my own exhalations. Any suggestions sparkers? Report
I just started running this fall, something I never thought I'd do. I was really enjoying it. And then the snow and barely above zero temps set in and truthfully? It's not much fun. I barely consider my road safe to run on in the summer, with logging trucks barrelling down a twisty, windy, curvey road at 50 mph (Cars and trucks even faster) with minimal shoulders. This time of year I'm way too afraid of cars sliding into me with no place for me to go.
I have found, however, that I'm getting more flexible with temperatures when it comes to getting out on the weekends to go snowshoeing...used to be 32 degrees, then 20 degrees. Right now I'm at about 10 degrees with minimal wind and still heading for the forest.
And you're right, there's nothing like being out there in the freshly fallen snow, listening to the snow crunch and the wind moaning through the trees. Report
Enjoying the journey is half the battle to succeeding, isn't it? Report
Awesome! Way to go Coach Nicole! Report
This is my first winter of continuing with running too. There have been some very cold temps, but with my small running group, the motivation to show up and run has been there. Haven't run in the snow yet however, sounds very peaceful!
Best of luck to you as you continue your training and running throughout the winter. Report
Great blog! I'm a runner too! Report
inspiring. I can't wait to go back to running. Report
Great article. I am trying to get used to going jogging/walking in the winter. I too, am scared to fall. They don't keep the roads and sidewalks very clean and you never know when you will hit that patch of ice.

Thank you for sharing. Inspiring story! Report
I could absolutely picture how peaceful it was!!! Great blog!!! Report
Excellent adventure! Report
Great article! I started running this summer so this is the first time I've ran in the winter and I totally love it. I find it very spirtual and I think it gives me a little bit more energy then running in warmer weather. Report
What a great article. I really enjoyed reading it, and could picture the experience through your words. Report
I live in Canada and have two dogs so I am out in the cold at least a couple of time a day. I don't jog yet, but we walk on average 3-5 kms a day, goal is 25kms a week. And my two will not take its to cold out as an excuse not to go for their walks. My dashound has a winter coat and the both have colars that light up so we can be seen in the dark. Report
I like to run outside in the winter in the day light and fresh, fluffy snow. Unfortunately, my work schedule and where I live have me going to work in the dark and back home in the dark. Therefore, I am learning to live with the treadmill. Report
I also discovered the love of running this Winter. I am training for a half marathon in May so I had to decide treadmill or cold and snow. The strange thing is though that I have discovered my love for running this winter. I think it may have something to do with the stronger runners high in the cold. Report
Thank you for describing what I enjoy most about running! Report
I loved running in the winter (live in the Chicago area.) Unfortunately I no longer am able due to a bad knee, however I use to get my Gotex gear on and after running a few minutes I was toasty warm. I ran many a mile as the snow came down. Report
Thanks. I, too, am trying to keep my runs outside this winter (my first as a runner).

EXCEPT for rain - I can't stand being wet & cold!!! Report
Sounds like a great run! I took up snowshoeing seriously this year, and have already gone out four times in the last two weeks. I find that exercising outdoors is so much nicer than going to the gym, even though I love my gym! Congratulations! Report
Running for joy of it! Report
Being a native Floridian, I can't even fathom those conditions. But it looks interesting as well as challenging. Article was great and inspiring. Thanx Report
I love to run & try not to let the weather deter me. Some of my best runs have been in the worst weather... because nobody else is crazy enough to go outside! So I have the trail all to myself :-) I agree, running in the snow is so peaceful. It's invigorating as well, and it allows for meditation. It's the best! I highly recommend it, but make sure that you're dressed appropriately & that your route is safe before you go out, otherwise you won't enjoy it. Report