While many like to shy away from severe winter weather I have have told myself this year I will be doing the opposite.
When old man winter blows I will answer by suiting up with enough gear to both feel toasty while I train this winter, but terrifyingly as well look like some of sort of post apocalyptic pumpkin man in my bright orange wind shell to ensure I will be seen at night.
I am doing this for two reasons.
The first: I am deathly tired of feeling trapped and deprived of a runners high in the winter months, watching hard earned training base fade away waiting for mild / spring days before putting in serious time on the trails.
The second: I have committed to run and be a Social Media Team member for the Hamilton Around The Bay Race (#AroundTheBay) which means I have to train in the winter this year in order to put in a good showing for the 120th anniversary of the event and try to beat my existing 30K PR!
So this had me out running an exciting 10k out in negative 22C weather, with wind and blowing snow dressed like a mad man, and I will tell you now, it was actually a ton of fun.
At some point in our lives we just seem to stop going out to play in the snow when the news labels the day snowmageddon etc. We feel like we should simply turtle and sit under a blanket until Jack Frost takes off and the sun comes out again.
However what we forget in doing this is what we knew as kids, when the weather is a mess an adventure can be had right in our own backyard.
Try to stay with me here but on Saturday night I did a simple 10K route in the Toronto Beaches waterfront that I have done countless times before. The difference this time was my heart was pounding with adrenaline with a goofy smile hidden under my balaclava and ski goggles not from the run, but unknown.
Wind whipped at my body, my feet kicked through snow drifts hindering my pace, my ski goggles fogged then frosted to half visibility, all while lake Ontario to my left showed it’s mean side with large powerful waves breaking and crashing in to the rocks sending frozen spray in to the air.
Only able to see in front of me a few feet at times, occasionally realizing my best guess at where the trail was was a bit off and I ran cross country on the grass tree to tree waiting for the feel of boardwalk again, I remembered how much fun it was to be a kid. To be bundled up to the point of looking ridiculous, knowing for certain that you would not feel cold regardless the condition of the weather as long as you kept playing.
It was that feeling off freedom and fun you get on the perfect day running on a sunny summer day, in the dead of night, in a blizzard under almost restrictive layers of clothing.
This run was proof to me that training in the winter is little more then a state of mind. If you put a bit of thought / trial and error in to what you should wear to perform and be comfortable, (not necessarily look like a sane person) it will allow you to train the way you want, where you want regardless of season and weather conditions.
So why not make your new years resolution early this year and jump off the deep end with me for a winter of outdoor training.
Sign up for any of the great winter / spring races that need you to start pushing your body now and feel like a kid again having an adventure on a cold winter day.
P.S. Don’t forget the hot chocolate after you’re done, it’s a key part to the entire experience.
Special thanks to Columbia Sportswear for the Omni Heat Base Layer that I have been testing out, it has no doubt made winter training far more comfortable this year!