winter running

I used to loathe everything about winter: the cold, the dark, the snow, the ice, the cold. (Did I mention the cold?) I dreaded January and February, and spent those two months counting down the days until I could shed some layers and feel the sun on my skin and my toes in the sand. I still got out and ran, but I’d grumble and complain about it. And the whole time, I’d be daydreaming of warm summer mornings when I could just throw on a sports bra and shorts.

But somehow, over the past few years, I’ve made a complete turnaround. I have come to truly enjoy winter. It’s been a gradual process, starting with convincing myself to at least embrace the season. I told myself I didn’t have to like it, but I could accept it and find some positives. 

Once I started looking, I found more positives than I had expected: A blanket of snow makes everything beautiful, especially if the sun is shining. Cold, dark winter afternoons are perfect for cozying up under a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book—or a movie marathon with your kids. (And it’s even better when you have the heavy satisfaction of an early morning run in your legs.) And let’s not forget all the delicious comfort foods of winter. I finally understood that whole Danish Hygge tradition: a true appreciation for the season. 

Also, in part due to perimenopause, I am now warm all the time. Running in the heat and humidity of our New England summers, if I’m being honest, now just sucks the life out of me. Come July, I’ve slogged through those soupy runs, daydreaming of cold, snowy mornings, and wondering who I’ve become. Am I a person who actually looks forward to winter? As I sit here typing this, listening to the cold wind howl outside, I’m nodding my head and saying yes, yes I am

But what I look forward to most is winter running. There is nothing like that first step outside on a winter morning. The door shuts, and that last little gasp of warmth from inside pushes me out into the bracing cold.

And the quiet. The blissful quiet. 

winter running

Silence and winter sunrises are golden.

The silence of a winter morning is magic, because it’s more than silence. It’s like a hush has fallen over everything. Those mornings, I don’t mind if my Garmin can’t find a signal right away, because I enjoy being still for a minute and soaking it all in.

As the saying goes, it’s only cold if you’re standing still, and truer words have never been spoken. Any chill is gone almost as soon as I start running, and a mile or so in I reach that lovely equilibrium of a toasty warm core contrasted with the brisk air all around me. I’m ensconced in a little bubble of warmth as I move through the cold air.

It’s my Goldilocks moment. Not too hot, not too warm, just right. 

Post-winter-run, I move forward in my day with the same sense of accomplishment I feel after a run in any weather, but with a little extra edge. After a summer run, I feel accomplished but drained, and wrung dry. After a spring or fall run, I feel bouncy and joyful, channeling the energy of the changing seasons. 

After a winter run, I feel cleansed and at peace.

The cold seems to bring everything into focus. It lends an air of clarity and sharpness to the day. Especially on those super cold mornings, where almost nobody else is out and about. Moving through that cold feels like sacred time and is somehow both invigorating and calming. 

I still savor every moment of my summers, especially when I’m beachside with my toes in the sand. But when it comes to running, I realize that winter is now my time to shine.

We want to know:
Have you learned to love winter running?