Why I hate Winter running

Every winter I complain about the weather, despite living in the midwest my entire life I hate snow, cold, ice, wind, anything to do with winter. I was loving the unseasonable warmth and lack of snow but now mother nature has brought winter with a vengeance.

I never know what to wear and the entire process of getting running tights, turtlenecks and every other piece of required clothing on (and off) is a long process. I'm always worried that I'll be too warm or not warm enough. It seems the older I get the more sensitive I am to the cold, especially my hands and feet. Despite Smart Wool socks (sometimes 2 pairs) and mittens rated to -15F I always end up with cold, weak, painful numb hands/feet to the point that I have self-diagnosed Raynauds.

I live between two park reserves with a combined 30+ miles of paved trails and regional trails leading to even more. Most of the year this is wonderful for training complete with hills, water and bathrooms. This isn't the case in winter, the bathrooms are locked, water off and trails not cleared, so once it snows I lose most of my running routes. And the ice, I hate icy paths after my fall last winter resulting in a broken arm. Luckily the snow is pretty packed so I am still able to get decent footing on about half the paths.

Today I debated the treadmill but headed out in 10F with -3 wind chill to run 18 miles. Started out nice and warm but that changed after about 7 miles when my hands/feet weren't too happy. Later in the run I discovered a new annoyance of winter running, frozen water bottles! I'm not a fan of cold water, I always carry around a bottle of room temperature water during the day so drinking cold water outside during a run is not fun. About 10 miles in I grab an electrolyte chew from my pocket (which is half frozen), finally chew that and grab my water bottle only to discover the top has frozen shut. Despite my best efforts at opening and thawing with my mouth I'm out of luck. My hands are too weak from the cold to even attempt to open the top. Now I'm stuck, no water and an electrolyte chew sitting in my stomach undigested. I momentarily consider a handful of snow, but quickly decide against it with all the animals around. I'm at a point where I could turn off and head home which is only 2 miles, but decide against it, the warm house would be too comfortable and I'd probably stay.

I'm okay for awhile, but soon start to feel the lump of undigested gel sitting in my stomach, yuck! This feeling continues until the urge to vomit around mile 16 takes over. The lack of water isn't helped by the fact that I started my run likely dehydrated. 16 hours earlier 4 glasses of wine sounded like a good idea, not any more. This run really sucks, I want summer back complete with heat, clear paths and water in liquid form.

Slower then expected I finally complete 18.5 miles in about 2:43:00. Only a couple more months to complain about this weather and make the dreaded decision of treadmill v snow and cold for a long run.


  1. Ugh, no fun at all. That sounds a lot like my marathon training a year ago in upstate NY. I don't miss the winters, although we do hope to end up back on the east coast so it's probably going to be my normal weather for life, too. :)


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