Sometimes running is really shitty. Not that I do not love it – because I love it – but there's almost nothing worse than trying to crank miles when it's dark and cold and windy and miserable and you really just want to Her bed snuggled up and looked The wonderful Mrs. Maisel. Can you say that I'm not a winter fan?
But as I struggled to train in this ice-cold New York winter pace, my network of badass runners motivating me really got me on my toes to get my butt out the door. And because it's all about sharing love, I bring them all their tips. Here's what the pros say about running when your nose, toes and entire body feel frozen.
Hollis Tuttle, instructor at the Mile High Run Club, suggests choosing gear designed specifically for the winter weather. "Thin, moisture-wicking layers are best worn on the skin," she says. "They'll pull the sweat away from the body and dry faster." Depending on the temperatures, you may also need a middle layer. However, you should definitely wear wind and rain resistant outerwear. "Your top layer should be made of breathable nylon or Gore-Tex to protect you from wind and potential rainfall," says Tuttle.
2. … but do not overdo it.
As catchy as it may be, would like you to feel the cold the first time you go outside. "In the first mile you should be cool – I know it sounds awful, but you're getting hotter," says Mike Keohane, head coach of Front Runners NYC. Especially in the rain, additional layers can work against you. "If it gets too hot for you, everything will get wet and you'll shiver when you get home," warns Keohane. Instead, opt for lightweight layers designed for harsh weather conditions – we love everything with merino wool, such as this Tracksmith long-sleeve waffle shirt or this Smartwool base layer.
. 3 Cover your extremities.
"Your hands and feet can quickly lose heat," says Tuttle. Gloves are a must, and a hat is also helpful to cover the ears. The legs are usually worked on the legs, so they do not need as much cover as body parts that do not move during the run. Keohane loves the thermal gloves from Uniqlo, which he finds just as effective as the well-known brand sports. Make sure your socks are thick, especially since your shoes are unlikely to provide much warmth. Keohane typically sticks to hiking socks from brands like Darn Tough to keep his feet warm and dry.
. 4 Find a buddy.
Kelly Roberts, marathon runner and running blogger of She Can & She Did, swears that plans to run with a friend before work are the secret weapon for accountability. "If my girlfriend freezes while waiting on a street corner because I invited her to run, I would never get her up," she says. "Suffering is always more fun when you do not have to do it alone." And if you can convince a friend to sign up for a race with you, that's even better – take the same training plan and keep up to date.
. 5 Sign up for a race.
There is nothing more motivating than throwing money for a winter race that forces you to practice. Keohane recommends short races in January, February and March to give you a reason to run. The more people you tell about your plans, the better! You will feel the self-imposed pressure to do your training, even if your brain (and this warm, comfortable couch) tells you otherwise.
. 6 Keep the end in sight.
Roberts says it's especially important in winter to remember why she's running. "Before and during a run, I might question my life choices – but in 97 percent of the time I love how I feel afterwards," she says. "Taking the time to stop feeling guilty about having to walk has changed my life, we never made a run, we're coming in. It's a choice." When you design your run as a gift to celebrate your healthy body and mind, it becomes so much more bearable.
The next time you fear those cold winter miles, you should always have these tips handy. And remember: No matter how miserable it feels now, spring is coming. If you continue training in bad weather, you are in the best of sunshine.
Sarah Ellis is a student, runner, writer and very bad dancer. Right in that second, she probably drinks kombucha and pretends that chocolate is a healthy food (because that's it, duh).