Brooke Nicholls Nelson: Don’t let your running shoes get cold feet
Nov 23, 2013 | 5438 views |  0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Days are shorter. Temperatures are lower. The great outdoors isn’t so inviting, right?

Nonsense. Winter is the time to prove what kind of runner you are. To quote Pooh, “There’s a 100 percent chance of weather.” This is true every day of the year. So make the best of it.

With a little bit of planning, winter runs can become your favorite outing.

To get you motivated, here are three reasons to love winter runs:

1. Get tough: Running in the winter can test and strengthen your mental and physical toughness. When that alarm goes off at 5 a.m. and your bed is warm and toasty, it takes strength to throw back the covers, tie on those shoes and head out the door. Plus, running helps ward off the winter blues by being active in chillier temps. Take a cue from your dog and let cold weather make you all bouncy.

2. Battle the bulge: Your summer body will be so happy you made the effort to run in the winter because it won’t have to work so hard to look good in skimpy running shorts and tank tops when warm weather rolls around.

3. Train for the race: People ask me all the time, “Do you really run when it’s raining?” (substitute “15 degrees,” ”snowing,” “sleeting,” etc.) My best advice is that if you train only when it’s nice outside, what happens when the weather isn’t nice on race day? Training in all types of conditions will give you a huge confidence boost on race day. No matter what the weather, you’ll be ready.

Now that you’re motivated to hit the pavement this winter, here’s a few tips to help keep you running:

1. Gear up: My middle son, Cole, a mountaineer instructor, always says, “There is no such thing as inclement weather, just inappropriate clothing.” There is a multitude of functional and fun winter gear. The important thing to remember is to dress like it’s 20 degrees warmer outside than the thermometer reads because you’re going to warm up. Layers allow you to peel off what you don’t need.

2. See and be seen: Safety should be your No. 1 priority year round, but being safe in the winter months takes a little more thought and preparation. That safety vest, reflective apparel, flashlight or blinkie doesn’t do you any good in the console of your car. Get it out and use it.

3. Bond with buddies: Running is always more fun when you share the road with friends. The old adage, “Misery loves company” is never truer than when running on a cold, windy, dark road with your best running buddy. Plus, there is safety in numbers.

4. Set a goal: Nothing motivates you to hit the road or trail more than knowing you have a race challenge in a few months. Go ahead and register for an event in the spring. Winter running will get you to your goal.

5. Treadmill mileage: I cringe when I think of running on the treadmill, but actually, it’s not the running on it that I don’t like — it’s the falling off the back that really chaffs my knees. I am treadmill-challenged. But for some people, treadmill training keeps them in shape through the winter, and for that I applaud them. So if you just can’t get out the door when the temps drop, jump on a treadmill and log the miles.

The takeaway here is not to use winter as an excuse not to run. You may surprise yourself and end up loving the benefits winter running provides.


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a pedestrian is injured in a traffic accident every eight minutes. There is a great video on YouTube, provided courtesy of 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material, that shows how well pedestrians, including runners, can be seen in the dark from various distances. The No White at Night Challenge, as it is called, highlights (no pun intended) the importance of wearing reflective gear, not just white or light-colored clothing, when jogging at night.

The video asks the question, “How many runners do you see?”

At 1,000 and again at 500 feet, the reflective tape of three runners is visible. At 250 feet, it’s possible, if you are looking for it, to make out the shadowy figure of additional runners behind the original three. It is not until 100 feet, that all seven runners in the demonstration can finally be seen.

See the video in its entirety on YouTube here: “No White at Night” by ReFlex Safety.
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