Tag Archives: winter running

Christmas running…

I’m chilling at my Dad’s place about an hour and a half northwest of Ottawa (Pembroke for those who know the area). It’s a winter wonderland here, complete with roads with rolling hills, acres of forest around the house to hike and snowshow in (see picture to the left), and lots of good-smelling food in the kitchen.

We had a pretty traditional morning, complete with gift opening and lots of caffine. Among my loot was a bunch of gift cards for a running store (yay for new gear!), and running jacket and a set of Henckel knives. We’re heading to Ottawa tomorrow (weather permitting) for some retail therapy (ya, like any of us need that after this seaons). The husband wants to hit up Silver Snail for their Boxing Day sale and I’m hoping to unload a few of these running store gift cards and pick up some new clothing that fits (it’s amazing how quickly one shrinks from running!).

But for now I’m enjoying, relaxing, spending time with family and friends. I went out for a quick 12 km this morning – the picture on the right is after I got back (my camera is busted, so these photos were taken with my parent’s camera, which has that annoying date stamp. I didn’t realize this till after and dont’ have access to photoshop… booo).

I hope you’re all having a fantastic holiday season, with lots of love, food and of course running!

Happy Holidays!

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Confessions of a winter runner…

Today’s post is a guest post by Allison Larsh, who was profiled on The Fartlek Runner’s Toronto Runner series.


[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=winter+running&iid=4510111″ src=”c/4/4/f/Unusual_Arctic_Cold_9f97.jpg?adImageId=8569166&imageId=4510111″ width=”380″ height=”248″ /]  You know the one thing that really kills me about summer days? That everyone else loves summer days. You go out for a run —say on a trail by a certain valley — and soon enough you realize that everyone (and their dog!) had the exact same idea. All of a sudden, escaping for a bit of solitude during a run is a little bit harder to do. But, switch the calendar a few months and I’m singing a different tune. I can run the 7.5 km loop without seeing a single other person. It’s me, the trail, and the sub-zero temperatures.

That’s right. My name is Allison and I’m a winter running fanatic.

First, let me get a few things I don’t like about running out of the way. These things are pet peeves, and it’s probably too early in our relationship to tell you about them because I’m afraid I’m going to come off as, well, a bit of a bitch. But, here it goes. I don’t like dodging people on the sidewalk, especially when they are on my half of the sidewalk. And I don’t like to be hot and sweaty. Also, I’m pale, and let’s face it, this skin was not made for the sun. And last, I run to be by myself. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy running with friends, because I truly do. But, a lot of the time, I run to get into a better headspace, my headspace, without interruptions. I know, this is making me sound cranky, it’s just that running really is my alone time.

The thing that people don’t seem to realize is that running is actually more comfortable in the winter. I know, it sounds crazy, but hear me out. It’s a summer day — let’s say a balmy twenty degrees centigrade. You go out, tank top and shorts, and you start out feeling fine. Then you knock out a few kilometers, and your internal temperature rises a few degrees. After 10 km, you’re outright hot. If it’s humid, your legs have started to feel heavy and every step feels a little bit harder than it should. This doesn’t happen when it’s cold. Instead, you start out a bit uncomfortable. But, throw on a hat, some winter leggings, a wind proof jacket with a soft under, and some mittens, and for the vast majority of the run, you’re… wait for it… comfortable. Last night, the Weather Network told me it felt like -14. Well, I’d like to argue. After 2K, it felt more like perfection.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=winter+running&iid=3429676″ src=”0/9/1/2/Germany_Hit_By_c388.jpg?adImageId=8568324&imageId=3429676″ width=”380″ height=”253″ /]Of course, there are some problems that I haven’t quite sorted out yet. For instance, I am not happy with how early it gets dark. And some days, with the wind chill it really is just too cold. But for the most part, I promise, once you get out there, you will wonder why it took you so long. There are days where the snow is fresh and the sun is shining and it will more than match that beautiful fall day or that perfect summer afternoon. One of the best things about living in Toronto is living in a city with four seasons. Winter is definitely one of our most, ahem, talked about. It’d be a shame to write it off without testing it out first. When you come home and pull off that ice encrusted toque and peel away the layers to settle into a bath, you’ll be proud of yourself for adding a little bit more of a challenge to that tempo run, or that speed work, or that long run. It will make you feel more confident in your running and more optimistic about what you, yes you, can do as a runner.

There’s certainly something hardcore about running in the winter. I don’t usually wave at runner’s during the summer (those fair weather runners!). In the winter though, I smile and sometimes even say “hi”. You can’t ignore the feeling of understanding. That is, in a nut shell, what I love about winter running. I don’t run to spend time with other people. I run because I love to run. When I see other runners, especially in the winter, I am struck by a feeling of community, and it always makes my run just a little bit better.

Oh, I almost forgot the absolute best thing: all that winter running gear totally hides any and all jiggling. Promise.

You can hear form Allison on her blog at www.larsh.ca

Hello winter…

The craziness of the season is here — the holiday parties, lunches, and shopping. With so many demands at this time of the year (not to mention the lovely slush storm Toronto had this week), it can be tempting to skip that midweek run to get more done, or to seek asylum in the warmth of your home. I know this because I did it Wednesday night. For the first time, I skipped a planned run. In my defense, I had just finished an hour-long weight lifting class and had run five speedy kilometers on the treadmill before that. But I had the best of intentions to finish this off with a brisk 10km. That was until I stepped out of the gym, and into the blustering cold of the city street, something in me said, “hell no.” I think my body may have been in shock — we’ve been spoiled with such a long and moderate autumn that made it seemed as if the reality of winter would never arrive (ya right, dream on!).

Instead, I went home Wednesday night and did some work on the blog (you’ll notice we now have a facebook page and there are a few other bells and whistles on the blog), and I didn’t give another thought to leaving the house.

Then yesterday I regretted not going for my run, and it made me think of one of quotes Allison Larsh told me about for her Toronto Runner profile: “I’ve often regretted not going for a run, but I’ve never regretted going for one.” So there was no skipping last night’s 10km. The official temperature was -9˚c, but with the wind chill chill to it to -21˚c!

I bundled myself up with two layers on the legs, three on the torso and a pair of double layered socks. I used one of those running headband things with a toque overtop and winter running gloves. The first few kilometers were uncomfortably cold and several times I regretted not lathering my rosy cheeks in Vaseline. There was an incredibly strong head wind coming from the west (the direction I was running into, but figured it better to have it on my back for the second half) that would nearly blow me into the streets when I crossed at intersections.

Despite all this, after the first few kilometers I was nice and toasty warm. My toes, which only a few blocks back felt like they were frost bitten, were now snug and warm, and I was trotting along a fairly decent pace.

What this long, drawn out post is getting at is, don’t skip your runs because of the cold weather (dangerous weather, yes. Cold and wind, no). It’s likely one of the few things that will keep us all sane through this insane time of year and land us on the other side fit and ready for another (much warmer) season!

This week’s runs:

Date Distance (km) Pace (/km) Time
December 2 14 4:39 1:04
December 3 10 4:53 48:42
December 6 25 5:00 2:04

Seasonal musings…

It officially appears to be that time of year again – that time when I will begrudgingly put away my running shorts (or at least relegate them to my gym bag), along with my tank tops and thin running socks, to don full-length pants, a fleece sweater, wind breaker, and double-layer socks.

Aside from the additional clothing requirements, there is something about running in the colder months that I find appealing; a quiet serenity that is lacking in the deliciously hot days of summer. And while it’s still fairly temperate, it won’t be long before each contraction of my lungs will yield visible puffs of moist air, and the sweat being wicked away from my body will freeze on the outer layers of my garments.

But during that time of year, the air is crisp and clean (or as clean as it can be in the largest city in the country) and it is as close to solitude as a Torontonian can get while being outdoors. Icy sidewalks are largely abandoned for underground routes. Typically busy trails and paths lack their usual mosaic of cyclists, roller bladders, and pedestrians. All that is left are the runners who push through the obstacles of their environment to achieve the goals they’ve set for themselves — whether that’s maintaining a base for next season or training for one of the early spring marathons.

I began my first running clinic in the dead of winter, and this year, I look forward to beginning the clinic for my first marathon in the same.

The past week’s runs:

Date Distance (km) Pace (/km) Time
November 10 13 4:50 1:02
November 14 8 4:47 38:09
November 15 18 5:07 1:31
November 17 10 5:00 49:51