Things I Learned on a Extremely Cold 13 Mile Run

Saturday morning I woke up and checked the weather. I was not amused. I had a 13 mile run with Run Camp and it was 8 degrees outside. Oh, but it felt like -6. Well my bed was a warm 70 degrees and there was a husky snuggled so close to me that I would wager that it was even a few degrees warmer. Let’s just say that I seriously thought about pushing snooze and rolling over. Instead, I got up and pulled out my warmest tights, a pair of pants to go over those tights, two thermal shirts, a windbreaker jacket, gloves, a fleece gator and headband, warm smartwool socks, my running shoes and yaktrax. Yep. I was good to go.

At this point I realized once again that I am in fact one of those ‘crazy runners’.

Not only was it super cold and windy, but it was very icy out. Not fabulous run conditions, no. Luckily I have an amazing group to run with and we were ready to embrace these miserable miles together.

There is always a thing or two to learn when running in extreme temps. Here are a few things that I got schooled in Saturday morning:

  • Your hair will look white from the frost that will accumulate.
  • Your nose will run constantly. But no worries, you won’t even notice because your face will be frozen. Oh, and then that snot will freeze onto your face. It’s a real sexy look.
  • You will have wind burn on your face when your run is over. You will want to go home immediately and slather vaseline all over your face. There is no shame in this.
  • That Gu that you brought for your fuel will freeze into a popsicle.
  • Speaking of freezing, don’t even bother stopping at the water stops because the water will be frozen and therefore undrinkable.
  • No breaking pace records here. You will have to run slow. Ice is not your friend in this equation and if you go too fast you might just land on your bum.
  • You will discover that it is in fact possible to have no feeling in your legs or feet, yet amazingly they will continue to work to carry you 13 miles.
  • But the most important lesson that you will learn is this:

Seriously, no matter how cold it was and how it sucked battling the ice, it still felt pretty bad ass to be out there MOVING! So yeah, I was moving a little slower than usual, but I was still working up a sweat (and we all know how much I love to sweat!). When I finished I felt a lot of pride for getting out there and tackling this training run despite the not so great conditions. I know that if I can tackle tough runs like this one, then I am building up my mental game for race day.

What are some lessons that you have learned while training in not so great weather conditions?

6 thoughts on “Things I Learned on a Extremely Cold 13 Mile Run

  1. 8 degrees!? You are freaking hard core! That’s awesome!! I feel silly now complaining about my little old 28 degree run from this weekend :-)

    Lessons I have learned…always wear layers when it’s cold, take it easy and pay attention to the ground in the ice/snow, and it always helps having friends to run with in not so great conditions!

  2. Ok, and I thought *I* was badass for running a measly 4.5 miles in 15 degree temps yesterday. But 13 in -6 degrees?? You are my HERO!!! And seriously, I love that concept – that running is a blessing. It is SO SO true, yet so easy to forget in the heat of the moment sometimes. Love your perspective, as usual!

  3. Yes, it might be the last thing you think about but at least we have our health. What a way to turn a cold negative into a warm positive.

    Running in tough conditions makes me feel like a bad a**:)

  4. You ARE a badass! Much badder than me! One trick I’ve learned from running in cold weather is that taking a Mucinex beforehand works wonders. I swear, it’ll make your nose run less. Try it and let me know if it works for you!!

  5. Last weekend was absolutely atrocious! I can truthfully say that I’ve never done a long run in cold like that, but what you said about the water and the fuel? Sounds spot-on. And horrifying.

    I’m so glad that you muscled through – that is exactly the sort of run that will stick with you and across the finish line!

  6. My runs in extreme weather haven’t been the fastest or longest but they have been some of the most satisfying. They force me to realize I am doing this for me, that I want this, that I can. I can because I am a runner. It’s not fast or slow or gear or friends or family or anything else that makes me a runner. I am a runner because I put on a pair of shoes and run.

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