According to Punxsutawney Phil, we have another six weeks of winter to endure. This is grim news for most of us living in the Midwest, who at this point are weary of the short and gray days, cold temperatures, and freezing precipitation that often accompanies this forecast. Many runners, rather than suffer exposure to the harsh elements, opt to train indoors – often resorting to treadmills. To me, however, there is nothing more tedious than getting nowhere despite the expenditure of immense amounts of energy: literally running in place, like a hamster on a wheel. That may be all fine and dandy for the hamster, but I need to go places! Thus, I find myself bundling up to brave the frigid temperatures, biting winds, and slick footing. But the truth is, I really don’t mind running in the cold, and here are a few reasons why:
Living in a highly populated area with ample walking paths and trails, there is never a shortage of people out running, walking, cycling, or rollerblading on pleasant, mild days. But when the weather turns bitter, only the most zealous of runners can be found braving the elements. This creates several benefits: 1) less crowds to fight through on the prime running paths, and 2) a sense of camaraderie when you pass by that other, somewhat-masochistic runner on a 20-degree day.
Spending Time Outdoors
As hard as it is to initially get out the door on frigid days, there is something exhilarating about being outside. During the dark days of winter I consider the bear to be my spirit animal, as all I want to do is eat a large quantity of fattening comfort food, curl up in bed, and sleep until spring. Unfortunately, hibernation is not a viable option for people. What I have found, though, is by doing the opposite – by actually getting up, outside, and moving – I feel invigorated and less prone to narcolepsy. And, even better, my mood is no longer dictated by external factors such as the weather; instead, I can take action and improve my overall attitude regardless of the fickle forecast.
The Sense of Peace and Contentment
There is just something about running in the cold: the crisp air, the delicate dusting of snow, and the solitude of customarily busy paths. While most focus on the aggravations of winter, it truly is a beautiful season, and an opportunity to reflect and prepare for the upcoming spring.
So rather than curse the poor obese rodent for his forecast this year, let us instead bundle up and enjoy the season!
Until our paths cross again,