Freezing Shmeezing: Winter Morning Running

by Shelley English

Evidently I have low standards.

This thought crossed my mind at 5:20 this morning. I was warming up for the first of our twice weekly predawn runs.  And my human running friends had unapologetically bailed on me.

To be fair, one friend injured her ankle several weeks ago.  The chilly weather has since crept in, and it seems understandable – wise, even – to stay in bed at least until daylight while she recovers.

My other friend informed me last night that she has higher standards…for higher temperatures, that is.  Her code?  Nothing below 20 degrees.

She had drawn a line in the frost.

Sure, it’s now below freezing most mornings. But “zero-dark-hundred” is still my favorite time to run.  One of the first things I noticed when running became part of the morning routine was how happy my dogs are to see me crawl out of bed.  Before, no one in my household was that excited so early in the morning!

There must be something in the crisp morning air. I love being one of the first in my neighborhood to step outside and breathe it in. I love the slight chill of spring and summer mornings…and yes, even the brisk fall and winter currents.

Geared up for winter running!

Mentally and spiritually, it’s simply the best way to begin a day.  It’s a great time for meditation and brainstorming, both during warm-up/cool down and during the run.  It gives me some time to clear my mind and check in with my soul before diving into all of the to-do lists.  And in the wintertime, there is nothing quite so serene as running during lightly falling snow.

And there is the bonus of accomplishment, having achieved my exercise goal before most people have even rolled out of their warm, cozy beds!

So maybe my standards are low…at least when it comes to the winter running temperatures I’m willing to endure.  But other than the ones I have declined, there has not yet been a morning run I have regretted.

Now, when my dogs don’t even want to go for a run with me, then I’ll know I’ve crossed the frost line!