For three consecutive years, from late spring to early winter, I ran six days a week for my high school’s cross country team —and I was in the best shape of my life. I was running close to a seven-minute mile, something I’m so far from now it’s laughable. I now call myself an ex-runner.
Since my cross country days, I’ve struggled to motivate myself to run consistently. I must say, it's no easy feat. But I made a commitment to myself that 2016 would be my best year. For me, that means eating healthier and getting in shape. So I dug out a sweatshirt and an old scarf, threw on some sweatpants and, to my dismay, stepped outside to run — on a day that it was twenty degrees and snowing. I was not pleased.
I was surprised to find that jogging in the cold was actually quite pleasant! Starting this new fitness regimen in Buffalo, NY’s finger-freezing winter — and enjoying it — has convinced me that winter is the best time to start running. If you’re hesitant to get out there, here are eight reasons why winter is the best time to start jogging from someone who’s out there doing it herself.
1. It’s easier than you think Running is so good for you that adding a little bit of it into your weekly routine has major benefits. Running for just 10 minutes, three days per week can vastly improve your health!
2. No one will see you sweat If the gym makes you nervous because you don’t like sweating like a pig in front of all the skinny minis and weight-lifting masters, this is a great alternative. Either no one will see you sweating because hardly anyone is out, or it will be so cold you won’t sweat at all!
3. The frequency of catcallers decreases in winter I was often nervous when running in public spaces during summers living in D.C., Philadelphia and Buffalo because there were catcallers galore. No matter what time, no matter what day, I would always get catcalled. Sometimes men (and women, too) would honk from their cars or pull over to catcall me. This hasn't happened to me once since I started jogging in winter. Maybe it’s because there are fewer people in the park, so there are fewer catcallers out harassing people? Whatever the reason, I'm enjoying jogging without worry.
4. It’s the cheapest way to get exercise No gym membership required, no fancy equipment necessary. All you need is your sneakers, your warmest sweats and a hint of determination.
5. There are countless benefits Wintertime jogging is not only beneficial to your health, it’s beautiful and relaxing. There’s gorgeous snowy scenery. The cold air is refreshing, especially if you need a morning or mid-day pick-me-up. Plus, exercise is one of the best ways to de-stress.
6. You can run super slow and no one will look at you sideways Because wintery weather can include snow and ice depending on where you live, you have to jog slowly and carefully, so as not to bust your a—ahem—slip and fall on the ice.
7. You have an excuse to drink all the delicious warm winter beverages You have to warm up quickly post winter run, and what better way to do it than having some hot cocoa, spiced cider or your favorite hot tea!
8. I’ll be doing it with you This is an adventure that we can go on together. I’m committed to running every other day for a minimum of 10 minutes per day. Try it with me for one month. I bet you’ll grow to love running in winter, too. We can share our successes, struggles and selfies while we can get fit together.
Don’t get me wrong, running is hard AF. That’s the blunt truth. But it can also be incredible. When you’re jogging along, motivating yourself to finish that next block, then the next one, then the next one — you feel powerful. You are powerful. That feeling is why I run, and why I think you should try it, too.