I lived in Boston for a handful of years and ran through the “polar vortex” when I lived in New York City, so I’m not stranger to running in the cold. Last year, I decided to run a 10 miler and half marathon in January. The 10 miler was one of the most brutality cold and technically challenging races I’ve run.
Here’s how I prepare for races or runs in the cold, including the wind, ice and snow.
Clothing: It’s all about the layers. I start with “cold gear” leggings and long sleeve shirt, and my wind proof running coat. A good jacket is expensive but I bought mine for 50% off during a sale in Jan/Feb. Look for some that’s wind proof, and avoid anything that’s water proof - those can get really stuffy because they trap in moisture. I nearly always wear wool hiking socks and loosen my shoes a bit. They really help if it’s cold or wet. I top off my outfit with a neck gaiter, hat, and gloves. If it’s below ~25 degrees, I consider wearing heavier gloves like these. If it’s so cold that this outfit won’t cut it, I don’t run but the trick is to keep adding layers (or take your training indoors).
Motivation: It is tough getting out for a run in the dark, cold, wind, etc. I find that the best motivation is a running buddy. They get my butt out the door and help me last a LOT longer than I would alone. In NYC, my co-worker and I would meet at our work gym and run in Central Park. For long runs, I always join a local group (like this one).
Indoor Workouts: I’ve gotten sick after having run in really bad weather, so I try to mix up my outdoor runs and races with indoor training. I have mixed feelings on the treadmill, but I believe it’s a necessary evil. To make it a little less mind numbing, I’ll listen to a podcast or the new Nike Run Club guided runs. Year round, I spin at least one day a week. I love it. If I can’t get outside for long stretches, I’ll add another day of spin.
Lastly, make sure to drink plenty of fluids! I’m not great about drinking water during my winter runs, so I make sure to have a mix of water, homemade soup and tea once I’m home. Cheers!
This is a great time of year to peer pressure friends and family to join you for that local Jingle Bell Jog or spin class. The weather isn’t too cold yet and people are looking for an excuse to burn off holiday party over-indulgences. Plus, they can save their money for presents - most of the below is **FREE**
There are two new studios opening up in NoVA that are offering free classes. Since they are both franchises, they are also a great way to support a local business owner!
Cyclebar Falls Church is offering free classes through December 10th. There’s ample *free* parking under the Harris Teeter, so you don’t even need to go outside to get to the studio. Once the free classes end, use promotion code “201” in order to take advantage of the special opening rates.
Barre3 Clarendon is offering free classes in a “pop up” location in Arlington. There is street parking right outside of the location, and it is across from a Whole Foods and Starbucks (which saved me after their early morning class).
In addition, Lululemon Mosaic is hosting free yoga classes at 9:30 AM on Sundays in December.
Fitbit Local has two events coming up in DC, including Burpees & Beer on December 10th.
Barry’s Bootcamp is opening in Washington DC on December 9th, but alas I do not have a free class code for you…yet. I’ll try to get one for you!
DC Road Runners hosts many races throughout the year, most of which are free to members ($25 for the year). Not sure you want to commit to the annual membership? You can pay as little as $10 to participate in a race.
Potomac River Running hosts many inexpensive races throughout the season. They also have a really fun promotion right now, just in time for the holidays – 4 race entries for $110! It's good one to put on your wish list.
Altis Endurance Sports hosts several races in Virginia and Maryland. I recently ran the C&O Canal Towpath Path Half Marathon. Packet pickup was a breeze, parking was ample (and free!), and the fee included a t-shirt and finisher medal. I also won first female so I was awarded at pint glass too :) Use code “altisrunner15” for 15% off any race – which are all very affordable to begin with!
Kate Scott is an avid runner, who has completed three marathons and numerous half marathons. She travels frequently, most recently to Toulouse and Bordeaux in France. She currently lives in Northern Virginia and is a certified public accountant.