March 31st, 2014

10 Lessons Learned from Winter Running

By Jim Cielencki

Did anyone even know what the Polar Vortex was before this winter? No? Well, you’re not alone because I had no idea what the Polar Vortex was either. As you know, this winter has been full of snow with record cold temperatures. There’s been more below zero temps in Buffalo than I’ve seen in the last 15 years and even at the end of March, the weather does not seem to be getting any warmer.


This is my first winter back in the cold and it’s been a doozie so far. It also happens to be my first “real” winter as a runner. Honestly, there’s no comparison between winter running in Buffalo to winter running in Austin. Here’s 10 things I learned from my first “real” winter running:

  1. You will overdress even when it’s 20 degrees outside.
  2. Forget about PRs (personal records) for a season.
  3. You learn to never take for granted warm weather. Warm weather is anything over freezing.
  4. The cold air doesn’t hurt your throat if you’ve been running prior to the winter.
  5. You will learn it’s never as cold as your mind told you it would be.
  6. It’s like trail running…just every run. Sidewalks are never consistently shoveled, so you are constantly running on uneven surfaces.
  7. Everything looks prettier with snow which makes your normal routes more interesting.
  8. There’s even more sense of camaraderie with other runners who are out there.
  9. Feel unstoppable after running in the cold. Doing a 5K at 5 degrees and 30mph winds will make you feel very accomplished.
  10. You’re in shock when you catch yourself saying, “Oh it’s 21 degrees, that’s going to be a warm run!”

If you’ve been out in the streets then you know what it’s like and if you haven’t then don’t let this scare you. Your winter run will be far better than you expected when you’re prepared!

What are your winter fitness tips? Share them with us on social media with the hashtag #kindawesome


Jim Cielencki Contributor

Jim Cielencki is a former BMX professional who can't seem to shake the thrill seeker in him. He founded Sunday Bikes in 2005 and continues to wear many hats there today. Jim has also written for numerous BMX magazines and websites.
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