Winter Running...a way to get outside and get active during the lockdown.

Today we have a blog from one of commUNITY's founders, Deanna Burger. She has some great tips on running that have come from her experience starting as a novice all the way to running a marathon! 

Running puts the tiger in the cat. ~Bill Squires

I have a love-hate relationship with running. I’m not a gazelle nor does running come easily. In fact I may look more like flailing Phoebe from Friends than I like to admit. But I do love it. I started running after a particularly demanding time at work many years ago. In fact, my first day with the Running Room Learn -to-Run clinic was a 1 min run, 1 min walk exercise. I lasted :30 sec then laid down on the ground and told the coach to continue without me. I eventually got up, tried again and it slowly started to stick with me. Running has become significant in my life. Often when I feel lost or at a crossroads, I challenge myself with new distances, just to see what I am made of. Without fail, it has helped to clarify who I am and the strength within me.

Running has helped me cope with living through the pandemic lock down over the last few months and I wanted to share some tips. Through my years of training, whether it be for my Marathon or a 10k, I’ve come to love winter running. There’s a peacefulness to an early morning run on fresh, white snow while watching the sun sparkle. There’s also something hard-core about splashing through gross slush and having the salt freeze on your face after a strong-effort run. In any case, I hope these tips are helpful to you!

- Starting: If you have not run before, or haven't run in a while, your first run doesn’t need to be long or hard. Moving is the key objective. I recommend a 1 min on, 1 min off format or something similar. On days when I mentally need a break, I commit to running for 10 min. Of course I find that at the 10 min mark I want to keep going, but that initial target is a good way to get me going at all!

- Attire: Running increases your body temp approximately 10’C. So dressing for how you will feel 10 mins into the run is key. Layers can make for a more comfortable run by keeping your core, feet and head warm. Start with sweat wicking base layer and build from there depending on the temperature. I love winter running socks because they keep your feet warm and also dry when pounding through the snow and slush. I don’t bother with mitts unless it’s extremely cold, instead I opt for shirts with cuffs which go over my hands. This keeps the heat inside while offering instant ventilation when needed and nothing extra to carry. Footwear can be key as well. Trail running shoes are ideal as they are built for unsteady terrain and tend to keep your feet protected from the elements.

- Pace: Watch where you’re stepping. It sounds simple, but this is when accidents happen. Decrease your pace when the terrain is uncertain. Look ahead and plan your route one block or section at a time. You may find it best to change sides of the streets based on how clear the path is. This can be annoying, but it’s also secretly adding distance under your feet.

- Effort: Especially when life is a little more difficult, be kind to yourself. And be realistic. Listen to your body and heart then change your run accordingly. There are days when I need to release mounting anxiety or frustration and a hard, sweaty run feels great. But recently, there have been more days where I struggle to find the energy to put pants on. So, I add layers, take it slow and add plenty of restorative walk breaks. It’s not about the distance – it’s about the fresh air, moving and doing something productive. Even a ‘meh’ run feels better than no run.

- Mindset: There have been the elusive days when running feels natural and easy, but many days aren’t like that. I often use this time to daydream, work out problems, think of new ideas or consider life’s options. On days when motivation is hard, I focus on all the good things running does for my health; I count the people who say hello back to me; I list things I like about it (like the accessories, being outside, sweating, looking at cool houses, discovering new areas in the city) and of course feeling good about that glass of wine with dinner! For me running is 98% mental and 2% physical – getting out of your head is hard to do sometimes, but that’s part of the challenge.

No matter how slow you are, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch. ~Nike

Regardless of the day, I have always viewed running as a gift. I am physically able to run, and as I get older I appreciate that every day. And of course, during the lock down, just being able to do something different and healthy, well that has become so much more important. In fact, it’s almost a luxury.

So, lace up those shoes and have a great run!


Success isn’t how far you go, but the distance you travelled from where you started. ~Steve Prefontaine

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Get to know commUNITY founder: Darby Burger

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