Food Isn’t Bad. Exercise Isn’t Bad. You’re Not Bad.

“Life is too short to spend a day at war with yourself” 


Food is good. Exercise is good. You’re good!

Less than a month ago, a certain type of post started circulating the social world. You’ve seen them, you know – the ones that imply the food you eat must be burned off through X hard minutes of X type of dreadful exercise. The ones that make you think twice about treating yourself to a food or meal you enjoy, but may not be the healthiest. The ones that make you feel guilty and awful about yourself, with exhausting cardio and bullshit burpees as the only way to recover from the shame and excess.

The ones that really piss me off.

Yes, these posts are coming again to a social network near you. And seeing them more is fueling my fire to want to address them and the message behind them. Because, no matter the time of year, whether they’re at the peak of popularity or not, that negative message doesn’t go away. So we’re going to talk about this topic again: Food isn’t the enemy. Exercise isn’t punishment. And you’re not bad.

Yum, Food 


Food is good – enjoy it, don’t fear it.

Food. It’s a great thing. It’s delicious. It has social ties. It’s necessary for our daily functions. It’s family traditions. It’s fuel for a great workout and recovery for our bodies after the tough workouts.

Yum, food. It’s all these wonderful things. When viewed in this positive light, a person can have a good relationship with food and see it for what it is. However, too many people view food in a negative way. These negative associations lead to people having bad relationships with food, seeing it for what it’s not.

Let’s be clear about a few things food is not. It’s not bad. It’s not something to be avoided. It’s not something that should cause shame or guilt. It’s not a villain. And, I can’t say this enough, it’s not the enemy.

Now that we’ve covered that, it’s time to look at the other side of this – exercise.

Boom, Exercise

Exercise is a great thing. It’s good for your heart. It builds confidence. It’s been proven to prevent diseases. It can be social. It’s stress-relief. It’s empowering.

Boom, exercise. It’s all these wonderful things. When viewed in this type of positive light, a person can have a good relationship with exercise and see it for what it is. However, too many people view exercise in a negative way. These negative associations lead to people having bad relationships with exercise, seeing it for what it’s not.

Let’s be clear about a few things exercise is not. It’s not a chore. It’s not for erasing calories. It’s not something to be avoided or dreaded. It’s not something done to combat the guilt of eating. And, I can’t say this enough, it’s not punishment.

Live The Life You Want 


If you created this, I want to punch you in the face. You don’t “have to” do a damn thing because you ate a doughnut. You can eat a doughnut and move on with your life. Or, you can eat a doughnut and use it to further your next workout! #mindset

Now, to the people who create and share food-to-calorie-exercise-burning content: Who the hell do you think you are? Can you honestly tell me every time you “slip up” and eat a Reese’s you do 50 burpees to burn it off? And every time you “cave” and go to happy hour for a beer, you walk for 2 hours after, at a brisk pace, to cancel it out? Are you seriously going to go for a 15-mile run to pay for your once-a-year Thanksgiving “cheat meal”? If you do, that makes me sad but hey, different strokes for different folks. But I’m guessing you don’t. So why would you be an asshole and make anyone feel like they should have to pay penance for their food or feel like the eating choices they make are bad ones? Stop it. Or at least keep that shit to yourself.

Finally, a little reality check on all this. I’m not saying there isn’t a relationship between food and exercise. I know that exercise burns calories and is a method for weight loss. I know that active people can have more eating freedom and those who are sedentary maybe feel they can’t be as carefree. I know there’s a correlation between the amount of calories you’re taking in with the amount you’re burning off for health and weight management.

I know all this. And I’m not trying to say you should eat with reckless abandon or feel bad if you appreciate that exercise helps you maintain your weight. I guess I’m trying to advise that we all focus more on positive thinking vs. negative. Striving for balance vs. striving for perfection. Living a life that makes you happy, yet one that knows discipline.

Having a positive association with food and exercise isn’t something that happens overnight. Like mental wellness and mindfulness, it’s a process, something that’s ongoing to a degree. I’m still not totally there but I’m working on it. Always trying to find my happy balance. And, I guess I’m trying to do my part to help you find your happy balance too.

Where do you stand on your relationship with food and exercise? Do you agree with my outlook or do you see exercise as something you need to do to cancel out your eating, and eating something that must be erased by exercise? Post a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Staying Sane in a Stressful World

“Serenity now” 


We’d often have Friday beers to combat the stress that was agency life.

I used to work for an ad agency. As you would guess, it could be stressful. Sometimes, really stressful. A co-worker (and fellow former smoker) and I used to have days where we seriously talked about starting smoking again…we’d have just one or maybe we’d just do it for that day. I never did and I never will again but, sometimes…

Smoking used to be one of my stress coping strategies. Ew. Few things make me ever want to pick up a cigarette again. But there are those rare occasions where so much stress, frustration, anger and everything else just builds to the point where my mind goes back to that place.

This week was one of those times, one that really tested my patience and mental well-being. Just one of those weeks, I hope…maybe because it was a Friday the 13th week? I found myself thinking about smoking a few times but then I’d quickly shift my mind to one of my new strategies. One of the things that helps to calm my mind and deal with the stress. And it worked! Still cigarette-free for 10+ years!

In my efforts to be more mindful and mentally balanced, I’ve been more conscious of these coping strategies. The things that make me feel better when life seems to be a clusterfuck. The things that help me to be the best version of myself. Here are the top 10 – who knows, maybe they’ll help you next time life gets you frazzled!

1. Make The Bed Every Morning
Take something chaotic and messy, and make it neat. It’s a great way to start the day and it’s always a plus getting into a fresh bed at night.

2. Put an Ice Cube in Coffee
No waiting for coffee. No burned tongues. Another way to get things off to a good start early in the day.


This girl – we became friends because we both loved the show Friends & we’re still great friends!

3. Everything Can Be Related Back to Seinfeld
Please see the above quote that kicked off this blog. This rule also applies to Friends. What can I say, maybe laughter is the best medicine (not love, as Monica suggests – lol to my Friends peeps on that one).

4. Life Is Better With A Dog
Few things make me feel better than seeing my dogs, stressful day or not. Some days I’ll take a full lunch hour just to go home and see them. I know dogs aren’t for everyone, however, if you can put in the time, money and effort they deserve, I highly recommend bringing one into your family.

5. Do Nice Things For Others
This probably sounds cheesy but doing something nice for someone else boosts my mood and makes me feel more sane. Try it. Even if it doesn’t make you feel better, you’ll be making someone else feel better.

6. Have One Friend You Can Eat With and Vent To – Both Judgment-Free
Mine’s name is Erick. Our friendship is based on hilarious college memories, similar career experiences and, most importantly, food. We both love food. We eat it together often and it’s some of the best therapy and stress relief there is.

7. It’s Okay If You Don’t Want To Talk
This is why email and text messaging was invented.

There are times I’m just not up to talking, especially when I’m super-stressed. Things might fly out of my mouth that shouldn’t, I might randomly break into tears, it’s just a crapshoot. And that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with just not wanting to talk.

8. Be Active
Yes, I’m a fitness enthusiast. But when I say “Be Active” I don’t mean you have to go for a 10-mile run or have a super-heavy, hour-long lifting sesh. I mean, go for a 15 minute walk at lunch. Get up from your desk to go up and down the stairs a few times. Take an evening stroll and unwind. Just do something! I do all of these things regularly and they make a difference.

Being active doesn’t mean you have to train for a marathon or spend hours in the gym. Just move your ass a little bit. It’s really good for you.


A few of my favorites.

9. Surround Yourself With Positive People
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become pickier about my friends. Time to go out and time to just hang out or time to just catch up with calls and texts isn’t as abundant these days. So there’s no point in dedicating that precious time to people who don’t make me feel my best. Thanks, friends!

Then there’s the people you can’t choose to be around but you may just get lucky. My workplace structure is divided into large teams, then smaller teams. The people on my smaller team, less than a dozen of them, are the ones I interact with most days. And they’re the ones who make the workplace better. I’ve had jobs where I love my co-workers, others not so much. This group is full of the best.

Quoting TV shows. Leaving little notes, cards and encouragement. Coming through on projects. Sharing hilarious stories. Some days, it’s just nice – other days, it’s necessary. Thanks, team!

And last, but not least:

10. When In Doubt, Always the Beatles
Music saves me more than anything else, There’s always something out there to match my mood and give the boost I need. Some days, it’s a lighter classic, like Fleetwood Mac or Van Morrison. Others, I need to scream along with 30 Seconds to Mars or rock out to 311. On the tougher days, there’s the really powerful ones that speak to me on a deep level, like Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell.

Regardless of what my mood strikes, I’ve found that I can’t go wrong with the Beatles.

These are just a few of the things that keep me sane and keep me balanced. How about you? What are your tricks to beating stress and being your best? Share your mindful tips! Post a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Running Without Dogs – The Pros and Cons

“The best running partner is a four-legged one”

Something rare happened tonight. Something that hasn’t happened in the past few months. I went for a post-work run by myself. No dogs. Just me. Weird!


The tired & happy post-run face – gets me every time.

As I was going through the miles, I couldn’t help but think about both of my running partners – and the lack of both of them throughout the miles. At first, I thought about the upsides of running alone, but with each upside, quickly came a downside.

I love running with my dogs. 100% I will always choose to run with them vs. without. But I still came up with some upsides and downsides to both. Here are my Pros and Cons of running without dogs.

Pro: I Don’t Worry for Their Safety
It’s dark before 5:30. Drivers don’t pay attention at intersections. Just a couple reasons I worry when I run with Burton and Blitz. It’s one thing if a driver almost hits me when I’m running. Believe me, they know about it. I go into full-on drama queen-mode and make DAMN sure they know. Imagine if someone almost hit one of them?!

It sometimes makes me nervous to run with my dogs. Not only do other drivers not pay attention to humans, both my dogs have dark fur so they’re extra hard to see. That reminds me, I should probably get them some bright and/or reflective running gear. If any of you work for companies that make this sort of thing for dogs, I have a 20-pounder and a 60-pounder – hint, hint.

But on the other hand…

Con: I Worry More for My Safety Without Them
Even though it’s early evening in the basically-safe town of Fargo, ND, there’s always a part of me that gets a little scared running alone after work. From unlit bike paths to tons of construction sites to, you just never know who’s living in a neighborhood. I mean, I’m pretty sure Jeffrey Dahmer lived in a modest house in a nice, quite suburban neighborhood, right? #justsayin

I don’t wear headphones and I’m very aware of my surroundings, I definitely avoid getting too close to vans with curtains, dark tint or that have, “Free Candy” painted on the side. But you just never know what’s out there and I never want to let my guard down and allow myself to become susceptible.

Whether or not it actually makes me safer, there’s just something about having a dog with me while running that makes me feel safer. Especially the big black lab – though she’s the bigger sweetheart of the two. Just can’t let the random murderers and kidnappers become wise to that.
Pro: I’m SO Much Faster By Myself
I finished tonight’s 10k in fewer than 47 minutes. Nowhere near my ideal race pace but pretty great for a random Monday night run. When I’m running solo, I’m really fast. I don’t have to stop for anything but traffic lights.

When I run with my dogs, there’s a minimum of three stops per mile. There’s peeing, pooping, sniffing trees, poles and fire hydrants, trying to play with other dogs and, my favorite, fake peeing (they do this when they don’t actually have to pee but just want to stop and take a quick breather – I think they know I’m onto them but keep doing it anyway). All of the stopping, plus their difference in speed (Burton can run sub-7 min/miles when he’s in the zone, Blitz often slows to 10 min/miles towards the end of her runs) makes it tough to get into a good, fast pace.

But on the other hand…

Con: Running Isn’t Always As Enjoyable Without Them
I push myself and put a lot of pressure on myself to run fast. It’s kind of nice to have no pressure and just enjoy being outside, running with my buds.


Burton & me on one of our favorite, regular paths.

Pro: I Get To Explore New Routes
When I run with my dogs, I like to stick to our typical paths, fairly close to the house (especially Blitz who maxes out at 2 miles). Even with Burton, who can go much further, I still like to keep it to our regular routes. One, he knows where we’re going and it makes for smoother turns. Two, if something did happen and he got away from me, I think he’d be okay and stick near me vs. being scared and running off.

Tonight, with no dogs to worry about, I found a new, perfect 6.2 mile route. It was great and fresh, and fun to try something new.

But on the other hand…

Con: I Miss Our “Usual” Routes
We’ve found some good ones throughout the years and I love them!
Pro: It’s All About Me
Running is “me” time. I don’t listen to music. I think about random things. I unwind, burn off frustration and relax. Especially when I’m not worried about my dogs, stopping every two minutes and making sure one of them doesn’t accidentally trip me up in the leash, I don’t get quite that same selfish time when they’re in tow.

But on the other hand…

Con: I Miss the Quality Time With Them
Some people would say my dogs are “just dogs” but I don’t agree. My dogs are my babies. They’re part of our family. They’re my friends – I actually like them more than I like most people. Dog owners probably will understand this, while it may sound dumb to non-dog lovers, but there’s a real quality time factor I find in running with them. We’re sharing special time, something we both love – like a father who takes his son fishing, something they both enjoy and love doing together.

I know my dogs aren’t really children and I’m sure it sounds sappy but there’s something very special to me about the time we spend together, running.

Neither a Pro Nor a Con: Motivation
I’m an extremely self-motivated runner. Most of the time, it’s not too hard for me to get excited about a run. Even when I have a sluggish day and I may not feel like running, my brain is programmed to run. Shy of being violently ill or having to work until 8:00, I’m going running. No question, no excuses.

But on the other hand…

There’s definitely added motivation from my dogs. They love to run. Burton may love it more than I do. From them following me around as I change into running clothes to seeing their excited faces get even more excited as I lace up my shoes, they motivate me to want to take them running.

There’s no pro or con about how running with my dogs affects my motivation. Either way, I’m running! And when it all boils down to it, if I have a choice to run with them or without them, I’m always going to choose them.

Dog lovers, do you agree with my pros and cons of running with dogs? Or do you sway far more to one side than the other? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Meditation, Mindfulness and Mental Wellness

“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”

Only three days into daylight savings time (or simply the month of November for my Arizona friends) and I’m already over it. I mean, it’s dark before 6:00. Not cool.

Can we all please follow the lead of the clever folks in the Grand Canyon state and do away with DST? Sorry, enough of that. My point of this blog isn’t to bitch about DST. My point is the diminishing daylight hours that come with DST and winter in general, and how that can be tough on our wellness, mentally.


My quest began with “work Lindsay” and is transitioning into “Lindsay” in general.

I spend a lot of time here talking about physical health and wellness but I’d like to focus more on mental wellness. Personally, I’ve been trying to focus on and prioritize my own mental wellness efforts in an effort to be a more balanced person and, ultimately, the very best version on me.

A couple weeks ago, I attended a seminar at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum that focused on Mindfulness and Meditation, two concepts that have become important to me. From learning some basics of what each means to taking a few minutes to practice both during the session, I walked away feeling energized and refreshed. The best part? This seminar was delivered by MarketingProfs’ CEO. A man in a very high-stress, high-demanding job took the time to educate us on mindfulness and lead us through a few meditation exercises. Another reason I loved this conference!

Then the day began, stresses started flooding in and the balance was shifted back to typical Lindsay – high-strung, high-standards, sometimes irrational, always 100-MPH Lindsay.

That was okay though! This concept of being mindful is a work in progress. Our mental health is a work in progress and the kind of work that never stops. It, like our physical wellness, is something that must be worked on every day.

Think about it: You stop running, you’re going to lose endurance. Decide leg day is no longer part of your regime, your muscles will become weaker. Mindfulness and mental well-being is no different. Like our cardio threshold and strength, it must be regularly maintained and even pushed if we want to get better.


After a stress-relieving run, Burton joined me in some yoga. #MindfulMonday

This time of year, especially, I welcome you to join me in the quest of greater mental wellness. To slow down and take in more. To step back and see things as they really are. And to take more time to quietly reflect instead of worrying about what hasn’t even happened. If you have strategies that work well or stories of your own personal pursuit, please share them! Kind of like any good squat variations or speed workouts you might have…you can always share those too! I hashtagged #MindfulMonday for the first time yesterday and I think it’s a great start to more mindfulness – and Monday in general.

Do you already practice mindfulness and/or meditation? Is it something you’d consider looking into, especially as sunlight diminishes and our minds naturally fall into a slump? Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Exercise Isn’t Punishment, Food Isn’t The Enemy – Oh, And Happy Halloween!

“Eat what you want. If someone tries to make you feel bad about it, eat them too.”

It’s Halloween. People love this holiday for different reasons; some love the costumes, some love the movies, others enjoy the candy. I myself love the candy.


Yes, I bought this for the trick-or-treaters. But I had to enjoy a few pieces myself!

Now it’s not that I only eat candy on Halloween; I treat myself to candy when I feel like it. But the variety and amount of candy I treat myself to on Halloween is pretty unique. I mean, when else am I going to eat a mini-Milky Way, Snickers, Twix, two mini-Reese’s and a mini-bag of Skittles all in the same day? This type of candy smorgasbord comes but once a year, so I’m living it up!

As I’ve enjoyed my candy this Halloween, I’ve also been seeing a ton of exercise-to-candy-calories posts circulating the social world. Basically, nice little calculators that let you know what exercises and exactly how much exercise you must do to burn off the Halloween candy you just ate.

Let’s get something straight here. Indulging in a few pieces of candy on Halloween is okay. Feeling the need to do 300 burpees to burn off the “bad” calories you ate is not.

Exercise in NOT a form of penance, something you do to cleanse yourself of your eating sins. It’s bullshit posts like these that only reinforce ideas that exercise is nothing more than a means to burn off calories or erase all the naughty eating you do.

And furthermore, eating a few pieces of Halloween candy (or any treat or indulgence for that matter) isn’t shameful. Something so bad that we need to be conscious of exactly what we have to do and how much we have to do in order to make ourselves feel okay about it. We all know we’re not supposed to reward our exercise with food; why then would we think we have to punish our overeating with exercise?

I’m so sick of all the nonsense negativity that paints food as the enemy and exercise as what we do when we’re bad. That it’s something we have to do, it’s punishment, oh, this is such a drag, ugh I have to burn off all this candy I just ate. Now I feel so awful about myself…

See how that works? How quickly the negativity gets tied to eating and exercise? Let’s instead have a mindset that associates eating and exercise with positivity. Because both are good things!


Burpee calculator, huh? I’ll tell you what you can do with your burpee calculator…

So please take your calorie burner calculators, your candy-eating-shaming memes and burpees-to-food-penance cheat sheets and shove em. I’m going to enjoy some Halloween candy and be confident in myself, knowing one day of candy overload isn’t going to wreck me or make me a bad person; knowing eating is all about balance and I’m going to get right back on track. I’m not saying we don’t need to be conscious of what we’re eating and no, I’m not suggesting you eat 15 mini candy bars today just for shits and giggles (thought if you did, I wouldn’t judge you for a second). But I am saying, don’t associate eating and exercise with negativity, let’s keep it positive.

Side note, I did go running this morning. Not because I had to offset candy I planned to eat later today; because I love running. And I had a friend in town who does as well so it was a fun change of pace to have a human companion! Also, I’m going to go to the gym tomorrow. Not because of the candy I’m going to eat today and the fact I’ll hate myself for it, but because it’s back/shoulders lift day and I love getting my Sunday sweat on!

Those of you who are with me, I hope you enjoy your extra treat today. After all, you deserve to #TreatYoSelf. Now go on with your life. And remember – Thanksgiving, Christmas and general holiday season treats and over-indulgences are coming up. It’s going to happen and it’s okay. You won’t be a bad person because of it. Just try to keep it all in moderation and remember: You don’t have to do a single burpee unless you want to. Not one.single.Damn.BURPEE. #buckfurpees

What do you think about this whole topic or any aspect of it? Leave a comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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How To Make An Exercise Program Stick – Change Your Mindset

“Exercise isn’t an extra, it’s not a have-to-do. It must become who we are, a habit, something we get to do.”

I just returned from Boston where I attended the MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum. Great conference, great energy, great ideas being shared. And my favorite session ended up having a message that was especially relatable to me.


Just taking a selfie with David Meerman Scott.

David Meerman Scott is kind of a big deal in the PR and marketing world. I’ve been reading his blogs and trusting his opinion for years, and I had the opportunity to hear him speak live at this conference. He gave a lively presentation on newsjacking which, as a PR gal at heart, was like a rock show and rave rolled into one.

At the heart of Scott’s message was mindset. In order to achieve newsjacking success, a marketer has to shift his or her thinking into real time. And it can’t be something done once in awhile, infrequently; it has to be consistent. In other words, one must adopt a real-time mindset. “Yes, that makes sense,” I thought to myself.

He then compared newsjacking to exercise. In order to achieve health and fitness success, one must adopt an exercise mindset. “OMG David Meerman Scott just spoke directly to me,” I thought to myself. YES!

I’ve been saying it for years but maybe I’ve been using the wrong words. I always tell people that health and fitness is a lifestyle. It’s not a 21-day fix or doing a couch-to-5k program once; it’s not going to the gym every day for a month then burning out, nor is it going for a walk once a week, consistently, but never pushing for more. It’s making exercise part of your daily lifestyle – but how does a person do that?

What makes one person consistently go to the gym while another doesn’t? Why are some people constantly setting new goals while others don’t give it a second thought if they skip the gym for three weeks? It’s mindset. Getting to a lifestyle where exercise is just part of a daily routine isn’t a physical process, it’s a mental one. Yes, your body has to cooperate but you have to get your mind onboard with what you want your body to do. After all, it’s our minds that tell us we’re too tired to go for a run or we just can’t make it to the gym or we simply don’t feel like working out.


A group of us went for a morning run at the conference – exercise-minded marketers unite!

Okay, great, that makes sense – now getting yourself to that exercise mindset, how do you do that? Truthfully, I can’t tell you that. I mean, I know how I got there (I recently wrote a blog about why I run) but I can’t tell you how you’re going to get there. Just as there’s no “one-size-fits-all” exercise program that will work for everyone, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” mindset that will work for everyone.

The best advice I can give is to figure out how exercise makes you feel at your best. Is it stress relieving? Is it that high of trying on your favorite pants and having them fit comfortably? Is it the pride of setting a good example for your kids? Is it the rush of adding one more plate to the squat rack? It can be a combination of several things, just concentrate on those moments and know that regular exercise is why they exist. And, like anything worthwhile, remember that it’s not going to come fast or easy. Be patient. Keep pushing. Allow your mind time to make the adjustment.

Exercise isn’t something you’re going to magically fall in love with and want to do every day. Even the most exercise-minded people have plenty of rough days. But it’s absolutely possible to change your mindset to one that sees exercise as a great part of the day vs. something you dread all day. As something you want to do, not have to do. As something that makes you feel great instead of something that feels like a chore.

Side note, David Meerman Scott doesn’t just preach it, he practices it. Over the past few years, he has lost more than 50 pounds, kept it off and strives to get in at least some exercise every day – no matter how busy. #respect!

Have you achieved the exercise mindset yet? How long did it take you to get there and what strategies do you feel helped? Or, do you still struggle with exercise – because that’s okay and you’re not alone! Tell me about it in the comments or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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Winter Running – Tips For Running Outside This Winter

“Yeah, it’s cold. Suck it up and run anyway.”

Up here in my neck of the woods, we’ve been enjoying a really nice fall, including some late, warm weather – 97 degrees 8 days ago, even. However, winter is going to happen. Sorry to burst any bubbles out there. If last Saturday’s half marathon was any indication (a brisk 28 degrees and frost) it’s coming soon. It’s time to start thinking about winter running.

Many people assume that winter means you’re temporarily chained to the treadmill, only indoor running until the first sign of spring. Not so much! There’s no reason not to run outside in the chilly winter months. In fact, it can be quite enjoyable with some planning and best practices.

Find Your Limit
In order to run outside, I have a personal rule that it must be at least zero degrees with minimal wind. To some people, this is absurd. To others, it’s a little too conservative. Throughout the years and incidents of eyelashes freezing together, my hair freezing to my scarf and my breath causing ice build-up on my facemask, this is the line I’ve drawn.

Now, there is some leeway. For example, if the wind is whipping at 20+ MPH, the temp needs to be higher than zero. Conversely, if there’s no wind, I can handle temps a little below zero. Figure out what works for you to have the best experience.


A good base layer will keep you warm & keep sweat away from your bod.

Layer, Layer
Layering is key to enjoyable winter running. In addition to the descriptions below, I’ve included some photos of my own layering faves. Once you find your limit, you’ll have a good idea of the clothing you’re going to need for the coldest scenarios and what you can get by with on the milder days. Keep in mind, you can overdress in the winter. It’ll likely take some experimentation and you may find yourself shedding layers midway through a run – which is totally okay and normal! Just leave them in a place that you feel comfortable no one will steal them, then be sure to pick them up later that day. Word of warning, I did have one of my nice, long-sleeve, Fargo Marathon finisher shirts stolen from behind a tree at a local park. A shirt, I might add, that was full of my sweat (who would think someone would steal another runner’s sweaty shirt?!). BTW, to the person who stole it – enjoy the shirt you didn’t earn, asshole.

Sorry, back to layering. Here’s some advice for how to layer up on those cold winter days.


If it’s really chilly, go with the fleece. If it’s not too bad, a light long-sleeve is great.

First, you’ll want a base layer – heat-gear tights and top, and some good, quality moisture-wicking socks (SmartWool is my favrote). You’ll likely want a mid-layer on top too, like a fleece zip. Or, if it’s not too cold, a simple long sleeve zip or shirt should be plenty. Then, depending on the wind factor, wind-resistant pants and a jacket may be a must. Again if it’s really cold, top it off with some quality gloves, a hat and fleece neck gator/full mask. If it’s not too cold, some basic thin gloves and a headband should be plenty.

When it’s not so cold, simplify the layers a bit to ensure you’re still comfortable and warm enough, yet not too warm that you overheat. And always make sure you’re wearing moisture-wicking fabrics so your sweat doesn’t chill your body.


If it’s cold & windy, wind-resistant clothes are a must.

Leave the iPod at Home
Most people love running with music, especially longer runs. But in the winter, it’s a good idea to forgo the headphones so you can be extra aware of your surroundings. Whether you have to run on the street because someone doesn’t shovel his/her sidewalk or you’re out early before the sun fully rises, don’t assume drivers are going to see you and give the right-of-way. Be proactive and be aware.

Watch Your Step – And Maybe Even Slow Down
Unfortunately, speed often has to come secondary during winter runs. Be prepared to dodge snowpiles and, in some cases, climb snowbanks (it’s cool tho, kinda makes you feel like a badass hiker in the winter wildnerness!). Even with shoveled sidewalks and bike paths, there’s still always a chance of slipping on a small patch of ice or chunk of packed snow. Just be extra conscious of what’s below and take care so you don’t slip and fall. Side note for those of you who run with dogs, be extra extra conscious – especially if you have an excitable dog…maybe that’s just me.

Don’t Forget to Hydrate
Even though it’s cold outside, don’t underestimate your sweat potential, and hydrate as appropriate. For longer runs, be sure to bring water or Gatorade, whatever you prefer, or a few dollars for a pit stop at a gas station.

When winter officially rolls in this year, you’ll be ready – and have no excuses for skipping your run. Happy winter running, all!

What are your best tips to survive – or even enjoy – winter running? Post a comment or tweet them to me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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