Join a group for Cold Weather Running, by Chelsea Patterson

Join a Group for Cold Weather Running

Winter running in Maine is the epitome of “embracing the suck,” but dressing for the weather and joining a group can make all the difference. The elements outside can be intimidating, but it’s more runnable than you think. Before resorting to the treadmil, consider with the right shoes, clothes, and planning, winter running can actually be fun.

Photo: Chelsea Patterson

First, invest in the gear to keep you comfortable. For temperatures in the 30s, make sure you have a base layer of an undershirt (never cotton), some kind of insulating layer, such as fleece or wool, and over that, a vest to keep your core warm. Top that with a wind-resistant light jacket. You’ll also need some insulated running tights or leggings that can wick away the sweat, while holding in heat. For your extremities, plan on socks with sweat- resistant fabric, a hat, gloves and a neck warmer. Don’t wear all black: keep your layers bright so traffic can spot you.

Next, find the motivation. When the temps are below freezing, having the support of a group can help you reach your goals and stay on track. It’s easy to ignore the alarm and pull the blanket over your head, but knowing there’s a group of people waiting for you can help you push excuses aside and get out the door.

Sometimes, just joining a group is the hardest part, especially if you’re new to running, but after taking the plunge into a group run, be prepared for instant camaraderie and community. Chances are there will be someone with a similar pace to your own.

Photo courtesy of Fleet Feet Maine Running

Group runs can push you to do things you would never consider solo, be it a hill workout or Sunday morning long run.

Group training keeps the conversation flowing and the miles seem to fly by. Suddenly, those long runs don’t seem so long anymore.

Every runner deals with high and lows during a run, and sometimes those lows can really take a toll on your mental and physical toughness. When running with a group, you’re surrounded by people who have experienced the same things and can help pull you out of a slump when you may have otherwise quit, had you been running solo. Helping someone achieve their goals can be as fulfilling as nailing your own workout.

So, layer up and find your tribe. There’s something about fighting the elements, pushing through it together, and upon return, swapping high-fives and bonding over the experience you just endured.

— Text & Photos: Chelsea Patterson. Chelsea is a member of Thick Quad Squad, a weatherproof (rain or shine) run club and community offering free weekly runs and events for all paces. The group meets at Coffee By Design on 1 Diamond Street in Portland every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. For the most up-to-date meeting times and info, please visit our social media Instagram: THICKQUADSQUADRUNNING.

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