11 Winter Running Tips to Get Your Butt Out the Door

I don’t know about where you live, but right now we’re in the depths of winter in Calgary. It’s cold, there’s snow everywhere, and there isn’t much daylight. Regular activity can be tough during these times, so imagine what it takes to get outside running.

A lot of people ask me how I do it. How do I get out there when it’s frigid cold or snow storming? Most of the time, I’m not really sure. Part of me thinks I’m crazy, but I also know that I love running and I’m dedicated to staying fit or training no matter what the weather is like. So, I thought I would put together some tips about how I maintain my winter training when the weather gets tough or the winter blues hit. Hopefully these will help someone to get out the door to run, walk, cycle, etc too.

Winter Run Jump

Having fun on a wintery day!

11 Tips to Get Your Butt Out the Door for Winter Training

Have a spring/early summer goal. It really helps when I have a race goal for April or May to keep me going through the winter. I know that I need to stay dedicated to my training if I want to do well in a spring race.

Run with friends or groups. I find this tough with scheduling and would like to run with groups more, but when we’re in the depths of winter I find it helpful to “suffer” with others for runs. Find a local group or encourage your runner friends to go out with you. Makes it so much easier when you have that support and you can also laugh at how ridiculous it seems to run in -20C (-4F) weather. πŸ™‚

Get awesome winter run gear. Yes, I realize we’re all probably on tight budgets, but you can search local shops or online for great deals on winter run gear. It really helps me get my butt out the door when I know that I have good gear that will keep me warm and toasty. On Boxing Day I found an awesome deal on a Lululemon run jacket that I just love now & then I also sold some stuff that I’m not using anymore and put that money towards a new neck gator and run mittens. It also helps when I get things in fun colours – need the brightness when the city is covered in snow.

Have a support crew. This can be your friends, family, significant other, or online crew. Ask them for some support or motivation when you’re feeling low. Occasionally scanning social media causes me to be envious of others, but it also inspires me to get my butt out the door when I see people being active outdoors in even colder weather. You may need to block all those people who live in hot locations though… hahah.

Have a mantra. Is there a certain mantra or quote that inspires you? Something you repeat to yourself when training gets tough? Well, keep that quote close to you. Put it in your journal. Put it on a post-it on your bathroom mirror. Or, wear it – such as my favourite mantra on my Momentum Jewelry Motivate Wrap. I often repeat “Earned, Not Given” to myself during training and during runs to keep me going. It’s surprisingly helpful!

Have hot coffee/tea ready for when you finish your run. Seriously, somehow coffee tastes better after a long, cold run. It’s magic.

Go easy on yourself and your pace. This one has been hard for me, but honestly you can’t try to do speed work in a few inches of snow. That’s risky. Just take it easy when you go out there and enjoy the fun of it all. Running in a snowstorm is a little silly, but if you take your time and don’t worry about pace it feels like you’re re-visiting your childhood and playing in the snow. I did this on Christmas Eve and it was so much fun!

Remember you still have to hydrate. This is important. You may not be sweating as much, but you still have to carry water or Nuun on your long winter runs.

YogiCrystal winter running 2017

Do I look cold? πŸ˜‰

Change up your route if you can. Try to make notes about which routes are cleared more often or are bright and appear safe. Also, be ok if you have to alter routes a little bit. During the Christmas Eve snowstorm, I literally did circle laps around a few blocks of my neighbourhood because the snow was slightly cleared and I knew it would be a little safer that way. Boring? Maybe. But, I felt better about keeping it safe and closer to home.

Don’t hate the treadmill. If the weather is completely insane, just be safe and go to the treadmill or indoor track. I am not a fan of the treadmill at all, but I also realize that when it’s -30C (-22F) or ice-storming outside, it’s better to take my workout inside. Try to have good music or Netflix for long treadmills runs to keep you interested. Or whatever helps you pass the time on the treadmill.

Have fun. Maybe the most important tip! Just try to have fun. I suffer from the winter blues every year, so this is a tough one for me but also important to focus on. When I’m feeling down, I put on my 4 layers and get outside and just try to make the runs fun. This way I cheer up while I’m out there and then I can tackle the rest of my day.

What (or who) helps you to keep going during the winter months?

2016 Musings and Review

If you’ve been following along my blogging and social media journey, you know that my 2015 closed out with some major life challenges. At the time, I didn’t place a lot of hope on to 2016 purely because I wasn’t in the best state mentally. I decided to try not to put too much pressure on myself and to keep trudging on until I worked through some things. I did what I thought was my best to get through the tough times with a focus on the positive aspects starting 2016 – such as my planned trip to California for my second Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland. Honestly, that trip at the start of the year may have been the biggest thing to pull me through the tough times and the winter blues. After January, 2016 still proved to be a challenging year, but there were definitely some positive aspects that I’m hoping to reflect on now.

Manoa Falls 2016

Pondering life at Manoa Falls πŸ™‚

The rest of winter was mostly mild, so I was able to keep up my running training early 2016 in preparation for my first marathon in May. I ran the Run for L’Arche 21.1K pretty well, followed by the fun Eyeball the Wall 30K. Enjoyed the atmosphere and location of this race – plus, it’s budget conscious and you still get a cool medal!

Once the 30K was done I got locked in for the final weeks of training for the Calgary Marathon. Let me tell you, this wasn’t easy. You might remember my posts on Instagram leading up to the race – both victories and challenges all shared there during training. Overall, the race was an awesome experience and I had a great time, while also learning some things about myself. Β I did not achieve my time goal, but there were some good takeaways from that race. After the marathon, I took it a little easy and tried biking more in the summer which was refreshingly fun. Did some challenging rides with the boyfriend, which boosted my spirits and got me back & focused on running/training for my second marathon – Honolulu!

In the summer I was also very lucky to have a friend join me on my birthday for a fun run just outside of the city – the Millerville 8 Miler. I miss the fun of running with others (Nike 15K in 2015 being one of my fave memories), so I was extremely grateful that Kim joined me. Great atmosphere, fun crowds, and even cinnamon buns on the route for the brave people! In June I also had a quick trip to Toronto for a friend’s wedding and saw some of those runner friends I missed. Great times and I hope to go back soon.

In August, I popped out to Halifax to visit home for a quick trip. I hadn’t been home in the summer since I moved away and it was so lovely. Actually, compared to Calgary, it was hot! And, I loved it! Calgary had a mild winter and a milder summer, so escaping to Halifax for summer and family time was nice.

The start of fall brought on some major changes. I started the first semester of my Masters program and training for the Honolulu Marathon. University and marathon training you ask? Yes, why not! This brought on some new challenges, mostly with time management but I feel I did pretty well. I still have to complete my marathon recap blog post, but the semester did go quite well despite some stress… err, lots of stress. πŸ™‚

December was quite busy with work, finishing up the semester, and travelling to Honolulu for the big race. Somehow I got through it all still smiling and here we are on the first day of 2017 ready to rock with new goals and a new focus. I don’t have my race calendar complete yet, but this year I’m hoping to work on getting faster as a build towards my long term goal of qualifying for Boston. Lots of work to do, but I’m going to give it my best shot.Β 

Overall, 2016 was a steady year with the usual ups & downs, but I did my best to stay focused on the goals in front of me. That’s all we can do in time like these, right?

YogiCrystal New Year

Happy New Year!

2016 Quick Rundown:

– Star Wars Half – California – 1 quick day in San Francisco

– Run for L’Arche 21.1K

– Eyeball the Wall 30K

– Calgary Marathon – first marathon!

– Trip to Toronto

– Millerville 8 Miler on my birthday

– Trip to Halifax

– Dino Dash 10 K – got a PB!!

– Started Masters degree

– Harvest Half 21.1K – DNS, terrible weather, didn’t want to risk getting sick

– Honolulu Marathon – second marathon, got a PB!

– Second year travelling to the Atlantic & Pacific oceans! (Miss the ocean everyday)

– Total KMs ran = 1538 (416 KM more than in 2015!)

How was your 2016? Any big takeaways?

Honolulu Marathon Final Training Week

Yes, this is post is delayed. Thank you for noticing. πŸ˜‰

I can’t believe the big day has come and gone – how time flies! I couldn’t really bring myself to stop & sit down to write a post while in Honolulu, so here I am now trying to play catch up. I admire bloggers who can sit and write on the go, but that’s not always the case for me. I’m old school… I like to sit at a computer and write, see the whole picture kind of thing. Β When I do posts on my phone, I miss a major typo or something. How embarrassing!

Diamond Head Honolulu 2016

The view from Diamond Head is outstanding!

Here’s how my final week of training went:

Monday – rest day

Tuesday – run : 35 mins on the treadmill (it was -29C/-20F outside!)

Wednesday – most of the day spent in airports and on planes travelling to Honolulu! Does airport walking count as cross-training?

Thursday – run : 3.5 KM up to Diamond Head trail, hiked up & down. Also, visited race expo (so, A LOT of walking).

Friday – run : 3 KM easy, it was hot! (for me, since I left wintery Calgary) + lots of walking

Saturday – rest/walking – tried to take it easy because my legs were a little sore from all the walking and touring around. Maybe not my smartest move, but I wanted to see the sights! Took an Epsom salt bath in the evening and went to bed EARLY.

Sunday – RACE DAY!!! And of course, details will come in a future post. πŸ™‚

Total KMs = 54.57

Honolulu Marathon Trolley 2016

I’m on a trolley! Going to the expo! πŸ˜€

There you have it. The last few days leading up to the marathon. I was glad to get the 2 short runs done, so that I could experience the Honolulu temperatures before the marathon. All the extra hiking and walking may not have helped my case, but you know how it is when you’re in a new place. You want to see all the things. This was seriously a very exciting time for me as I was never really sure if I would visit Hawaii in my life. Now I am glad that I did and I’d love to go again sometime! I only saw around Honolulu and it’s beautiful! Also, I found the people to be quite friendly and of course it’s nice being by the beach.

I’m sure I’ll have lots more to say once I process all my thoughts. Keep your eyes out here for the upcoming Honolulu Marathon race recap!! (Hopefully sooner than later haha)

Do you like to take it easy before the big day on a race-cation? Or, do you see all the things and deal with any consequences later?

Honolulu Training Week 18

The time is here! Only 4 days till the Honolulu Marathon! 

Am I feeling ready? I think so. 

I waiver between nervous and super excited approx 20 times a day. Sometimes I wonder if I’m crazy for wanting to run another marathon… it’s debatable, right? πŸ˜‰ 

Here’s how Week 18 went:

Monday – rest/walking/ swim : kicking 200 m 

Tuesday – run : 45 mins – 6 x 1 min speed intervals, 1 min recovery. Got race bib # today!! 

Wednesday – rest 

Thursday – run : 42 mins – afternoon run, didn’t feel great but got it done

Friday – run : 30 mins – weather starting to get chilly for morning runs   

Saturday – rest

Sunday – run : 11 KM long run – felt pretty good, even in the cold & snow. Heavy snow for last 2K, so I took it easy. 

Total KMs = 31.76

As you can see, it was a pretty easy taper Week. I was glad for the shorter runs because I had so much school work to do. Tried my best to eat well and sleep more, but sleep has been escaping me lately. Might be nerves or I just can’t stop thinking at night. Lots on the go = mind always on the run! 

Although I’m nervous, I know that I’m super excited for the race. I just need to get settled in & go for an easy run in Honolulu to get my mind ready. Currently trying not to put too much pressure on myself, but that’s always challenging. Have to keep in mind that I can do this, but also be conscious of how the warmer weather may affect me. I just have to go in with a good full heart, ready to run and have a fun day with thousands of other people! 

Do you get nervous before a big race? Tips for relaxing?

(Note: I typed & posted this on my phone… please excuse any typos. The weirdness is intended. πŸ˜‰ )

Honolulu Marathon Training Week 17

Not a lot to say about this past week, except WOOHOO TAPER TIME!!!


I actually enjoyed this past training week and maybe took it a little too easy. I blame all the papers and assignments I have to write. Seriously, right now I should be writing… well, I am, but I mean writing other stuff. Scholarly stuff.

Can you tell I’m freaking out about the end of the term and the marathon being only 1.5 weeks away?!

Also, we received our bib numbers yesterday!! So, this is getting real.

YogiCrystal Nov Run

Happy for sun!

Here’s how week 17 went:

Monday – rest day / got a pre-race massage

Tuesday – run : 45 mins – 6 x 1 min strides, weather is getting cold!

Wednesday – rest / school work day

Thursday – run : 45 mins – Fartlek run, good pace

Friday – worked Black Friday, so no running

Saturday – worked all day, super exhausted

Sunday – run : 1 hour, 45 mins long run – good pace, felt good, really nice morning. Pretty happy with this run overall and feeling ready for the marathon!

Total KMs for the week: 34.3

Total KMs for November: 162.7

As you can see, it was a pretty easy week. I probably should have done another run or cross training workout, but full days of busy work on Fri & Sat really took a lot out of me. Also, felt good to get a pre-race, taper-time massage – getting these legs ready for the big day!

So far the taper is going well… I think. No going crazy or wishing I was running more, but this might be because of all the school work I have to do. Just doing my best to take it easy, get work done, and find time to plan my trip. One thing I do notice though, is that I’m hungry hungry hungry. Running less, but still hungry? Is this normal? πŸ™‚

Do you enjoy taper time or find you go crazy?

Honolulu Marathon Training Week 16

Only 17 days till the Honolulu Marathon!!

And, it’s now TAPER TIME!! πŸ˜€

You can probably tell that I am excited. There’s still so much to do and plan, but at least the heavy parts of training are now complete. It’s been an interesting journey so far, so I probably can’t qualify in the proper words how excited I am for this trip and this race. If you’ve been following along, you’ve seen lots of ups and downs in my training, but overall I have no major complaints.

yogicrystal runner

Goofing around in the park after a long run!

Here’s how week 16 went:

Monday – run : 31 KM long run that I posted as part of week 15 training

Tuesday – rest day

Wednesday – run : 35 mins treadmill – seriously felt like I was going faster than I was. Does this ever happen to you?!

Thursday – rest / work

Friday – run : 45 mins – tempo, maintained a good pace for the whole run!

Saturday – rest / work

Sunday – run : 21.1 KM long run – made a huge decision for this week’s long run that involved reducing the distance. I stressed about it all week, but eventually I had to decide what was best for my mind & body at this time. Between running, work, and school I have been feeling a bit run down, so I knew that I needed to make this change for me. I was supposed to run a 34 KM long run, but changed this up to a half marathon at a slightly better pace. It was difficult because it was cold, but I got it done and that’s what matters. Honestly, probably the best decision for my training week, but not sure how it will translate to race day.

Total KMs = 34.69

I honestly have to send a big shoutout & huge THANK YOU to Saucony Canada for sending me some awesome shoes to test out this winter. I’m all set up and can’t wait to show you guys these wicked shoes. One pair I currently wear – Ride 9 – but this edition is the Reflex Series, which is super reflective. Hopefully soon I will get a good night pic to show you how cool these are! The second pair is the Peregrine ICE+ and these light trail shoes have Vibram Arctic Grip, which helps with traction over icy areas. They’re also water resistant, so while I am excited to try these out, I am in no rush for harsh winter conditions yet! πŸ™‚

saucony canada yogicrystal

Yay for shoes!

What’s the longest distance you’ll run for marathon training? Have you ever made the big decision to cut it short?

Honolulu Marathon Training Week 15

Another week has flown by! And, it just occurred to me that at this time in 3 weeks I will be on a plane headed for Honolulu…

… Cue freak out in 3… 2… 1…Β 

All kidding aside, I am super excited but also a bit overwhelmed with what I have to get done over the next 3 weeks. I’m not sure what caused me to think that it would be ok to start my first semester of my master’s, while also working, and training for a marathon. I must have been temporarily insane… Or, just very motivated. Either way, here I am and the big day is getting closer and closer! I have 4 papers to write, so I better get to this week’s recap fast! πŸ™‚

YogiCrystal Long Run 2016

Seriously matchy matchy here!

Monday – rest day

Tuesday – run : 60 mins – 10 min warm up, 6 x 1 KM tempo, 2 min recovery, 10 min cool down (Ran in a t-shirt & shorts!! Yes, I have to document the fact that I was able to wear a t-shirt & shorts in Calgary in November!)

Wednesday – rest / work

Thursday – run : 30 mins – easy pace

Friday – run : 45 mins – 6 x 1 min hill bursts, 1 min recovery

Saturday – rest day / work

Sunday – work – had to move long run to Monday

Monday – run : 31 KM long run – I hadn’t struggled too much on a long run in awhile, so I was due. This run was certainly challenging and I’m not totally sure why. The weather was nice and I was only a little bit nervous, so I can’t put the blame there. For the first 60 mins I listened to comedy, which was a nice change but somewhat difficult to maintain a good pace. Sometimes I almost tripped over myself when laughing too hard. I may not do this again, but it was good to try something new. Overall, my pace just wasn’t where I wanted to be, but damn am I proud of myself for getting all the KMs of this one done!

Total KMs = 54.06

Some of you may know that I’ve been an Ambassador for Momentum Jewelry, so I am happy to announce that I am on board for another year! I’m incredibly pumped about this opportunity because I love their motivational jewelry so much. You have no idea how many times it has helped me to look down at the Motivate Wrap on my wrist to repeat the mantra imprinted on the plate. You should definitely check them out and also keep an eye on my blog and Instagram for possible future giveaway opportunities. *wink wink* πŸ™‚

Momentum Jewelry Ambassador

Have you ever listened to books, podcasts, or comedy on your long runs? How did it go?

Honolulu Marathon Training Week 14

Not a lot to report for this training week, which is totally ok in my books. This week was basically for recovery before the final big two week push, which I am now doing. I can’t believe how fast this training has been flying by and I already have so many thoughts and lessons to take away from this experience (which will definitely go into another blog post!). Also, I really have to start planning this trip… it’s getting close and I’m starting to freak out! It’s hard to find the time between work and school & I’m not great at flying by the seat of my pants. I like to have some things planned. I also want to balance doing tourist things, but also just relaxing on the beach. I miss the ocean everyday, so I can’t wait to be close to it again for a few days.

YogiCrystal Fall Run

Super excited for warmer weather in November!

Here’s how week 14 went:

Monday – rest / Halloween

Tuesday – cross-train : elliptical 40 mins – legs felt a little tired, but good workout

Wednesday – run : 50 mins – good pace

Thursday – rest / light walking

Friday –Β run : 30 mins – stressed & cranky, was happy to just get my run done

Saturday – rest / worked all day

Sunday – run : 1 hour, 45 mins long run – nice weather, felt pretty good. Really enjoyed this nice morning run as the sun came up and the temperature was a little warmer.

As you can see, a pretty easy week overall. It was nice nice to have the pressure of the huge long run looming over me, especially since I worked all weekend. Honestly, I really enjoyed that shorter long run because my nerves are certainly starting to build for the upcoming 30+ KM long runs I have ahead. I actually keep telling people how excited I am for the taper! πŸ˜›

The final push is on… I can’t believe it’s 4.5 weeks till the Honolulu Marathon!!

Do you ever get excited for taper time?

Honolulu Marathon Training Week 13

Wow, just under 6 weeks until the Honolulu Marathon!! And, it’s November 1st… Anyone else feel the year flying by?

Currently recovering from a family friendly Halloween of handing out candy at a friend’s place while also attempting to scare some older kids. πŸ™‚ Second year we have done this & I’m enjoying the tradition. I used to help with handing out candy at my grandparent’s place in Halifax and now apartment living causes me to miss seeing all the costumes, so I’m glad our friends invite us over on Halloween.

Calgary Runner Marathon Training

I look crazy & this was only about 10KM into my long run!

Here’s how my training week went:

Monday – rest day / yoga : 20 mins

Tuesday – run : 45 mins – 5 x 30 sec strides near the end of the run. Not sure why, but I felt ill during most of this run & somehow managed to finish it. Fun times.

Wednesday – run : 30 mins tempo – good pace & strong effort

Thursday – rest

Friday – rest – Was supposed to run, but felt so fatigued that I decided to reschedule this run to Saturday morning.

Saturday – run : 30 mins – easy pace

Sunday – 3 Hours ~ 28.11 KM long run – Pretty good run, ran a partial new route, but the last 30 mins of this run were a struggle. I wanted to quit & I was tired, but I managed to push through. Starting to get anxiety about longer distances coming up. Two super long runs left!

Total KMs = 46.14

October Total KMs = 178.17

Phew, that’s some high milage in a month for me! It was a good month, I was able to get back on track, but I also dealt with a lot of fatigue. This could be due to the changing weather and shorter daylight, but still it was quite noticeable how I felt like I just couldn’t get enough sleep. You’ll also notice that this week didn’t have any cross-training or strength training, which was mostly due to fatigue and scheduling. At this point in the game only minor strength work will be done & I’m going reassess everything after the marathon. For now I’m just working on getting to the big day!

Momentum Jewelry sharetheSPARK campaign

#sharetheSPARK πŸ™‚


As a Momentum Jewelry Ambassador I also got to #sharetheSPARK with two awesome people during the month of October and I was happy to choose friends who needed a little encouragement. Such a great initiative by this awesome company! Right now I feel like a lot of us could use a little support and love from those around us, so it’s nice to be a part of a campaign like this. ❀

How do you motivate yourself during the higher milage long runs? I need some tips! πŸ™‚

Honolulu Marathon Training Week 12

Just under 7 weeks till the Honolulu Marathon! Time to freak out now, right?! Nawww, just kidding… πŸ˜‰ Though, it is time to start thinking about what I’m going to do when I get there and also what I’ll be wearing for the race. Dress up in something fun or keep it practical so that I am prepared for the weather? I guess we’ll see…

Here’s how my week went:

Monday – rest / light walking

Tuesday – run : 30 mins – didn’t really want to run, but got my butt out the door somehow.

Wednesday – cross train : elliptical 40 mins – tried to do some leg strength exercises again and had some really intense hamstring pain in my right leg. Going to hold off on this for now.

Thursday – run : 60 mins – 2 x 15 min tempo in the middle of the run

Friday – run : 30 mins – good pace, easy run

Saturday – rest

Sunday – run : 25 KM long run – This long run actually went pretty well, which has me pleasantly surprised and feeling good! I ran a mostly new route, so I think that helped the time to fly by… I didn’t start ruminating about how much I wanted to go home till around 22K. That’s a big deal for me! πŸ™‚ I had a little bit of left ankle pain, but mostly felt good and just enjoyed the whole morning of running. I even ran the last 6K without any music! Mileage is really amping up now!

Total KMs = 46.22

Grumpy Runner Run Calgary

Looking pretty grumpy about my Tuesday run πŸ˜›

The long run mileage is really getting up there now and I usually find myself being nervous the day before. I worry about getting bored or if my mental game will be strong. I know that I can do the run physically, but my mental game sometimes is a real struggle. I’m glad this week that I didn’t have many issues with this and I just ran and had fun. Nice change!

Thanks to Mud Hero & Deep Relief & GoodLife Fitness I received a pretty sweet care package of products to try out (pictured below). As an athlete, you hope that you won’t need to use these types of products often, but it’s good to have them for recovery just in case. The yoga mat, New Balance technical shirt, and handy carry-bag will definitely be used often – good thing blue is my fave colour! πŸ™‚ Deep Relief & Mud Hero are actually teamed up to promote these events around Canada, so check out their site and sign up for one of these fun & crazy events in 2017!

Deep Relief Mud Hero

How do you calm the running mental game while training?Β