This morning I got up so early that the sun still hadn’t risen from behind the hills of the city. But I was already outside standing on the sidewalk in front of my house waiting for a friend. We had an appointment to run together before starting our workdays.
Whenever I can run in the early morning hours I'm always happy, that way I don’t have to think about it anymore,  it's already done!
I live in a city in the Po Valley in Italy. Before moving here everybody warned me about the winter fog. Yet, in twenty years I haven’t seen it more than a dozen times, almost never in the city center. But winter is cold, sometimes it snows (not yet this year!) and people spend a lot of their time from November through March chatting and complaining about the freezing temperatures, as if it were a novelty!
Anybody who has just started running, like last summer, usually stops altogether or runs indoors on the treadmill. I find instead that it’s healthy to accustom the body get used to various environments and temperatures in every seasons.
By the way, we are talking about Italy and not Siberia, so there isn’t really any real imminente danger of freezing if you take the necessary precautions.
Here are my four simple suggestions:

1. Wear winter sportswear. It seems ridiculous to have to even write this but I have seen so many beginners come to a group run in January with cotton leggings. If you go online right now you’ll find really great sales on winter gear. Add a headband to cover your ears along with a pair of gloves and you'll be ready! If you get cold feet look for running shoes made with Gore-Tex® to keep them dry and warm. If the temps drop below freezing add a balaclava to protect your face, like cyclists do.

2. Make it a habit to look at weather forecasts at the beginning of the week. Here in Italy the temperatures have been really mild since the beginning of the year. A quick look at com will help you plan your outings, moving your training from a stormy day to a sunny one.

3. If you’re feeling determined to keep running through the winter, study a way run during your lunch hour. All right, it won’t be easy but it's definitely possible. There are sports centers that offer shower only services without having to pay a full membership. If you can organise yourself to run at lunch at least one day during the week you can then complete your training by running Saturday and Sunday.

4. Run with others. If you have a regular appointment with another runner friend it’s going to be that much more difficult to skip the workout. Even when it’s cold outside ;-)


Julia Jones is online at: www.upandrunningonline.org

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