Conquer the Cold: A Calgary Runner’s Guide to Winter Running

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Embrace the chill! Living in Calgary means winters can be especially challenging, but they also offer a unique and invigorating experience for runners. In this guide, we’ll explore the benefits, essential tips, and insights to make your winter running in Calgary not just bearable but enjoyable.

BENEFITS OF WINTER RUNNING

  • Scenic Winter Wonderland:
    • Take this opportunity to explore the beauty of Calgary’s winter landscape—snow-covered parks, the frozen Bow River, and the majestic Rocky Mountains in the distance. We are lucky to be surrounded by such natural beauty!
  • Dry Cold:
    • While the cold temperatures can be tough, at least the air is a dry cold, making winter running more manageable compared to humid climates. Let the crisp air invigorate your senses!
  • Building Resilience:
    • Winter running in Calgary can toughen you mentally and physically, preparing you for any weather condition in the months ahead.

STAYING MOTIVATED

Our best tip is to take the leap and sign up for a spring race! Not only can this give you something exciting to look forward to, but it also keeps you accountable. Take it one step further by sharing your plans and goals with other people. This will help you feel a sense of obligation to follow through with your plans. 

Keep the momentum going by acknowledging and celebrating your training milestones. Recognizing your achievements, whether big or small, can boost your confidence and motivation as you work towards race day.

The Servus Calgary Marathon is a great race to lock in because we have 6 distances to choose from! This means that you and your friends or family can all train and work towards a goal together, while giving you the flexibility to choose a distance that suits you best. Register today and join us on May 26 for a party 60 years in the making!

GETTING GEARED UP FOR CALGARY WINTERS

  • Layer Up:
    • As we’ve seen on the weather network, temperatures can drop very dramatically in a matter of hours or days. Because of these fluctuations, it helps to have a variety of versatile layering options on hand. 
    • Some accessories that can help you adapt are things like neoprene face masks, extra warm glove-mitts, or winter running tights that keep the wind and moisture out.
  • Navigating Winter Darkness:
    • We cannot stress enough the importance of reflective gear and LED accessories for visibility during shorter winter days. Staying bright and visible is key!
    • Some products we would recommend are LED vests, headlamps, and reflective straps.
  • The Right Footwear:
    • Selecting the right footwear is crucial for winter running in Calgary, where conditions can vary widely. The right pair of trail running shoes not only provides the necessary grip on icy paths but also keeps your feet warm and dry during colder runs
    • We strongly recommend consulting with local running stores like Strides Running Store, Gords Running Store or The Tech Shop to find shoes suitable for the terrain you plan to run on.

ADAPTING YOUR ROUTINE

  • Adjust with the Weather:
    • We love a good Chinook here in Calgary! Chinooks’ are warm, dry winds that occur on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in North America. They are caused by moist air from the Pacific rising over the mountains, releasing precipitation on the western slopes. As the air descends on the leeward side, it warms up due to compression, creating a rapid temperature increase, especially in winter.
    • Be open to some flexibility in your training schedule so that you can take advantage of milder Chinook days for longer runs. Keeping an eye on the short term forecast in your area is the best way to make adjustments.
  • Keep Busy:
  • Indoor Alternatives with a View:
    • Don’t be afraid to check out some of the indoor running facilities throughout Calgary, like the MNP Community & Sport Centre, YMCA, or The Genesis Centre.

POST-RUN RECOVERY

  • Post-run recovery is just as important in the off-season as it is during peak training or competition season! Take advantage of the many recovery services throughout the city, many of which you can test out on a trial or drop-in basis without committing to long-term memberships.
  • Some locations we recommend are The Run Lounge, Massage Heights (which has a variety of locations), or Innovative Sport Medicine

We encourage Calgary runners to embrace the challenges and joys of winter running. With the right gear, a flexible training plan, and a solid recovery strategy, winter can be the most rewarding season for a runner in Calgary. Get out there, explore the trails, and make the most of every snowy stride!

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