Staying Fit & Staying Warm: It’s Winter, Baby!

by Jaclyn Panylyk

So, it’s winter in Alberta. We know, blah! It comes every year and it’s not as fun as summer. BUT, there’s good news. If you get the right outdoor apparel and find the right people, you can have a good time and also get some exercise and fresh air! And when you wanna be a badass runner, you gotta train through the winter.

Here are 8 tips we’ve learned so far to make running easier outside in the winter (also BONUS – get a discount on your Edmonton Marathon entry – you’ll find the promo codes at the end of this blog) :

  1. Warm your body up first before heading out. High knees, jumping jacks or even dancing will get the blood flowing and warm your body up. This will help to avoid shocking the body in the cold air and reduce the chances of cramping and muscle spasms.
  2. Stay hydrated. Before, during and after. You might feel like you need water less in the cold temps but drinking water will help reduce breathing issues from the cold air and help reduce the risk of hypothermia.
  3. Stretch before and after. This will help prevent muscle stiffness and injury. Plus it keeps your muscles long and lean, baby!
  4. Dress for the weather. Always dress for 15-20 degrees warmer than it is. If you do a warm up first you should feel comfortable, not cold, when you first get outside.
  5. Shoes – Get some that have grip for pavement and ice if you are running on the streets or paved trails. And trail shoes if you are running on the trails with dirt and snow. Waterproof shoes are ideal for keeping your feet dry and warm. For extra grip get some slip-on ice cleats that can go over your shoes.
  6. Socks – Smart Wool, Merino Wool products are the most breathable, and they will transport sweat and moisture away from skin as a vapour. Meaning you’re not left feeling wet, cold, and clammy after a winter workout.
  7. Pants – Get some that are made in Canada and designed for Edmonton/Canadian winters. Something that is wind and waterproof. This will save your legs from the bitter cold air and allow you to stay out longer! The Running Room has a great pair that also doubles as super comfy sweatpants to watch Netflix in! We live in them.
  8. Jackets- It’s all in the details. You want something that makes it easy to put on and head out. Coats these days have so many extra features. Sleeves that pull down and turn into gloves for extra warmth, built-in balaclava, plus holes to pull your ponytail through. These built-in conveniences are amazing and made for Canadian winters. Wrap them up.

Where to run in Edmonton:

You can run anywhere. Like, actually. The Edmonton River valley system is one of the best in the country, and has over 160 kms of maintained multi-use trails. A little cold weather and snow shouldn’t hold you back from taking advantage of this amazing system.

  1. For extra street cred, head out at 6 am to join those crazy mofos at November Project. They run Monday/Wednesday/Fridays ALL year long! And if you are really extra, make sure to go once it gets below minus 20 degrees.
  2. The Running Room offers a free Run Club on Wednesdays at 6 pm and Sundays at 8:30 am. They also offer running training programs and coaching for everyday runners to those training for a race.
  3. Edmonton Trail Runners has events, meet-ups, group runs and bootcamps for every level of runner!
  4. Wild Rose Runners meets on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm usually at a local pub downtown. Check instagram or facebook for the meet up location.

There are so many amazing running groups in Edmonton, you can check out the rest on YEGRUN.  And for some of the best running trails, check them out here.

Stay tuned for our 2020 race schedule with all the best races to enter! For more tips/advice and info about keeping active outdoors this winter,  check out this article by our good friends at YEGFITNESS. Want to join us in running the Edmonton Marathon?? Use PROMO CODE: JACLYN or SUZY at the check out to get $10 off your entry!

***Update from Jac & and our YEG Running Guide:


Finished my first Marathon! The Toronto Waterfront Marathon put on by Scotiabank & Canada Running Series.

Here’s a little about my experience:

Felt both under & over trained going into it. The race was at the end of October 2019, end of running season, end of race season, end of summer and the end of a busy DJ season. Was nervous and tired and unsure if I could complete it. Could barely run 5kms the week before the race.  Started out feeling really good, even tried to beat my Edmonton Marathon Half time. Felt pain in my leg at the 18km mark and by the 30km mark was feeling like I had another 40 more to go. Every km felt like 5. My leg kept collapsing. (I’ve got a bum knee, ankle, sciatica & IT band issues ). Started questioning myself and my choices, started telling myself I would never run a full marathon again. It’s crazy the things you will tell yourself to get out of something that makes you uncomfortable. I managed to fight myself and my feelings of defeat and made it to the finish line. 4:35:25. Immediately forgot all of that pain, and uncertainty. And immediately wanted to run another one and do it better the next time. I have never experienced a greater struggle followed by a more rewarding feeling in my life. It was incredible.

Running is such an amazing sport, it teaches you so much about what you are made of. And what you can handle and what you can overcome. For anyone who is struggling and/or working through any challenges in life; Running is a really good companion and tool to help give you confidence and encouragement to get through even the toughest days. I am not a natural athlete and training and running long distances does not come easy to me. I have to hustle really hard. And there are always days where I doubt myself and my abilities. And days where I just really don’t want to run. But crossing that finish line of my first full marathon made it all worth it.

I didn’t win the marathon or even come close to placing. But I finished. And I am sharing this because I know that if I can run 10kms, 21kms, and even 42.2kms, so can you. All you need is discipline and encouragement. And maybe a few shots of tequila!

I’ve also been lucky enough to find a cool group of runners & dear friends to chat with about anything that comes up running related. These guys have encouraged me and given me the motivation to push through tough days and never let me slack off either. It’s really nice to have people in your corner. Highly recommend it!

Next up, I am training for a 50km Ultra. Stay tuned.


Disclaimer: We are not influencers nor is this blog sponsored. Any business or products mentioned are ones we truly believe and invest in.

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