A Winter Hibernation

I was born and raised in Arizona. Our winters consisted of an occasional (every few years) dusting of snow, temps that rarely dipped below 50 unless it was the middle of the night and an abundance of sunshine. And at the time, those temps were damn cold.

Seen: Sunshine and cacti. Not seen: 75 degrees.

Now, enter winter in North Carolina where we do get some amount of snow and ice annually, it isn’t unheard of for the morning lows to dip into the teens for weeks on end, and the heavenly choirs of angels seem to rejoice on weekends like the one upcoming, where we will be in the 70’s. YES 70’s!


As someone who ran in Arizona but didn’t really come into the full dedication of it until moving here in North Carolina, my body doesn’t take to running in the 20’s and teens too well.

Coaching Special Olympics Saturday morning

Each winter (and this will be my 3rd.. or maybe 4th?) my body enters into a sort of hibernation. I’m not nearly as hungry as I find myself all other times of the year, I’m exhausted by 7 p.m. and crawling towards bed around 8 p.m., and I have no desire to bundle up and commit to running in temperatures where I have to sport more than one layer of clothing.

While my body obviously prepares for this time of year, my mind doesn’t. I recently read my friend H’s post regarding post-marathon recovery and how hard it is to convince your mind you CAN take time to recover and NEED to. However, as I mentioned to her, my mind always reverts back to the primal state of ‘oh my gosh, I’m going to instantaneously become fat and be miserable all winter without ANY clothes to wear. Wait, what are you… PUT DOWN THE DAMN COOKIE STEPHANIE, YOU HAVEN’T RUN TODAY.’ When the reality of the matter is, I don’t stray from a 5 or so pound variance one way or another at any point.

Do other people out there hear the monster in their head saying similar things during the winter months?

As a way to combat this, here are a few tips to get through those dark, cold and wet winter months as we focus our eyes on spring.

1) Moderation is key – It’s the holiday season, and while it isn’t okay to go hog wild from Thanksgiving Day until you start your diet on New Years Day, it is okay to splurge. In moderation.

2) Balance it Out – Cookies and festive drinks are awesome, and should be enjoyed, but make sure those aren’t the only things you’re putting into your body. And no, I don’t mean counting your wine as a fruit and egg nog as protein ( coming from someone who does.. I mean..). It’s easy to forget we need to eat a balanced diet in order to keep our digestion regular all winter long. It’s hard enough dealing with the day’s being shorter and having to eat breakfast and dinner when it’s pitch black out, so don’t give your digestive system any reason to backfire.

3) Get Moving – While it’s sometimes hard to get up in the dark cold mornings, or convince your body to run in the dark, cold evenings, it’s important to get moving at least once a week. Take a walk on your lunch break. Bundle up and stroll around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. Make your trip to the grocery store for a quick item by foot. Your metabolism will stay quick and your legs will thank you for the movement outside of sprinting from one heated location to another.

4) Take advantage of the Good Days – When a rare warm-ish day comes along, get outside and enjoy it! It will make the gloomy, cold ones less severe when they do return.

What tips do you have to survive the winter months?


2 thoughts on “A Winter Hibernation

  1. I pack a gym bag in the morning and change at work in the bathroom before I leave. Its a lot harder to drive past the gym already in workout clothes vs. your uncomfotable dry clean pants and heels. DO NOT GO HOME… make a b line to the treadmill. The warmth and food at home will suck you in and you won’t leave until morning!

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