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Embrace the cold: The Nike Holiday 2011 Running collection

Winter does its best to challenge the runner. Dipping temperatures. Ice. Snow. Hard, frozen, slippery surfaces.  All conditions that require a new approach to running in warmer months.

  • Berlin sees daily temperatures fall 22˚C (72˚F), and has just two days’ worth of sunshine a month in winter

  • South East England experiences ground frost on 40-70 days meaning runners need to carefully reconsider footwear or routes during winter

  • Long Island and New York City experience below zero minimums three winters out of 10, with low temperatures generally near -21˚C (-5°F)

Even naturally warmer cities feel the dip.

  • Temperatures in Shanghai can drop 20 degrees to just 10˚C (50˚F) in November/December, and temperatures of -10˚C (14˚F), though rare, have been known in winter

Not surprisingly then, the cold does tend to put people off running in winter, and it is true that these conditions can be harder to run in.

  • Every mile run on snow takes one full minute longer than on a clear sidewalk

  • On average you’ll burn 15 percent more calories running in the snow than you will inside on a treadmill

Embrace the Cold – the cold need never stand in your way

Many runners actually enjoy cold conditions, relishing the peace that comes with a snowfall, appreciating a frost-dusted landscape and the opportunity to see familiar surroundings in a different way. “A snow-covered Great Wall [of China] is a huge motivation for me to go running in the winter,” says Gene Westerland, founder of Beijing Hash Hound Harriers. “The views are stunning. At times you simply forget that you’re running.”

 “I love how quiet a winter run can be,” says Knox Robinson of the NYC Bridge Runners. “All the sound is muffled, aside from one’s own breath and the crunch of shoes on ice and snow.”

“Running in winter is something really special,” says Graviteam’s Paul Quick in Berlin. “You experience running in an entirely new way. The cold strengthens your senses, the air pumps through your lungs, your muscles ache a little more than usual…These are the moments in which you realize how much you really love it.”


It can be tough to motivate yourself to get out and train once the mercury drops.  A few tweaks to your training will help you through the winter months.

Continue reading about how the cold affects the human body and running, and learn about how runners can protect themselves with the right gear. Download full feature via the link on the left.