Student runners continue training — snow or shine — during winter months


Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer

McCormick sophomore Cate Mathews trains indoors during the winter months. Many runners change their training habits in the winter due to fluctuating and frigid weather patterns.

Emily Lichty, Assistant Illustrations Editor

After weeks of consistent training and an almost two-hour battle with the Chicago winter, Weinberg freshman Daniel Gold crossed the finish line at his first half-marathon just as snow began to hit the pavement.

While Evanston winters often feature temperatures about 20 degrees Fahrenheit and winds averaging 18.6 miles per hour, Gold is one of many runners still training — whether outside or inside.

Gold runs around the Lakefill about twice a week, he said. Though the Evanston winter may be too cold for some, for Gold, it’s the ideal temperature. 

“(The cold) was definitely a shock to the system,” Gold said. “It was hard to stay warm initially, but once you get into the race, you don’t really feel much. Honestly, it’s pretty much like normal.” 

The American College of Sports Medicine said with proper winter gear and close monitoring, runners can train outside in temperatures as cold as -18 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a California native, Weinberg freshman Ethan Lee said he is surprised he can still train outdoors in the colder weather. 

“I was more surprised that (runners are) able to run outdoors at all,” Lee said. “I was expecting it to be really crazy and to have to run on the treadmill every single day. Coming here, I noticed that it’s rare that the weather gets bad enough to have to run inside.” 

Lee also said, however, that the cold weather requires him to hydrate more and dress for warmth.

But, some on-campus runners try to strike a balance between comfort and ease in their outfits. 

SESP sophomore Maya Vuchic said she has no specific cold-weather running gear, wearing whatever is in her wardrobe to go for a run.

“In general, the way I adapt is layers,” Vuchic said. “You have to have all of your good, warm clothes. Also, mentally preparing for the cold because it is brutal out right now.”

Vuchic is the co-founder of Solemates, an NU running club founded Fall Quarter, in which members run together twice a week. While Vuhic said the club had a successful start last quarter, it is taking a break for the winter. 

Instead, Vuchic said Solemates is using the hiatus to develop a more comprehensive plan for the spring. She said she hopes the club gains new members and introduces new training methods, including yoga.

While some students continue to run outdoors this quarter, some have decided to move their training indoors for a warmer experience. 

Though she sometimes runs outside during the winter — including in her home state New York — Medill freshman Moriah Pettway said she was deterred by the Evanston cold. 

Girl runs on treadmill in purple “the Cats” shirt.
Many runners train indoors during the winter, including Kliss, who uses the treadmill. (Seeger Gray/Daily Senior Staffer)

“We do get a lot of snow and it’s cold (in New York), but the wind (in Evanston) when you are running is just a whole other level,” Pettway said. “That definitely makes me want to go inside on the treadmill versus going outside to run.” 

However, students who run indoors also face challenges, such as the redundancy of running in place. 

Weinberg sophomore Sam Kliss said running indoors can require more mental strength than training outside. She added that activities such as watching reality television, can help combat boredom. 

“The mental toughness on the treadmill is harder because it feels like you are going nowhere,” Kliss said. “So I have found that (distractions) help a lot.”

Other students combine indoor and outdoor settings for their running routine.

When roads are not too icy or snowy, McCormick sophomore Cate Mathews may run outdoors, but she said she typically chooses the treadmill.

In deciding whether to confront the cold or avoid it altogether, Mathews said runners can sometimes be hard on themselves, since it is more difficult to maintain fitness in colder conditions.

“It’s been an important shift for me to remember that I don’t have to meet all those goals I have for myself at peak weather,” Mathews said.

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Twitter: @emilymlichty

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