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Like it or not, the traditionally perfect temperatures for running in October will retreat and winter will come to Atlanta… Trust me. It’s inevitable.

What is arguable, however, is to what extent winter in Atlanta affects favored outdoor activities (not the least of which is running).

Of course, where you’re from – – whether most similar to west Cobb, Westport or West Palm – – certainly influences your perspective. For most of us, there are going to be days or weeks (even months?) ahead that will devilishly suggest that it is totally unnecessary to head outdoors to show further commitment to our training routine or fitness-minded lifestyle. At the same time, most of us who have spent a winter in Atlanta already know that most days are fine for outdoor exercise and recreation once you get going. It’s really just that getting started part that challenges, if not overwhelms, us. As such, here are some hopefully helpful tips to get you past the uncertainty as to whether you can brave the temperatures:

Pre-Run “Warm-Up” Everyone recognizes the benefits that come with cross-training to go with a regular running or walking routine. How about participating in something that would qualify as such just before you depart for a run… in all of the attire you’ve chosen to keep you warm!? Sound silly? Just try 50 sit-ups on your living room floor while you’re all bundled up. Believe me, you’ll be looking forward to getting outside into the cooler temperatures in no time! The same reality surfaces with a few jumping jacks, a couple of sets on the bench-press or a 60-second session on the exercise bike if you’re leaving from your gym.

Drive Time In the same vein as above, put all of your cold-weather running gear on before you leave the comforts of home. Then, instead of heading out on foot, get in your car (gasp!). Make your way to a place you’ve always wanted to take a run or walk… but never previously felt compelled to drive to do so. For the entire trip time, crank the heat like you’re Satan’s chauffeur and resist the urge to roll the windows down for some relief. Upon arrival at your chosen destination, you’ll be plenty motivated to get into the elements.

Layer Like A Player All of the good advice your mother gave you prior to heading out for your first neighborhood snowball fight still applies today (no apologies extended to our readers having arrived in Atlanta from places further south, perhaps, missing the childhood opportunity to peel chunks of ice away from your stinging eyes…). Simply, dress in layers. To do so sensibly for a longer jaunt, there are really only three things to keep in mind:

  1. Put garments on in order of thickness; thinnest first and thickest last
  2. Tuck in your base layer…. and leave the others untucked; this will make it tough for the breeze to reach your bare skin and easy for you to shed layers, as necessary
  3. Use garments that have sleeves that are relatively “floppy” when they are not on; this makes it simple to tie them – – and keep them tied – – around your waist