Winter run

Finding Joy in Running

2015 was the first year that I ran outside all year long, winter included.

Winter run

The 2015 winter was a pretty long winter with temperature often below -15 Celsius (5 Fahrenheit), -20 (-4 Fahrenheit) and even -25 (-13 Fahrenheit) here in Montreal, Canada. It was not a windy winter and for the most part, there was not too much snow on the sidewalk (yes I do run on the street especially in winter, since the trail are not very close by my home) but it was a very cold and a very long winter. A winter that would not end…

In 2015, I was running outside because I did not feel like going to the gym anymore for my muscular training. So every time I would think, I should go to the gym today, I never felt like going so I went to run instead as this was more practical and a little bit more fun.

The joy of running came to me gradually by running consistently. But I think it took me around 2 years before I really started to enjoy running.

So when the winter of 2016 was approaching, I was unsure about my ability and discipline to run outside in the cold again.

Winter run

Still, since a year and a half now, 4, 5 and sometimes, 6 times a week, I get dress and I go out to run for a quick 45 minutes.

And now that I have been doing it for quite some time, it brings me lots of joy!

Winter run

The act of running became easier with time and now I can spend most of my run enjoying it.

It still requires discipline to get out the door to go running during the winter. The first 500 meters are a little harder than the rest of the run. But overall, I really enjoy myself. If one gets dressed properly, it’s not that that cold! I love to listen to some music while running, I feel in my own little universe, I enjoy seeing other people running and walking, we salute each others from time to time.

The act of moving as become enjoyable and pushing harder, bringing my heart rate up now feels good.

Winter run

When I get home, the comfort of a hot shower, a good diner, sometimes a Martini or another kind of drink and a good dessert are also part of those simple pleasures that I enjoy so much more after having spent some energy outside.

Running is often making an ordinary day exceptional.

Winter run

When I started running, I would subscribe to races mostly so that I would stay motivated and disciplined to run regularly. Now, I subscribe to races because I can and because I enjoy it but those races are not the root of my motivation anymore. The joy of being healthy, the joy of moving, the happiness has now become the motivation for my running. So may it rain, snow or even iced, as long as I am not injured, I know now that nothing will keep me from running.

I wish to everyone to experience the joy of running. If you are beginning to run, know that it does take some time, but one day you will experience pure joy in running once in a while and at some point, you will experience it regularly.

Winter run

Theses days, I am also reading an excellent book from Sakyong Mipham “Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training the Body and Mind”.

Below are three quotes from the book that touched me most.

Panoramic Awareness, chapter 21, page 4

“Awareness puts us in tune with the elements. This elemental connection is part of being alive. We are too often indoors, unaware of the elements. The elements are not our enemies: we ourselves are made of the elements. When we connect with them, they inspire us and make us stronger, allowing us to communicate with the world in much subtler ways. This connection occurs when we let ourselves mentally relax into reality: we are not just lonely runners pounding out the miles, but living creatures running on the earth. When we acknowledge that, we feel alive. We do not have to fight our environment.”

Spontaneity, chapter 29, page 3

“We never know what will happen next. The point of being alive is to be there for it. Spontaneous means ‘unplanned and immediate’. You cannot really plan a spontaneous activity; it’s a matter of being present in the moment and letting it happen. In the case of running, spontaneity energizes our run.” … “even if you do the same run on the same streets at the same time of day with the same people, you run with the mind of spontaneity”.

About Spontaneity, I have been doing this same run for over 167 times now and every time I run this route, it is never quite the same.

Happy run Strava

Happiness, chapter 25, page 6

“Through healthy activity, happiness of body and mind become the continuum. We begin to understand that unhappiness is simply the result of wrong engagement. We are engaged in activities that are not leading anywhere, or we have given up to some degree. Thus we keep our discipline. We are discovering that far from making us into drudges, discipline brings joy—because it teaches which activities to cultivate and which to discard.”

Here are some more pictures of those joyful winter runs so far. Winter run Winter run Winter run Winter run Winter run Winter run Winter run Winter run Winter run
Below you will find links to some of my favorite songs that I listen to while running.

Mumford & Sons


Hopeless Wanderer

Broken Crown

Thistle and Weeds

The Tragically Hip

So Hard Done By

At the Hundredth Meridian

Queens of the Stone Age

God is on the Radio

The Black Keys

Next Girl

She’s Long Gone

Too Afraid to love you

City and Colour

The Grand Optimist


I wish you to find joy in running or in whichever physical activities that you like doing. We are made to be moving, not to be sitting down all day and night.

Winter run

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About the author

Julie Cloutier: Julie has a passion for trailrunning and photography. She loves to share her adventures on her blog. In may 2015, she ran her first 50KM trailrunning race. She plans on running many more long distances races.


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