Winter Wildness


It’s easy to retreat to the duvet during winter in the city; and often quite sensible. But there is also a bionic edge to going for a run when it is snowing, or even inhospitably windy, dark and wet. I go in shorts, singlet and sometimes bare foot (not advisable on hard ground though…). For the first 10 minutes it hurts like nibbling goblin teeth, then your blood gets hot and you feel super human to be toasty whilst being near- naked in a storm. Watching snowflakes melt on your skin has something of the terminator 2 about it. You have to keep running pretty fast and once you are back you have about 5 minutes to warm down before you have to get inside. But the heat stays in your bones more than any warm coat or bath gives you. And people see a glint in your eye that a ‘yoga in my warm bedroom’ wouldn’t give you. Send us poetic accounts of storm runs please, it will help the tribal wild sap flow as the winter creeps.
8 comments to Winter Wildness
November 27th, 2015 at 8:18 am · Reply
Thanks for this post. I’ve never gone T2 extreme, but there is definitely something primal about it (even though T2 was a cyborg!!)

Personally, I enjoy hiking and trail running in the woods in the dark. You get huge amounts of wolf-pack hunting style adrenaline and almost superhuman endurance. Although, I’ve only done this in the summer and fall with layers on. If I were to try it during the winter, it would be wise to limit the risk by having an escape plan. The last thing you would need is a twisted ankle a mile or so from human contact while being in a hypothermic condition.

Lewis Orr
November 27th, 2015 at 9:41 am · Reply
I am a big fan of wildfitness and certainly need my yearly fix but now you are really touching my favourite subject. Running in the cold. Maybe it is my Scottish upbringing.

On a freezing cold morning at home (now in Herefordshire) I emerge in shorts and long sleeve top and race into the woods. The adrenaline from the cold is already pretty satisfying but add to this the knowledge that you will probably be the only human out, the fantastic ‘burning’ feeling you get on returning indoors and the smugness of having got your exercise fix before the world even got up.

I recently read a book called water log in which a guy explores all the open water swimming around the UK. He talks about the euphoric chemicals released when humans are subjected to extreme cold (in his case from jumping in an icy loch). It sharpens the nervous system and gets everything working (because it has to!).

Get out there!

PS I am really enjoying reading the blog entries. Keep it up

December 2nd, 2015 at 4:09 pm · Reply
Thanks for wild ideas guys, love them

December 3rd, 2015 at 11:17 am · Reply
Hi Tara,

Thanks for the inspiring words. How’s Watamu, probably not a wintery as London? Anyway, I was out jogging the other night, following your advice. Even tried a few press-ups in the frozen grass. My conclusion: give me the sunshine anytime! See you next year when I come out for my wildfitness recharge…

Best regards,


John Sifferman
December 3rd, 2015 at 6:34 pm · Reply
I have spent many a night and storm running, but only started going barefoot this year. Snow is in our weather forecast for later this week, we’ll see how long I last :)

December 8th, 2015 at 3:25 pm · Reply
I would like to add a post script to my post: 8th December now, and I am wearing shoes! (I’m in London town). John, let us know how you do with barefeet if it snows! Daniel – running in the rain in Watamu is a different experience I agree – look forward to seeing you there!

John Sifferman
December 11th, 2015 at 5:41 pm · Reply
Hi Tara,

My first barefoot run on the snow went great. I took it easy, one mile and not in deep snow. I posted a video about it on my site if you’re interested.

John Sifferman
December 11th, 2015 at 5:42 pm · Reply
oops, typed my domain in wrong, – this one’s right. Cheers!

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