The Zurich Winter Running Experiment

So I took a huge first step for me in my running experiments, and ran outside. In winter! To say I was nervous before would be a gigantic lying understatement…I was terrified. What if I was too cold? What if I couldn’t run anymore? What if all the strange Swiss people stared at me like I was crazy. Ha – well that last one wouldn’t matter after having experienced many runs through the streets of Asuncion! Perhaps , from here on out, we should refer to this as the Zurich Winter Running Experiment.

I was dressed like a champion: full length thermal leggings, thermal long sleeved Nike running shirt with a little bit of a turtle neck and thumb holes (love thumb holes!), short socks (oops), North Face Fleece, fleece lined gloves and a thick fleece headband. I headed out of A’s apartment and onto the streets of the old city. The feeling of fear was washed away as I felt my feet hit the cobble stones and the faces of those around me watched in…was that admiration?

Part of the running path alongside the water's edge

Zurich is truly a beautiful city. It is divided in half by a long river which opens up into Lake Zurich. Lake Zurich is not only massive, but it’s completely surrounded by snowcapped mountains and picturesque homes. Not to mention the Swiss were thoughtful enough to build a walking/running/biking path along the entirety of the water’s edge. It is truly the perfect place to run or even just relax, as you can’t beat the views! And, oddly, it never seems to get icy here – so it’s even better for outdoor activities!

Wish my phone took a better shot of this view! Notice snow capped mountains in the background.

So on my first run a few days ago, I learned the valuable lesson that I could in fact run in the winter, and that at 30 degrees I needed much more layering than at 40 degrees, (when I was dying of heat from the fleece and gloves!) I even managed to run over 5 miles on my second run! Granted, there were many little pauses and stretch points along the way, but I’m still proud I did it! And now I know that with each run it will start to get easier again.

So far, my Zurich Winter Running Experiment is going well!

Two Thumbs Up for Running in Zurich!


56 responses to “The Zurich Winter Running Experiment

  1. Awesome run, and isn’t it just great to get outside & Just Go?

    • Thanks! Yeah, it is so great to get moving and to realize I can still do it (I have a bad habit of taking breaks of a few weeks which makes me fearful to start again!) But it’s so good to feel the air outside.

  2. Well if I were watching, you’d see a definite look of admiration on my face!

    Congrats from those of us who only tackle the treadmill. That’s scary enough for me…


  3. Thumb holes… le sigh.

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  5. That’s great! I live in Los Angeles, and even though people think we never get cold over here, we do, A LOT. I usually go for a run along the beach every morning at 6am, and it’s great fun, because I go with two of my friends. It’s cold here at 6am, so we usually wear our Adidas running gear, but we’re still in shorts, and somehow our legs never freeze. I guess it’s because when you run, you usually break out into a sweat and get warmed up.
    Good luck on your further running experiments, and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!
    Ashley, aka TheEverydayMuser

    • Wow, I’m impressed that you can run in shorts when it’s cold out! I’ve considered wearing shorts OVER my pants to keep my bum warm!

  6. Kudos to you for running in the cold and congrats on being freshly pressed!
    from Haiti,

  7. nice press :p

  8. What a picturesque and magnificient scenery for you to run in! All the beauty must spur you on (if indeed inspiration needed mid-run…lol).
    Well done!

  9. Good work! I’ve been wanting to do the same since moving to London but just haven’t been willing to brave the cold for the sake of exercise.

    I’m sure Zurich’s beautiful scenery really made it worth it!

  10. Congratulations for getting FP

  11. I’m not too much of a winter time person, I’d rather it be summertime. But, I like to run sometimes in the winter; it’s pretty cool running around all bundled up with your scarf.

  12. I wish I were you….getting ready to go and actually doing it! While your NY friends are mired in 3 feet of cold snow – your path is clear! You go girl!

  13. จองตั๋วเครื่องบิน
    Good work! I’ve been wanting to do the same since moving to London but just haven’t been willing to brave the cold for the sake of exercise.

  14. Hey, it really sounds great! Congrats!
    I actually started running less than 3 months ago, and my goal is to run my first 10 km this summer. But of course I’m running indoor for now! I live in Toronto, and people run all the time here even at -30C! I wonder if one day I will be able to do it!
    Anyway, since I’m so new in this running world, I would love to get your comments and your experience on my post. (
    Thanks again!

  15. Good for you! I am an avid runner and even run in the snow and ice–I know crazy…I’m addicted. The gear can make a BIG difference. I have this great hat that has a pony tail opening in the back and it covers my ears. I was given running crampons that fir great under your running shoes (for snow and ice). Love it. Go girl!

  16. wow. zurich looks like a wonderful city! congrats on being freshly pressed!! :]

  17. 5 miles? Jesus you must be fit. I’m going to start running again tonight — at least that’s what I’ve told myself…

  18. Your run sounds awesome! I am one of those crazy runners who run at 6am in the middle of winter in 15 degreeF weather. I swear by those cheap mittens you can get for a few bucks and come in packs of two or four. Keeps me warm, easy to wash, and I dont feel so bad when I lose one! Keep it up and enjoy that feeling of accomplishment after every run!

  19. Well written with equally great photos.

  20. Very inspiring, I too dread running in the cold, luckily in Israel we have sun in January and yesterday I went for a long run in the fields and orchards around my town, it was a beautiful sunny morning and it felt so good to run outside. Lovely scenery in Zurich.

    • That sounds amazing. I have always wanted to go to Israel and can only imagine how lovely it is to run through sunny orchards! You can never grow tired of beautiful scenery!

  21. Nice post! If you are ever in Basel sometimes, drop by il buon gusto…we will soon be offering Italian paninis, hot chocolate and coffee to go, in addition to selling the usual Piedmont wine, honey and chocolate.
    *I bike in this cold weather Alsace, but I must wear a nose and mouth protector. Kudos to you for keeping fit!!!!

  22. I just started running in winter too! Except I live in Canada. We had a massive snowstorm last night so i cant decide if i should go out this morning or not…hmm!

    • Oh wow, snow is a tough question! I am from New York which has been getting pounded with snow the last few weeks and I was too nervous to try out a run in the snow/ice. Makes me nervous to fall when I can’t see the ground clearly beneath! If you do go out, though, let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear about it. And watch out for black ice!!

  23. A very enjoyable read. Thank you!

  24. Great post, looking forward to the next.

  25. I absolutely love love love ‘monkey thumbs’ (thumb holes)! I got a nice fleece zip up jacket at H&M in Innsbruck a few months ago… my friend liked hers so much she went back to get a second! North Face also has a great selection of ‘monkey thumbed’ jackets and shirts! Happy running! 🙂

  26. I think far better to run in the cold and then get warm rather than run in the heat and be excessively sweaty. Zurich must be fun.

    • True statement, I’ve tried running in South America in 95 degree heat and had to call it quits after like 25 minutes cuz I just couldn’t breathe. And ended with a headache the whole night! Cool air is more motivating!!

  27. Hi!

    I’m from New Delhi, India, and even the little bit of winter we get here makes the lazy bum in me dominate. I’ve been fighting with myself to get out of bed and out on the road for a good 2-3 months now…can only imagine what guts it must’ve taken you! and in Zurich! lovely post, great going, you’ve left another soul inspired! 😀


    • I’m happy to hear I’ve inspired you. It’s so hard to break out of the rut and just get moving again, but just remember how good it feels once you do. It will come back so naturally you’ll wonder why you didn’t just get up sooner! Good luck with the motivation!!

  28. Where are my running shoes!

  29. สรรพสิ่งนั้นเป็นสิ่งที่ยืน

  30. That looks awesome! What gorgeous scenery to run through!

    I love running in winter/the cold but unfortunately my asthmatic lungs do not.

  31. I live in Alaska, so most of my running is winter running. Here’s the most valuable thing I’ve learned: tall socks. Socks tall enough to easily cover your tights/leggings/pants/etc. Nothing quite like frostnip as an anklet. Enjoy your running in the crispy-clean air!

  32. i never liked to run, but it alway amazes me to see runners clad in shorts and tee doing what they love in winter.

  33. Winter running is wonderful. There is no such thing as weather that is too cold for running. You just need the proper clothing. Run on!

  34. Pingback: To Run or Not to Run?: The New York Winter Running Experiment. | Anywhere Home

  35. Pingback: A Long Detour To Zurich | TRAVELITERATURE

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