Cool Running — How to keep your running routine from getting ice cold

November 2012 View more

NMAG1112_FitnessIf you’re like me, the idea of running in cold weather leaves you lukewarm. The chilly temperatures, especially if it’s below 30 degrees, force me back indoors. Unfortunately, that means I either neglect my run, or I’m relegated to the treadmill, which is less than motivating. But thanks to run conscious communities, there are plenty of opportunities in Chicagoland to keep you running and walking outdoors.

The selection of run/walks around the area, including Naperville, can help you stay true to your exercise without looking to New Year’s eve to resolve your holiday indiscretions. Following are some of the great races that can keep your outdoor walking or running efforts fun.

Hot Chocolate 15/5K Race

November 4 at Grant Park in Chicago

I’ve had the pleasure of participating in this event. I would say this is worth doing at least once. Even if the temperatures are on the chilly side, once you start running, you quickly warm up. The Hot Chocolate 15K/5K is an officially timed event using the disposable timing system, B-tag. They also have a pretty cool swag bag as part of registration. But hands down, the best part of finishing this race is crossing the finish line and finding your way to the hot chocolate and fondue tent. Talk about motivation. For more information visit,

Gobbler Hobbler 10K and The Mashed Potato Mile

November 10 at Fox Chase Elementary School in Oswego

What a great way to include the whole family in a fun workout before the Thanksgiving holiday. The scenic run takes you down the Fox River and through downtown Oswego. Whether you’re a seasoned runner, or just a casual walker, this race fits the bill. There is a 10K run, as well at the infamous, Mashed Potato Mile. The 10K race will be chip timed and all runners will receive a hoodie sweatshirt, refreshments and participation ribbon. For more info visit,

Naperville Turkey Trot

Thursday November 22 at Naperville Central High School

I’m proud to say that in the last 15 years of the Naperville Turkey Trot, I think I’ve only missed one. The Naperville Noon Lions have helped more than three thousand children and families in Naperville with vision and hearing care as well as diabetes support. The race will be chip timed, so each participant will be issued a disposable timing chip. This is the first year for receiving a long sleeve technical T-shirts as a participant. For more information visit,

Jingle Bell Run/Walk

Saturday, December 1 at Cantigy Park in Wheaton

Though there are jingle bell runs across the country to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, this local run gives people close to home an opportunity to participate. The 5K run is ChronoTrack timing and given that it falls on the first of December, it’s a great way to kick off the holidays with family and friends. Consider forming a team to raise funds and organize your very own holiday-themed costumes. For more information visit,

2012 Jingle Bell Run/Walk®

Saturday, December 15, 9 a.m., Chicago

If you’re not able to make the December 1 Jingle Bell run, you have a second opportunity with the Jingle Bell run in Chicago at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. You’re encouraged to wear a holiday themed costume. Bells will be distributed for shoelaces. This race offers a 10k or Run/Walk a 5k route. What a great reason to venture into the city, get a little exercise, and check out the holiday window displays.

Whether you keep it local, or venture to the city, organized walking and running events are a great way to have fun, raise money for a good cause, and get past exercise excuses. Participating in these races just may leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside, a perfect way to fend off the chill of the season.