MSU Running Club Braves the Cold

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Monday, January 26, 2015, 10:51 am
Peyton Lombardo

MSU Running Club bears the cold

Students bundled in heavy winter jackets, hats, gloves, and boots give them weird looks. Passengers sipping coffee in toasty cars stare at them. People on the busses shiver slightly when they watch them run by.

Who are they? The MSU Running Club, an official student organization of Michigan State University. The MSU Running Club continues its daily outdoor workouts despite any drops in temperature. Club members make their way around campus every weekday; runners may run for as long or as short a time as they desire, but most choose to complete a 6-mile circuit each day. Many of them ran cross-country or track in high school and want to continue the healthy lifestyle but, the freezing temperatures may pose a threat if a runner is not prepared properly.

The group, comprised of around equal numbers of male and female runners, boasts an impressive roster from freshmen to graduate students. These runners workout right when school begins in August, and throughout the snowy weather. A freshman member of the MSU Running Club, Gina Pellillo, knows the precautions needed to be taken to run safely and successfully in dangerously low temperatures. “When running in the cold, you have to make sure you wear proper layers and stretch even more.” She notes that in the cold “muscles tighten up much quicker” and that it is always important to stay hydrated and to stretch before and after workouts.

Pellilo along with majority of the other runners have completed marathons, 5K and 10K races, and high school cross-country competitions. Because most of these experienced runners despise treadmills, they are left with no choice but to bear the cold. Many precautions, including the ones Pellillo noted above, must be taken. In addition, Pellillo advises staying away from cotton shirts is best as they may get wet and cold when you sweat. She says to try to dress in polyester and synthetic material. Equally important is to avoid overdressing, as you will begin warming up immediately as you begin running. You should dress as if it were 20 degrees warmer than it is, she notes. Having a good pair of running shoes is also key as you do not want to be slipping on any ice or getting your feet soaked in puddles. Pellilo has a pair of Brooks running shoes that work nicely for her .

Is there every a time to stay inside and hop on that despised treadmill? Running and jogging expert Christine Luff, of’s Health site, says yes. When the wind chill hits 20 degrees below zero, she says, you may want to stay in. You can get frostbite or, although extremely rare, have serious lung issues if you cannot breathe well in frigid temperatures according to John Castellani, an exercise psychologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. Luckily, the weather usually does not get that cold when the MSU Running Club is out and about around 5pm each weeknight.

Even in the cold, the Club can expect nearly fifty runners each night. It is a come-as-you-please group so each runner makes an individual decision about running in the cold. In addition to the outdoor workouts, the club also competes in National Club track events against other schools that are held indoors in the winter months, and outdoors when it warms up outside. The desire to compete and win these events drives many student runners to endure the weather and maintain their training.

Aside from these track events, many runners just want to stay in shape year-round. According to Pellillo, “[w]hen running in Michigan, you never know what you are going to get,” But, she adds, “just because the weather changes does not mean it should stop you from running.” By wearing proper attire, paying attention to dangerously low temperatures, and stretching and hydrating properly, you can always complete a successful workout in the cold. It is no doubt that most runners prefer to run in more ideal temperatures, but the MSU Running Club isn’t afraid to face the cold for a good workout.

For more information on the MSU Running Club, the events they compete in, their roster, news, and schedules, visit their official website at


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