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We said we’d start running back in June. And then September came. And now it’s March. Good news for us, winter is actually the best time to get into the sport. Don’t believe us? Check out the seven reasons below.

RELATED: The Best Workouts in 10 Chicago Neighborhoods

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Free Rein of the Trails

The Lake Shore Path and 606 Trail, the two most popular places to run, get seriously crowded come summer. Now’s your time to get comfortable on a well-trodden trail without the traffic jams. Come summer, you’ll be ready to take on newer ones. 

RELATED: Your Itinerary for an Afternoon On (and Off) the 606 Trail

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5Ks Run Year Round

Sign up for a 5K (like the upcoming Leprechaun Leap on March 11) with a friend for added incentive to start training. Come race day, the energy of the crowd will spur you on to a new personal record.

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An Excuse to Shop

To get started, you’re going to need running tights, a reflective jacket and a good pair of shoes. Choose fun colors to lift your mood—it might even make you look forward to your 5 a.m. wakeup time.

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AJ_Watt/Getty Images

It’s Podcast Catch-up Time

Missed the last few episodes of “Pod Save America”? A long jog is your chance to catch up on your favorite new form of entertainment.

RELATED: 6 Podcasts to Get Addicted to in 2017

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The Temperature Is Actually Perfect

Despite what you may think, it feels amazing to run in the cold. You’ll warm up fast, but be way less sweaty by the end of your run than you would in summer.

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Develop Mental Toughness

OK, building character isn’t our favorite thing either. But once you’ve faced the cold on a four-mile run, that crazy work project won’t feel so scary.

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Hit Your Stride by Summer

Start training now, and you’ll be flying down the trails come June. You’ll have a whole new way to appreciate Summertime Chi.

RELATED: 5 Awesome (and Free) Streaming Workouts You Can Do in Your Living Room

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