3 Ways to Survive Winter Running

I like running in cool weather. In Colorado, where I lived for 7 years, the air is cool and the sun is warm and I’m a happy girl.

Disgusting place to run, huh?

Disgusting place to run, huh?

In New York, how do I put this? There’s a lot less sun and a lot more frickin freezing cool air.

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

On days like yesterday when the temperature is 22, feels like 12 with 22 mph wind gusts, it’s hard to go out and run. Especially if you’re kinda “eh” about running at the moment. So what are sure-fire ways to get your buns out there on the frozen pavement?

  1. Go with a friend. Birdie and I chatted through 5 miles yesterday and it made a WORLD of difference. She is one of 2 reasons I will run through this winter. The other is pure vanity, I’ll admit it.
  2. Run to food. Most breakfast places in the ‘burbs don’t care if you’re in run clothes and I know my favorite diner doesn’t judge. If pancakes don’t motivate you, I don’t know what will.
  3. Sign up for a weekend fun run. No pressure, just a few dollars paid might be what you need to get to that weekend morning run or midweek training run.
I draw the line if I need more layers than this.

I draw the line if I need more layers than this.

How do you stay motivated in the cold? Let’s be real, vanity is the primary motivator in my world. There, I’ve said it twice so you don’t have to feel shy about it. Friends, food, and races are a bonus.

Now go out and run!

5 Ways to Play the Long Game

We are an immediate gratification society. It’s not a complaint, it’s a fact. Technology makes everything available in a matter of seconds. Our favorite music is on demand, our splits and pace are just a click away.

How many Garmin pictures do YOU see on Instagram every day?

Every other running blog/twitter buddy is telling their thousands of followers that you can run a marathon in 6 weeks because THEY did. You can run three marathons in two months because THEY did. You can run a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and full marathon in 3 days because THEY did.

And you could.

If you’re in it for the short game.

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The long game is playing for the win at the end of the game, not leading at halftime. In running, that translates into smart training, strategic racing, and taking the time to recover properly.

You can DO anything you want. You can run a marathon a week. You can run back-to-back marathons on a Saturday and a Sunday. You can exclusively run, and maybe throw in the occasional plank and foam rolling session, and ignore that nagging foot pain.

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If you’re in it for the long game, here are 5 things you need to do:

1. Strength train. Don’t argue with me about it. Just do it. You need it, I promise.

2. Space out your goal races (key word: RACES, not fun runs)

  • 5-6 months between marathons
  • 3-4 months between half marathons
  • 2-3 months between 10Ks
  • 1-2 months between 5Ks

3. Cycle your training. High mileage weeks mixed in with low mileage weeks, track repeats mixed with tempo runs, hill workouts mixed with strides.

Run beastly hills. I suggest running them with friends.

Run beastly hills. I suggest running them with friends.

4. Address your aches and pains. Yes, I’m in physical therapy and I’m totally biased but overuse injuries will come back to haunt you. Get them fixed. Do your PT homework.

5. Respect your rest days/weeks. Take the time to recover from your race before you go bananas training into the next. TAKE TIME OFF FROM RUNNING.

Have a tough time taking time off? Snuggle a baby. You'll never want to move.

Have a tough time taking time off? Snuggle a baby. You’ll never want to move.

Play the long game. You want to be running when you’re 101, right?

Fauja Singh, age 101.  (Image courtesy of Getty Images)

Fauja Singh, age 101.
(Image courtesy of Getty Images)

Run smart, friends.

Now go out and run.

Blink

Blink and you’ll miss it. Life. It’s happening right now and I have no idea how to slow it down.

I’ve been woefully absent from this blog for all the very best reasons. My beautiful son and gorgeous husband fill my days and weekends and school steals every free hour I will allow. Holidays and vacations from school are the times when I step away from all things related to “work”, this blog included.

Because if I blink, I will miss it.

I will not miss these moments.

I will not miss these moments. I refuse to miss these moments.

The other day, someone asked me if I was training for a marathon. I told them no. They followed that up with, “I guess you’re not running then, huh?”

I don’t just run to race. I don’t just race marathons. The last race I ran was in September 2013 and I don’t have any intention of attempting another one until July 2015.

Spending a lot of time at Refine Method these days. Get strong before you go long!

Spending a lot of time at Refine Method these days. Get strong before you go long!

And I’m still running and I’m still a runner.

I don’t feel bad about stepping back from training. I feel confident that I am taking good care of my post-baby, post-cesarean section body by not pushing back into training. As an almost-PT, I know full well what will happen to my body if I do.

Plus, running and training take a ton of time for me.  I don’t want to blink and miss my tiny man’s moments.

Wouldn't miss it for the world.

Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

I know a lot of new moms and dads feel guilty about taking the time to go for a run. Don’t. Some may not feel the pull back to the road for a while. That’s ok, too. Don’t regret those moments that passed by because you felt obligated to be somewhere else doing something else.

Priorities change for so many reasons. Go with the flow. Do what you need to do. Don’t let the haters get you down. Don’t let the crazies make you feel like a lazy ass. Hakuna matata, friend.

Running will always be there.

Now go out and run…or not.