Last Saturday morning I had a training session with my group of local ladies. It was bitterly cold outside, our usual January weather, with a thin layer of ground fog. As I gave initial instructions they were hopping up and down and side to side in order to keep warm. We finally began running and instantly started chatting too.
There were twelve of us, but this was only about a third of the group signed up for the run. The rest? I’m sure a few had a change of plans, but I also know most were at home or still in bed.
At this time of year I get a lot of emails and messages from runners and clients wanting advice because they don’t understand why they don’t feel that same longing and desire that they used to for running. “Used to” meaning last summer.
I see it in two ways…
First, millions of years ago when we were all running around in loincloths and carrying clubs, once it got cold we headed for our caves. We stayed there for a good long time, at least until it started to warm up again outside many months later.
Move forward millions of years and we still have that genetic longing to stay inside and huddle in our caves when it gets cold. Unfortunately we’ve created a society and lifestyle for ourselves that obliges us to keep active all year round.
Second, not every single workout is going to be wonderful. In English we use the phrase, It’s not always going to be Kittens & Rainbows.
The Italian translation is, It won’t always be Roses & Flowers.
(I personally like the kitties more than the flowers…)
I don’t have any magic formulas for making winter running more pleasurable. There’s less light out and sometimes it’s raining or snowing. Often you have to deal with ice and finding the right shoes for the low temps so you don’t slip on the pavement. Through trial and error you find the right combination of layers to wear, but it may take all winter to arrive at a workable wardrobe.
But if you get out the door in robot style, no thinking involved, you can have some of the most incredible moments. After a mere five minutes of running you’re already warmed up. Since there’s no risk of overheating and stressing your body, you can actually run faster during the colder months.
The best thing about staying active during the winter is that once spring comes around you’ll not only be ready to really start training, you’ll be ready to race. So go grab a friend or two, get out there and train together. Only seven more weeks until spring – practically tomorrow!
Our 5K and 10K courses begin the first week of March. It should be warm enough outside by then!