I know it always turns into a pissing contest when folks talk/post/tweet about their local weather. I am fully aware that it is colder/hotter/snowier/wetter/whatever where you live, yet I will continue. This is my first winter as a runner and although I have been out in some truly shitty weather, I would say the majority of my mid-week runs have been on a treadmill. I’ve been trying to get outside for my long runs, but during the week, on the 3-6 mile runs, I’ve been heading to our gym. Today is looking to be a bit warmer, which is nice. I’m always excited when the needle gets above freezing, but the temperature isn’t my only concern when it comes to the winter and my motivation to do anything besides drink beer and play video games.
I’ve always had a hell of a time keeping a healthy mind during the winter. The shorter days and cabin fever tend to put me in a pissy mood and now, I’m realizing, sucks the motivation to run, right-the-cuss out of me. I’m keeping with my training, staying on my miles, but before I would wake up with excitement to hit the road. I would fall asleep thinking about what route I would take. Now, I’m oversleeping and putting off my workout until I absolutely have to go. I love running first thing in the morning. My running schedule during the non-winter months was great. Up at 5, eat a banana, drink some OJ, run at 6. I loved it. Now, with it not being light until 7, and the roads in my area not being well lit, and lack of proper cold weather gear, and the temperatures at that time of day usually at or below 0°F… I know, you can always find an excuse not to run. I have been running though, just more times than not, at the gym. I’m not sure if having more gear would make it easier to get out there, but unfortunately, I don’t have unlimited funds dedicated to running gear. I would love to have road shoes and trail shoes and backups, but I can’t afford it. Living shoe to shoe here. I own 1 pair of heavier tights that my wife gave me. 2 long sleeve tech shirts, no running jackets 1 tech hat and some mid temperature running gloves. I don’t own cold weather socks, I just double up. I don’t have cold weather pants, I throw sweatpants over the tights. I’m not trying to bitch here, just wanted to give some insight into my winter kit.
I do try to get outside for my long runs. It will take a pretty horrible day to get me on a treadmill for 11+ miles. Last Sunday I ran some local hills and did a bit of hiking through some more slippery climbs near and around a local dam. There is a fire road that runs along the reservoir that during the dryer months is one of my absolute favorite places to run. It was a bit slick and mushy with snow, but still a nice place to be mid run.
After running through the state park at the end of the fire road, there is a nice little trail that leads to a steep climb through the woods which on Sunday, I had to hike. The trail is an old road that has since been closed off to vehicles so under the 3-4 inches of snow, there was pristine ice. It was a pretty shitty climb, but it had it’s views. The following photo was on a little bridge right before the climb.
Even with these outside runs sprinkled in, I’m feeling like more and more of this winter is being spent on a treadmill and I’m learning to be ok with that. It’s tough not being able to do my “normal” morning running routine that I fell in love with this summer, but it’s better than sitting on my ass feeling sorry for myself that it’s too cold to run. Today after I drop the kiddo off at school, I’ll be rocking a short 3 miler and strength training. We’ll see if I can keep my mind right as we enter the balls of the winter. I hate February with an unreasonable passion. Here in New England, it’s always the month that teases you with the idea of spring, all the while dumping snow on you and freezing your nuts off. So, fuck you February, I’ll see you at the gym. You better wear your cup, because I fight dirty.