Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Runners! Shit Or Get Off the Pot

I get asked  why I run in all kinds of shitty weather: extreme cold, snow, wind, heat, rain. And, why I run tough trails that involve grueling ascents and dangerous descents. It's not because I love every minute of it. It's because I can be slightly insane and I like a challenge. Also...

It makes me a better runner. 

When I go out in wind, I think, "The resistance is making me stronger." When I go out in heavy and deep snow, I think "I am using different muscles and this is making me stronger." When I go out in the extreme cold or heat I think, "This sucks balls. Why am I doing this? Oh, yeah, maybe it is making me stronger mentally."

It may sound weird, but to me running isn't meant to be all enjoyment. It is meant to be a challenge and a chance to improve performance and to become stronger. It's a chance to think about running form (I do this constantly when I run - Where are my feet landing? How is my posture? Are my arms pumping and at what degree? Does my butt look cute?). 

It's a chance to build a base that will ultimately help me to keep running until I am 94 (I am pretty sure they make running shorts with built-in Depends, If they don't I am inventing them so don't steal my idea. Let's face it, I could probably use those shorts in my life now).

Every single run here in Colorado over the past two weeks has been below freezing. I am trying to keep up my 30-35 miles/week routine until February or so when I will start building mileage for the TransRockies Run (120 miles/6 days). This has given me a lot of time to argue with myself about going out for a run. 

It's freezing.
So what?
I don't want to put on 100 layers.
So what?
I don't want to be cold for an hour.
So what? Is it going to kill you, you pussy?

What I've come to understand is that there are only two secrets to getting out and running in crappy weather.

1. Having the right gear
2. Having the right mind set

There are all types of crappy weather situations, but I'm going to talk snow and cold since that is my reality.

The Gear

When I first started running I had no clue what to wear in the cold. I contemplated a down coat. For real. I just didn't realize how warmed up you get when you run. It took me a long time to trust that, yes, I would warm up and that, no, I did not need as many clothes as I thought I would need. Here are the essentials:

Warm jacket. I have two jackets I wear when it gets below 20 degrees:

This one from Eddie Bauer (usually $129, now $77!):


And, this one from Target (I don't think they sell it anymore, I got it two years ago):


I put one base layer underneath, usually a long sleeve technical running shirt.

Tights:

I love these fleece-lined tights from Pearl Izumi. I only wear these when it is really cold (also under 20 degrees). My legs never get that cold, it is mostly my ass that suffers. 


Gloves:

I don't see the need for super heavy gloves because once my blood gets moving, it passes onto my hands. For the first mile or so, I have to ball up my fists within my gloves. Then they get warm and actually start to sweat and I can put them back into the fingers. I use these from Athleta (but I'm not sure they sell them anymore).



Hat: I wear a heavier hat form Columbia. I also have one from Eddie Bauer I like with a pony tail hole (see first pic above).

Socks: Last year I won these socks from Wigwam at a trail race. They have some wool in them and are a bit thicker. I also like that they go up above my ankle.  I love them for really cold days.

Shoes: On snowy days I will wear my trail shoes on the road for more traction. I have two pairs of these:

BTW, Lots of people have asked me about YakTrax. I was sent a pair of the "Run" YakTrax this year (they are lighter and mold really well onto our running shoes). My opinion on YT is that they are wonderful...but only for certain conditions. They will not keep you from slipping on the ice. They work best on snow that can be gripped onto (does that make sense)? I will only wear them if I know my entire route will be snowy, because I don't like using the YT on pavement because of the way the wires feel on the road/sidewalk. 


The Mindset

Let's get real. We all know that finding your motivation and successfully getting out the door is all about a shit-or-get-off-the-pot attitude. That's why I call this blog Shut Up and Run. I got so sick of hearing myself and lots of other people making excuses about why they weren't doing the things they wanted to do, so I came up with the name. Running, like anything else, is a DECISION. It's not an argument or a negotiation or anything else. You make running a part of your routine and you GO. That is all. 

Some pointers:

  1. Shut Up and Run. Did you think I’d start this list anywhere else? Stop being a baby. Provided you are not vomiting, wheezing, injured, or about to become injured, ditch the excuses for why you aren’t running and go do it. The longer you give your brain time to talk your body out of going for a run, the better the chances are you won’t do it. Don’t over-think things. Lace up your shoes and go.
  2. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane. Think of the last time you didn’t want to run but went anyway. Remember how you felt after the run. 99 out of 100 people say they feel better after a run and never regret having done it. Those are pretty good odds. The leftover person who did not feel better doesn’t count because they were probably lying.
  3. Spice It Up. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a couple of incentives to get out there. Let’s face it, even if you really love to do something, you can have off days. That’s why there are books like “Adding Spice in the Bedroom.” So – add some spice to your run. Put a few new tunes on your iPod. Plan a small reward for yourself once you finish the run (Cinnamon Dolce Latte perhaps?). Wear a new piece of running clothing.
  4. Change Your Attitude. Listen you whiner, you get to run. There are many people who can’t even walk. There are some people, like babies, who can’t even crawl. Take a look around: half the blogging world is injured. Be grateful you can get out there and stop your bitching. Not that I would know anything about being injured.
  5. Take 10. If all else fails, give yourself permission to head out for ten minutes and to turn around if you cannot take another step because you are just that unmotivated. Something physiologically and mentally happens when you start to run. This transformation is so powerful and immediate that you usually want to keep running. Odds are you will not turn for home after ten minutes, but if you do, at least know you tried. Then email me and I will berate you for a half hour (JK).
Now get out there and don't be pussy your whole life.

Any other tips for getting out there in crappy weather?

SUAR


64 comments:

  1. If the weather is crappy and you don't feel like it, you will feel more awesome than usual when you get it done!! BTW, I have that exact jacket from Target. It's awesome, best $35 I ever spent on running gear.

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  2. I have a 4-legged running buddy that pesters me the whole time I'm getting ready. Can't let him down. This time of year, I go immediately after I get home from work. I don't give myself time to do anything but change and go.

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  3. I recently purchased a pair of running shoes made with an inner Gore-Tex liner and they are seriously life-altering. I've tried SmartWool socks, toe warmers, and yes even duct tape over the tops of my shoes, but nothing has ever really helped keep my toes from going numb with cold in the winter until now. Worth every penny! Hot Hands in my running mittens are also key for me in the winter - the Costco value pack is the best!

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    Replies
    1. Great tip, I didn't know they made those!

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    2. Agreed! I have a pair of trail running shoes with Gore-Tex. They are amazing!

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  4. I've learned to run in whatever Mother Nature sends my way with the exception of lightning and ice.
    Today we are in a flash flood warning. I am trying to motivate myself into getting dressed and running this evening but the rain has been so heavy I may have to head to the gym instead.
    This winter has just sucked. Mother Nature has been seriously bipolar.
    Blah.

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  5. You are singing to the choir here, but I like the tune. Shake that assicle! Don't forget a hat. I've got a great fleece one that is perfect. It was free.

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  6. Change your surroundings. Switch between road and trail if you can or a different route.
    We finally got snow, 11 inches, and since the roads were less than ideal I went snowshoeing. It's not running but it's good cross training. It was dark by the time I finished and it was awesome.

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  7. Listen Beth, if you're talking about me, I've been injured. I can't help it if my recovery period just happens to coincide with below 0° temps. I'm just lucky like that.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I was talking about you! I thought it was more subtle. By injured, do you mean "hungover"? See you tonight at McConnahys?

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  8. Ditto on I don't run in lightning storms, but just about anything else I've decided is fair game. I'm new to colder temps though so I appreciate the advice.

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  9. Get your kids a dog. The kind that needs exercise 3x/day and needs to run. Then when the kids whine that they're not "morning people" and couldn't possibly take her out in the morning (read that last part in a whiny voice) YOU can do it instead -- rain, snow, sleet, fog, you name it. A high-energy dog who needs to pee is all the motivation you need to start a 10-15 year long run streak. True story.

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  10. Your 5 tips are spot on, Beth! Now, don't go getting a big head or anything...but I often think of YOU and tell myself to Shut Up and Run! I think how the bad weather here is a balmy day in Colorado and of you and your badass assicle!

    My best motivator is getting dressed for a run...and I often use the 10 minute rule. I don't think that I have actually ever turned around after 10 minutes in the 20+ years that I've been running.

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  11. Serendipitously I wrote on the very same topic today…though naturally I was much more serious about it. http://jannielynn.blogspot.ca/2015/12/post-christmas-running-update.html Thanks for the kick in the ass, Beth!!

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  12. Your recommendations are spot on for winter running. I agree yak trax work best in light snow cover or freshly packed snow, once it's icy or snow covering ice they don't help much. Since I'm in Montana we get lots of snow-packed and icy conditions I switched to "Ice Spikes", the little spikes you screw into your own shoes. I screwed these bad boys (TWSS) into a pair of Gortex Asics shoes and I'm good to go! Kind of like studded snow tires. If I'm headed out on trails that are more steep and could be icy, I got a pair of Katoohla spikes. These look like mini-crampons for your trail shoes but they will get you up and down some gnarly winter terrain if you need to (but don't try to run on pavement with them, they will do fine on dirt sections though)

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    Replies
    1. I was also going to recommend Katoohlas, running on icy trails is my favorite! And if this is Katie Gibson, then it's so nice to run into you on the internet :)

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    2. Guilty as charged :) Katoohlas are the only thing to get up Mt. Sentinel once it turns icy. Is this Laurel HP?

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    3. Yes!! Hopefully this year I'll actually be able to run up Sentinel again (or down actually, that's the challenge with the knee). For now I'm sticking to short flat runs in Greenough and Rattlesnake, and I can't even handle the excitement :| One of my goals for the year is get back to where I was two summers ago so I can hang out with you ladies on the trails!! Happy New Year!

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  13. I feel that! I ran this morning when it was right around zero outside and it was freaking cold....until I started running! It's all about dressing properly. If you get a chance, check out the Kahtoola NanoSpikes. I cover the traction section for a magazine and tested those last year-- they did really well on icy pavement and are super low profile so they don't feel all clunky!

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    Replies
    1. I wear the nanos. They don't gather clumps of snow like coils do.

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  14. I'm replacing my "Think light. Be bold."
    mantra with "So what? Is it going to kill you, you pussy?" I think this will work wonders for me! Really.

    And good running socks I've never found. I'm off to track down Wigwams. Thank you, Beth!

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  15. Fab post, lots to take away into 2016. Except for the tights - never sure men look good in tights (although that could just be my not very diminutive frame).

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  16. As kids, whenever we didn't want to eat something or do something, my dad would always tell us (I have 3 sisters) that it would "put hair on our chests". Don't ask me how that motivated us but it did and I still tell myself that when I don't want to do something!

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  17. I screw hex screws into one pair of shoes, and I'm good to go in the ice and snow! I've got that jacket. Thought I'd pick up another this year and am so disappointed they don't make them anymore.

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  18. On ice and compacted snow, I use Kahtoola Nanospikes. They have small studs like the front part of the Yaktrax Runs, but instead of the coiled wires on the back, they have studs on the rear. Unlike the Microspikes, they are good on pavement.

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  19. This was such a great post! I loved it! Thanks for the recommendations and the motivation! You are so right!

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  20. This was such a great post! I loved it! Thanks for the recommendations and the motivation! You are so right!

    ReplyDelete
  21. "Running like anything else is a DECISION." Thank you!!! When ppl ask me how I can run when it's cold/rainy/snowy/sleety/crappy out and this is exactly what I tell them. But I don't have your cachet, so I usually get the "what a crazy person" look and then they seem to avoid me. This is an awesome post!

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  22. I needed this post today! Thank you for the kick in the arse!!

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  23. So it was pretty cold this morning in Indy -- not Colorado cold and no snow, but our first 20 degree morning and I was feeling super whiny. I was laying in bed trying to talk myself into getting my ass out there to run, but mostly I was just thinking of reasons to keep my ass in my warm bed. I decided to check in with your blog in order to stall a little bit longer and look what I found -- exactly what I needed to get me to haul myself out of bed and get the hell out there to run. I was not a pussy and I didn't die. Thanks!

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  24. SUAR!! Love it! I'm going to bookmark this post for the future.

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