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.
I don't want to put on 100 layers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?