15 Years of Skirt

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A Love Letter

I did not start wearing Skirt Sports 15 years ago — heck, I wasn’t even running 15 years ago. I lived in a different state. I didn’t have dogs yet (although I would get my first dog soon). I was the crazy cat lady who liked to walk, who had a treadmill because I lived in TX and the summers there are brutal.

Running? It was not something I thought about. It was, as they say, the thing I’d do only if there was a bear chasing me.

Fairytales and Fitness

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This was used in a Skirt Sports Ad

Then I started to run
We moved to NY, treadmill in tow, and I slowly began to run (mostly on that treadmill). Slowly being the operative word. I’ve always felt that if you look good, you do good — so the hunt was on for cute running clothes.

I tried running in skirts. Let’s just say I don’t have the lean runner body so many imagine when they hear you’re a runner — and that’s okay — because in truth, there is no “real” runner body. We’re all real runners.

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Touring hot & humid NOLA

As much as I wanted to love skirts for running, the shorties always rode up on me. I tried brand after brand only to be disappointed. Then I bought my first skirt from Skirt Sports, which was a Happy Girl Skirt, by the way, and I was in love. The pockets! The cute patterns!

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Running through hot & humid NOLA to a PR!

It was, as they say, the beginning of a true love story. Forget music being the background of your life — for me it’s been skirt.

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I may not look like your typical runner, but I can do hard things, like run down mountains

I came for the cuteness . . .
. . . I stayed because Skirt Sports is a company that cares. They cared what people thought of their skirts. They didn’t just have Ambassadors (yes, I’ve been an Ambassador for quite a few years) to help market skirt, they really listened to us.

Like any company Skirt Sports had its skirts that knocked it out of the park — and those that were near misses. They included their many Ambassadors in so many decisions: which skirts to put in the line, what patterns to put those skirts in, what new products they should focus on.

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Teaching Yoga in Skirt Sports — they don’t care your age or your body type, only your story

They were inclusive in choosing their Ambassadors, too: all sorts of bodies, all sorts of sports — not all Ambassadors were runners!, all ages. No cookie cutter Ambassadors here.

Skirt Sports also tried to help all women benefit from the joys of activity, whether it was their #womenwhomove campaign or their Running Start Program.

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I had such high hopes for this race: the skirt didn’t disappoint, but the weather did

I remember the first half I ran in Skirt
When I first started running in skirt, I chose the Happy Girl Skirt because it covered my legs more. I was self conscious about those non-runner/runner legs. It got me through the brutally, unseasonably hot Heartbreak Hill Half. In fact, at the top of Heartbreak Hill, when they doused me with water, I remember suddenly thinking oh s#@t! My phone’s in my pocket! Both the phone and I survived (me, just barely!).

Eventually, as with many love affairs, I strayed. I cheated. I had gotten over the self consciousness about my legs; all I cared about was being able to run comfortably and having enough pockets. I ran into problems, though — Happy Girl was just a little too long for this petite girl, but I chafed in the more popular Gym Girl Ultra in longer distances.

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My “uniform” for all hot races (and my longest race)

Eventually, though, the ever innovative Skirt Sports team came up with the Cool It Skirt, and for this runner’s body, it was perfection. It was all Skirt Sports, all the time from then on out.

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Who wears short skirts? And Cool It Tops are great in the Summer & transitioning from Winter to Spring

I even began wearing the shorter skirts, the Jettes and the Lionesses — my legs may not be my best feature, but they can carry me 18 miles, and I fell in love with those shorter skirts! I turned many friends onto Skirt Sports, too.

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Will run for chocolate

Skirt helped me tackle trails, too. They got me through my first trail half, which obviously lived up to its name: Mud and Chocolate. Usually you’ll find me running trails with my friends in the Summer, though, and I’m usually looking to cool down, not warm up (the Cool It tops work great for Summer trail running!).

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Skirting through Summer

Skirt for Life
In the warmer months, I live in skirt. In the Winter months (which is about half the year in the Northeast), Skirt Sports gets me through my cold runs.

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Cold, snowy runs — more fun in Skirt Sports & with friends!

I have hiked through many states, and many scenic areas in my own state, in Skirt.

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Kicking it up in the National Parks in UT
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Scenic upstate NY
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Walking with the dogs
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So many walks & hikes with dogs! Those pockets help so much with doggy paraphenalia
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Meeting new Skirt Sisters in Savannah just last year

One of the best benefits of Skirt Sports are the friends I made. I ran into an Ambassador — or a Skirt lover — at so many races across the country. Sometimes by design, sometimes randomly, sometimes more than once!

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There were good times with my parents in skirt, too

Skirt Sports has been there for me, through the good runs, the bad runs, the good times in life — and the bad times in life. Yes, I even wore a Skirt Sports skirt to my parents 70th anniversary celebration — and to my Dad’s funeral service.

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Not a PR, but a rare AG place!

I came to Skirt to run, to race, and I have, indeed, run so many races in Skirt Sports. Good ones, bad ones, the rare ugly one, the PRs. Looking cute and feeling comfortable always gave me that little extra boost.

Final Thoughts
I apologize for the many photos and the length of this post, but those of you who’ve known me for a while via this blog, know that my love of all things Skirt runs deep. I can’t believe there won’t be a #31daysofskirt this July. I can’t believe there won’t be cool new patterns to drool over next year. I can’t believe there will not be new skirts that are even more innovative.

I have had my own business, too, and I understand that there often comes a time when you are ready to move on — and that that moving on isn’t easy. Thank you, Nicole DeBoom, for sharing your dream with me and so many other women. You have made a difference in our lives, and we wish you well wherever life takes you.

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Shop the Skirt Sports Finish Line Sale here

Cute running clothes may seem silly. Until you run or race in them. Cute, functional running clothes? Those can literally change your life.  — Chocolaterunsjudy

No questions today. Just sincere love & gratitude for being a part of the Skirt Sports family.

21 Days of Yoga Challenge

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Are you ready to make Yoga a daily practice?

If doing more Yoga was a New Year’s resolution (remember those?), then I have the challenge for you! Excuse me while I do a little bit of shameless self promotion.

Along with four fellow Yoga teachers, I have been working on this challenge for months. I am so excited to finally share it with you!

Fairytales and Fitness

21 Days of Yoga Social Media
Come practice with us for 21 Days & make Yoga a habit

What is the 21 Days of Yoga Challenge?
The short story is that it’s 21 days of short Yoga videos. Most are between 10-15 minutes, some are even shorter. You’ll be hitting your upper body, your lower body, your core. You’ll stretch it out in the morning and again in the evening.

I owe many thanks to the following Yoga teachers who worked with me on this project:

  • Ashley Bradshaw (her YouTube channel is here)
  • Andrea Roozekraus (her YouTube channel is here)
  • Jennifer Hall (her YouTube channel is here)
  • Jess Withell (her YouTube channel is here)
  • Of course my YouTube channel is here

You may not like my style, and maybe you don’t like someone else’s style, but you are bound to find someone’s style of Yoga that resonates with you with five Yoga teachers.

I have, of course, included a lot of videos that go straight to runner problems:

  • Help for Plantar Fasciitis
  • Loosening up that IT Band
  • Pre- and Postrun Stretches
  • Strong Hamstrings
  • And there’s 17 more videos!
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A sneak peak at what you’ll get

You will get a short, daily email with links to the day’s video — and more. There’s a calendar, there’s an ebook, there’s three bonuses.

Interested? You can sign up here. Oh, did I mention it’s all free?

Yoga meets you where you are. Yoga doesn’t want to change you, it wants to help you. — Chocolaterunsjudy

What type/s of Yoga do you enjoy?

What time of day do you practice Yoga — or want to practice Yoga?

What’s your biggest problem when it comes to practicing Yoga?

What Yoga challenge would you love to do?

 

Karma vs Dharma

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Karma: What you are here to learn

Karma isn’t necessarily about past lives, although for those who believe — I’m not sure if I do or not — it can be. We’re all here for a reason, which is actually more about Dharma than Karma — we’ll get to that in a bit. You can hear a bit about the difference between Karma and Dharma in my vlog here.

Karma is really about what we were born to learn. Or the many things we were born to learn — I know I’ve learned quite a bit over the years; I’m not talking about the stuff we learn in school!

Fairytales and Fitness

What I’ve learned
I know it’s really boring to many, or triggering for some, but weight is something I’ve always struggled with. Even having maintained a healthy weight for quite a few years, it’s not always as easy for me as it is for some people. It’s something I know I was meant to learn in this life.

I also had to learn that motion is lotion. Although my parents were very active and encouraged activity in their kids, I was the quiet, bookish one.  It took a lot of years, but now an active lifestyle is normal for me, even if I can sit still for long periods of time easily.

Dharma: What’s Your Purpose in Life?

Your Dharma most likely isn’t your job, although it can be. What makes you feel most alive? What fires you up? What would you do even if you weren’t paid for it? That’s your Dharma, and it can change in your life — or change your life.

We are not are jobs. If your job fires you up and you’re passionate about it — lucky you! Your Dharma may be to be a great mom. It may be to be of service to other people. If you don’t know your Dharma, I really do believe that now is a great time to ponder your life’s direction. Maybe it’s time to change course.

bdharmaWhat’s my Dharma?
I believe that my purpose in life is to help people to live happier, healthier, less stressful lives. It’s taken many forms over my life: becoming a WW leader (for a short time), blogging about these subjects — even before this blog, training the furkids and making sure they get great food/treats, and of course, becoming a Yoga teacher.

Many different “jobs”, but most actually fell right in line with my Dharma.

Your purpose in life is to know yourself & love yourself. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Do you know your Dharma (life’s purpose)?

Is your Dharma different from your job?

What’s your Karma?

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ICYMI: Feeling in need of a longer stretch after a run? Or maybe you just need some grounding in these crazy times. Today’s Yin Yoga practice here will help you do both.

21 Days of Yoga Social Media
Coming soon!

Ready to make Yoga a practice instead of only an occasional afterthought? How about a short daily practice (between 10 and 15 minutes) for 21 days? Videos focusing on all those tight runner muscles: feet, calves, hamstrings. Videos to help you loosen your upper body, take a midday break, and have a better night’s sleep. Stay tuned — it’s coming soon!

Be the first to know when I release new videos: sign up for my newsletter here to find out when I add new videos, and you’ll receive a free Self Love Affirmation PDF and a bonus audio-only version of this self love meditation.

We are lucky

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You probably don’t feel so lucky right now — or maybe you do. I must say, now is a great time to be an introvert. Who knew it’s the introverts who can more easily weather a pandemic? We like to be at home. We like to be with just a small tribe. Sometimes we really like to be alone, too.

Now I want you to close your eyes and imagine if this had happened 20 years ago. Heck, it probably did. I mean, there was 9/11 after all. There was Y2K, too. Yes, we survived those and many other tragedies and most of us will survive this one, too. Today we have so many more tools that can help us to weather this storm.

Fairytales and Fitness

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We are so connected
Being connected isn’t always such a good thing (not if you’re glued to your phone while walking), but in this case, it is. We can Facetime. We can text. We can follow each other on Social Media. In times like these, that’s a good thing.

I tried so hard to teach my mom how to use a smart phone, but unfortunately she wasn’t really interested and she has a pretty severe hand palsy that made it difficult so she gave up. Yes, I tried to teach her how to use the microphone. I can and do stay in touch with her by phone!

We can get so much information — so fast
I definitely don’t suggest that you stay glued to the news 24/7 — it’s a really bad idea. Always check out any information you do glean online, too, there’s lots of misinformation out there.

We live in a time, though, that makes it so easy to get information out to most people. We are lucky!

We have entertainment at our fingertips — 24/7
I remember what a big deal MTV was when it first premiered. I couldn’t watch it, as my parents didn’t have cable TV. Back then, though, there wasn’t much on after a certain time. That’s why MTV was so ground breaking. Now we have almost first run movies and more TV series than we could watch in a lifetime due to cable, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more.

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Most of us have hundreds (at least!) of books at our fingertips
When I was growing up, I reread the same few books over and over again. I knew them inside and out. I don’t get to know books like that anymore, which is kind of sad, but the reason — there are just so many books available to us — is good!

Audiobooks, too, which are perfect while driving (most of us will probably be spending much less time in our cars in the days ahead) — or while running.

Virtual friends
You can’t catch COVID-19 through your computer screen, thank goodness (although maybe from your computer screen if you touch it!). It’s so nice to check in with you all through the linkups, hear your news, get tips on how to stay sane in troubling times.

Online Games
I’m not really a gamer, about all I know about online games is Words with Friends. No, I don’t play it — maybe it’s a good time to start, although I’m actually not great with Scrabble, which is weird, I have a good vocabulary. Games in real life with your family is a great idea right now, too.

Keep the ones that aren’t so lucky in your prayers & heart
Not everyone lives in a first world country, with easy access to clean water and medical care. Realize how very lucky we are, and pray for the ones that won’t be that lucky.

These are tough times, with the toughest thing being the uncertainty. There is always a silver lining, if you look hard enough for it. I actually think that we’ve been given an opportunity here — to evaluate our lives, the “busyness” of our lives, and whether or not that serves us. Now is the time to think about what is truly important to you. I hope that you can use this time to make positive changes in your life. For those that are afflicted, I pray that you get the care you need and come through this and back to health. — Chocolaterunsjudy

What are you doing to stay calm?

Any online or regular games you recommend?

Are you practicing a little more self care right now?

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ICYMI: I know that most of us are anxious and on edge right now. Being on high alert all the time is actually really damaging to our immune system.  I created this meditation to help you reduce anxiety here. In fact, I had so much material that I plan to create a another guided meditation to reduce anxiety soon — stay tuned!

I’m also working on one for irritability, because with all the close quarters and disruption to our lives, tempers are likely to flare. If you do like these meditations, please press the like button — it helps me continue to bring everyone free videos.

Be the first to know when I release new videos: sign up for my newsletter here to find out when I add new videos, and you’ll receive a free Self Love Affirmation PDF and a bonus audio-only version of this self love meditation.

Keep calm but stay healthy!

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When I asked if people were worried about Coronavirus, most weren’t, but some were. Or at least it was on their radar. Even if you’re not, we’re in that time of year when colds and viruses just love to strike. What can you do to insure you’re not a victim? Or to get better if you do succumb?

Fairytales and Fitness

 

Gargle with warm salt water at the first sign of a scratchy throat
It may be what your mom or your grandma told you to do. Turns out mom & grandma were right. According to this post on the WebMD here:

You’re creating a high-salt barrier and you’re pulling out a lot of fluids from the tissues in the throat area, so you’re washing the virus out. The salt functions as a magnet for water. It’s good for symptomatic relief. And you end up swallowing some of it, so it’s sort of helping you with dehydration as well.” (To clarify: The swallowing bit is incidental — it just tends to happens when gargling. You’re not meant to actually drink the warm salt water.)

I hadn’t gargled in years, but when this tip showed up in multiple places and my throat was a bit sore last week, I did. It didn’t hurt, anyway, and may have helped.

Steeping some Tulsi tea

Try Tulsi Tea
If you read this article here, it seems that Tulsi Tea can cure everything, including cancer. It is definitely good for your immune system, and I drink it regularly. I love Allegro Lemon Ginger tea (Amazon Affiliate link here). Another popular brand, which I’ve also used, is Organic India (Amazon Affiliate link here).

Make sure that you cover your tea while it’s steeping (for about 5 minutes). Covering your tea keeps it hot, but it also helps prevents the essential oils in herbal teas from evaporating.

Covering black and green teas can allow more tannins to seep into your tea, which can leave a bitter taste — although I drink a lot of green tea, which I steep covered for 3 minutes. I don’t find it bitter, except when I let it stay covered for longer than 3 minutes.

Honey + Black Pepper + Ginger + Turmeric Oh My!

Take some honey
I know a lot of people swear by honey in their tea to soothe a sore throat. Yes, that works. I happened to read a post when I was first feeling unwell, which recommended adding turmeric, black pepper, and ginger to raw honey and mixing it all together; approximately 1 tbsp honey and a couple of pinches of each herb. Then just lick off the spoon. It certainly didn’t hurt and it tasted good!

By the way, did you know that you actually shouldn’t bake with honey? There are several reasons why in this post here. You also should be looking for raw (there’s the heat thing again), local honey.

It may sound gross, but . . . 
Oil your nostrils. The truth is a dry nose is a pain, but did you know that there are actual health benefits to oiling your nose (and your ears, too). I know it sounds wacky. It’s part of Ayurvedic wisdom, but modern science is beginning to catch up with this ancient tradition, as seen in this post here.

Modern science has recognized this nose-to-brain connection as well, noting that the upper region of the nasal cavity, or the olfactory region, is directly connected to the brain, as is the respiratory region of the nasal cavity, which is connected to the trigeminal sensory neurons and blood vessels. These neurons are responsible for facial sensations and our ability to bite and chew.

I like to add cacao to my Golden Milk. I mean, why not?

Keeping calm is actually important
One way to keep calm (and potentially lower blood sugar, improve digestion, fight off bacteria and viruses — according to this post here, which also has instructions on how to make it, may be with Golden Milk. You can buy mixes, but it’s really not that hard to just make your own turmeric paste (like I do above) and add it to almond milk (or your milk of choice).

This is what it looks like after it’s warmed up and the turmeric paste has melted into the almond milk (but before I add the cacao). Turmeric will turn just about anything it comes in contact with yellow!

I, of course, love to make a healthy hot chocolate with home made Golden Milk and cacao.

Pho Yum (which is the restaurant’s name)!

When all else fails . . .
Have some chicken soup. Again, grandma and mom were right. Science is beginning to catch up with grandma and mom, too.

If you’ve never tried Pho (Vietnamese chicken — or beef, or vegetarian — noodle soup) — you should! It’s yummy. The noodles are rice noodles, which are gluten free (don’t ask me what goes into the broth, though). Although I also swear by canned Chicken Matzo Ball soup.

Have you ever tried any of these home remedies for sickness?

Which one sounds appealing to you?

Have you tried Pho? Do you want to now?

Getting Winter Running Dressing Right

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The truth is that how to dress for a run is a highly personal thing. Some runners heat up fast when running, others (myself, for instance) have a higher tolerance for sweat. Not that I enjoy running when it’s hot and humid, mind you.

I swear runners wouldn’t be runners if we weren’t complaining about something!

This post is about how I got it right on a recent run. YMMV (your mileage — or outfit — may (will) vary).

Fairytales and Fitness

Let’s set the stage, shall we?
The temperature is 34F. There is a cold, light, but steady drizzle falling. The sky is gray, but there’s no wind. The kind of day I’d usually opt for the treadmill, but I already knew I’d be on the treadmill later in the week, and I really do try to make an effort to #optoutside as much as I can stand in Winter!

What do I need?
It’s not inviting weather, but knowing what you need to tackle it is half the battle:

  • I need a way to keep the cold, steady drizzle out of my face
  • I need clothes that will at least partially repel said drizzle so I stay at least somewhat dry
  • I need a way to make sure I don’t slip on the road
  • I need a way to keep my hands and my feet dry
Wonder Wool kept me dry, trail shoes helped me stay upright, and the gloves are very warm and actually work on my phone

So what did I choose to meet all those needs?

  • I need a way to keep the cold, steady drizzle out of my face
    I have a hat with an attached gaiter and a brim like a baseball cap, only it’s a Winter hat. I don’t wear it often, but man it made all the difference on that run.
  • I need clothes that will at least partially repel said drizzle so I stay at least somewhat dry
    Skirt Sports Wonder Wool to the rescue! Get my long sleeve top here (I’m a Skirt Sports Ambassador) — it’s not at all itchy, since it’s not 100% wool, but it does help repel water). With my newer coat from the North Face (found at Marshalls) with Thermoball material in a vest like position on your body, but fleece on the sides and arms. The coat did a good job of keeping me warm and almost dry — the Wonder Wool top underneath kept what moisture that got through off of my body.
  • I need a way to make sure I don’t slip on the road
    I chose to wear trail shoes. I think with regular road shoes I might have struggled more with footing, but maybe not.
  • I need a way to keep my hands and my feet dry
    The trail shoes also have the added benefit of keeping your feet pretty dry. I chose my 180s gloves — a bit warm for the temps, but they have wind hoodies that go over the fingers, which helped keep my hands dry, and they’re one of the few tech gloves I have that actually work — even the hoodies seemed to work for swiping through different data screens on the run. Winning!
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I don’t wear this hat often, but it works so well to keep my neck warm (attached gaiter) and the snow out of my eyes due to the brim!

Somehow I nailed this outfit
It was pretty perfect. This run could have been totally soul sucking, but instead, it was the strongest I’ve felt on the run in a couple of weeks. I can’t lay that completely on my outfit, but I know if I’d been cold and wet on the run it would definitely have made this run far less enjoyable. Not that I would have minded sunshine and no drizzle!

Final Thoughts

The right clothes can make or break a bad weather run. Know what’s right for your body — and don’t let anyone dissuade you. What to wear is a very personal decision that varies greatly from one person to another. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Does how you dress make a difference on how your run goes?

Have you ever tried wool running clothes?

Recommendation for winter running gloves?

5 Reasons Winter Running is Good

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Some people love running in Winter. I am not one of those people. Which seems odd, because I’d rather tackle a cold run than a hot, humid one any day of the week. I decided to try to convince myself that Winter running is actually a good thing.

Fairytales and Fitness

 

Almost no need for sunscreen
If you live in the Southern states, this isn’t true for you. Up here in the frozen tundra, sunscreen on my face is all I need during Winter — because those rays ain’t penetrating my many layers. No tweaking my back trying to get sunscreen on it.

No chafing (or rarely)
Oh yes, you can chafe. Even when it’s below freezing. Thankfully it’s a relatively rare occurrence. I don’t apply anti chafe gel during Winter and I rarely have to regret that decision.

Beanies keep my hair somewhat presentable

Beanies are kinder to my hair
Seriously, it’s all about the hair. My hair just looks gross in summer when it’s been shoved into a hat or visor. Beanies don’t completely kill my curls. They feel so much more comfortable than a hard brimmed baseball cap, too.

It gets  you outside
If I didn’t have dogs and I didn’t run, I would try to hibernate through Winter. That’s not quite true, I can remember walking a lot in Winter when I lived in VT and we didn’t have dogs then and I certainly didn’t run. I am not a fan of Winter — did you notice? — but I’d rather run outside than on the treadmill, so I get out there on days I definitely wouldn’t if I didn’t need to run.

Tough like strawberries

It toughens you up!
It’s easy to love running when the sun is shining brightly, the temps are just right, and you have the freedom to run in a tank and skirt. Running through Winter takes discipline. It takes grit. It dedication. All those things that you will need to get through your training the rest of the year.

Consistency: the most important bonus!
I have a lot of friends who tend to stop running during Winter. They have their excuses (and it is just that — an excuse!). They also always struggle to get back into running when the weather is nicer, and they tend to struggle with injuries, too, I’ve noticed.

Runners do get injured, whether we take time off or not, but those months off make it difficult to get started again, and often the runners who take the Winter off try to start back at the same level they left off at — a recipe for injury.

I think that consistency is the key to pretty much everything in life. If you want it, show up, do the work, and keep showing up. It isn’t easier, but it’s easier than “I’ll start again on Monday (or when Winter/Summer ends)”.

Do you embrace Winter running?

What do you like about Winter running?

Do you think Winter running toughens you up?