What will keep you running?


It was just earlier in the week that I wrote tips for getting in more activity in Winter (read that post here). Well, there’s a dark side to that story. It’s no secret that Winter is not my favorite season. There was a reason I interviewed with companies in more temperate climates when I was a senior in college.

Fairytales and Fitness

Perseverance¬†is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.— Newt Gingrich

Running in the cold is my achilles hill. Now wait a minute, you’re probably thinking, aren’t you the same CRJ who says she’d always rather do a cold race than a hot race? Guilty as charged. But being cold, run after run after run, the time it takes me to warm back up after a cold run . . . it all just wears me down.

Sure I have the gears, the tools, and the habits to keep me running even in some pretty darn cold weather. What I don’t always have is the will. I just get so gosh darned tired of being cold.

I know, I know, I have not cornered the market on cold weather running. We can get pretty darn cold up here, but there’s always someplace that’s that much more ridiculously colder. And the runners who post the icy runfies to prove that if you want to, you can run in some pretty crappy weather. And I do!

Eventually, though, I just come to my breaking point. I just can’t bear to be cold any more. It’s not even so much being cold on the run, it’s how I feel after the run.

Yeah, it gets old. Really, really old.

So what’s a tired, cold runner to do?
There’s always the treadmill, obviously. And I admit I choose it on days that I know I could have run outside. Just because I’m so tired of being cold. I don’t love my treadmill, I don’t hate my treadmill, but I love that it’s an option in the comfort of my own home with a nice, big flat screen tv to watch.

The thing that really keeps me running, though, is training for a race. Many runners will go into races undertrained. My body objects to this, and so I do my very best to make sure I’m trained.

This training cycle was strange: I started out with a pretty achy, beat up body (but thankfully not truly injured). It was literally a slow start, with very slow paces. Ok, I thought, this one will be for fun. It’s my birthday trip and I’ve wanted to see Savannah forever.

Clearly my body needs some rest. So I’ll nix the speed work, run by feel, and try alternating 3 day weeks with 4 day weeks. Before I knew it, though, the aches had mostly disappeared and I was running normal paces again. I continued alternating 3 day weeks and 4 day weeks, but I added speed work back in, sometimes twice a week and sometimes just once a week.

Training mostly went well, but there are always those runs that are just crappy for whatever reason. Then we put Gizmo to sleep during the peak week of my training, and my heart wasn’t really in running, but I did it anyway.

I don’t really know what to expect from this race — but then again, we don’t ever know what to expect from a race. I know I’ve done my best, I’ve run through lots of crappy weather and a few nice days, and thankfully I never had to do a long run on the treadmill (which just might kill Old Faithful).

It also kept me out there running. I have no other big goal race on my schedule. There are some maybes, some wannas, but there is nothing I’m signed up for. I’ll still be out there running, because I don’t want to have to start from scratch when I do sign up for that next half.

What your Achilles’ Heel?

How do you overcome it?

Has it changed over the years?

You can have all the right gear, but if you don’t have the right motivation — for you — you’re going to struggle. And probably start, and stop, and start, etc. Find your motivation and nothing can stop you.¬†— Chocolaterunsjudy