Five Reasons Why I Love Running in Winter

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Reason #5: Snow! So pretty and crunchy beneath my feet! It makes me want to bounce, but I usually manage to resist the urge of rolling around in it and making snow angels. In any case, I’d have to try really hard to get too hot while running in winter.

Reason #4: I use all my running gear. In the summer, I’d run in a sports bra and underpants if I could get away with it (sometimes, I do!). The shortest tops and shorts just keep being washed and worn over and over. Not so in winter. I’ve dug deep into my closet and uncovered all my running gear, which all gets worn in winter, usually in layers or twos and threes.

Reason #3: I try lots of new stuff in winter. In the summer, running outside is easy, when it’s possible to go almost anywhere, at any time. In winter, my usual routes are often no longer safe or sane to run, so I had to get a little creative. I’ve run before work, run at lunchtime, run at night, run on the roads, headed into town and have run on the pavement. I’ve visited the running track, have run while wearing hats and gloves and have experimented with the dreadmill. All of these things didn’t sound at all appealing at first, but really, how can I know what I like and what I don’t, what works for me and what doesn’t, if I don’t try it first? The change of routine is welcome and I’m discovering new things and am learning more about myself as a runner every day.

Think outside the box - Jan A. Poczynek

Reason #2: Badass feel factor increases exponentially when conditions and temperature decreases. Sure, it’s easy to put on the running shoes on a perfect summer evening, when the sun is kissing the horizon and a gentle summer breeze lays in wait to caress my exposed skin. But in winter, running straight into a hailstorm makes me feel so much cooler (in every way) than sitting on the couch and eating peanut butter with a spoon straight out of the jar.

Reason #1: And number one reason why running in winter is awesome? Chocolate! That’s right. Only in winter is it possible to eat chocolate while running. I use it for fuel on long runs or just because it’s a weekday that ends with the letter “y”. Seriously, it doesn’t get more awesome than this!

chocolate-heart-cookies

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Two Nights, One Village

Considering that I’m a trail-running tree-hugger at heart, I never thought that I could enjoy spending wintry evenings running on the roads.

The fact is that I simply wouldn’t feel safe on the trails in the darkness, especially because I often run on my own. I still haven’t been able to move myself to head to the gym and revisit the dreadmill, so this week, in a somewhat desperate move, I’ve simply stepped out my front door and ran around my village.

Inspired by the lovely smallislandrunner, I decided to make a game out of it, and over two evenings ran along every street in my little village. I’ve lived here for a few years, but this still helped me discover a few nooks and crannies I have never visited before.

What’s more, it’s been really good fun – I enjoyed the silence of the streets at night, watching my shadow dance in the street lamp light and listening to my footfall on the damp sidewalks.

Isn’t it funny how things that we dread can turn out to be so good for us?

Pittenweem Night

Challenge Accepted!

This week I’ve been feeling pretty tired and I place the blame for this squarely in the court of the approaching winter. It doesn’t help, then, that my marathon training plan demands that I run more miles this week than I have ever done in the space of seven days. The fact that I spent last Sunday morning hammering out 32km on some very hilly trails almost certainly also has something to do with my slump in oomph. Still, I keep pointing the finger of blame primarily at winter and its knack for stealing away a little bit of my precious zest with each passing day, especially when each of these days is a little darker, colder and gloomier than the one before.

For the moment I have decided to simply ignore winter and am keeping my eyes firmly fixed on the 10th of November, when the sound of a gun in Marathon shall unleash me upon my first ever 26.2 mile journey. To keep me entertained in the meantime, my emotions accompanying the event have all gathered at a theme park and are hanging out in the creaking carts of the good old rollercoaster. Whenever I think about the race, any sentiment on the long and colourful spectrum from blissful excitement to sheer terror can temporarily possess my heart. The only thing that remains constant is my stubborn determination to see this journey through.

So far, winter hasn’t stopped me from training, but I admit that this week it has been starting to get a little rough. Yesterday, I willingly sacrificed my lunch break to run ten kilometres around a lake, incorporating a few playful strides into the run, which was all good fun. Today I was supposed to do a tempo run, but when I had finished work and other obligations, it was already dark outside. Damn, how did that happen? Winter 1 – me 0. I decided to hit the dreadmill and faithfully complete my 10 kilometre hill run (yes really, I’m that stubborn). At the moment, I’m calling it a 1-1 draw. Tomorrow I’ll rest; on Friday it’ll be proper speedwork and Sunday calls for another 20 miler. Naturally, the forecast for the rest of the week is solid rain. Excuse me for a moment while I go and contemplate my imaginary emigration to Antigua.

However, in a mere three weeks I’ll hop on a plane to Greece, escape the northern winter entirely and embark on 42.2 km Sunday morning stroll in the footsteps of Pheidippides. Right now, I really can’t wait to do just that!

If all of this sounds like a struggle, just wait until Monday when my taper officially begins. That’s also promising to be jolly good fun, in the nail-biting and hair-tearing-out kind of way.

Bring it on!

gloomy rainy night