I’m here to report that saying you’re going to train outside all winter and actually doing so are two very different things. It’s nice to saying that no matter how cold it gets and no matter how much snow falls, you’ll be out there trudging through it, but the reality of icy, unshoveled sidewalks are just about enough to ruin any well-intentioned run.
Last week Boston got about fifteen inches of snow between Thursday and Friday. It was frigidly cold and after being cooped up inside for two days, Danna (in from out of town for the week!) and I headed to the gym.
My original plan was to run three miles on the treadmill. I had my phone playing music and I was ready to go. After a couple minutes of a warm-up walk I started jogging. And then I was fixating on the red numbers telling me how much time wasn’t passing. I tried looking for something else to focus on, but the options in the gym are kind of limited. Look to the left at the girl running easily, to the right and accidentally make eye contact with someone, or straight ahead at your own reflection in the powered-off tv. I found my entire time on the treadmill incredibly awkward, and I ended up walking a lot because I was so bored and uncomfortable. After thirty minutes on the treadmill I sat on the bike for another thirty, which was slightly less agonizing.
I am really envious of religious gym go-ers. The type that go three times a week, or more, for an hour and enjoy it (are they actually out there?). When Danna and I were at the gym we definitely looked like early January newbies, not knowing where the locker room was, and wearing cotton shirts. But we went, and survived, and felt better knowing we had worked off a little bit of our blizzard bellies.
Its hard to find a routine that keeps you motivated during the winter, but I know that I can’t let myself take these months off. Spring will be here before you know it, and so will all of the races I’m planning on being prepared to run. Bundle up and run outside, learn to tolerate the treadmill, or sign up for classes at the gym and try something new. There are options for winter workouts, we just have to look for them. Giving up can’t be one of them.