Winter Blues

The time has come.  Seems as though it gets earlier and earlier every year.  I have had it with Winter.  Dread it getting here, dread it even more in the midst of it, and eventually fed up completely with the cold and bitterness.  Jesus, and I don’t even live in the north.  My blood has completely thinned out in the years that I have lived in the south.  Winters here have been a walk in the park compared to those when I lived in NY.  That day is here though, I am ready for Spring!

So many of my usual things get hampered by the lack of daylight, the lack of sunshine, the lack of warmth.  My energy levels suck this time of year.  Why do I find this time of year is best spent on the couch or in bed?  The weather just lends to lack of motivation for me.  I have to force myself to bundle up and get outside for a run.  Does this happen to you?

My training miles really suffer at this time of year.  Looking back on my running calendar I realize just how unmotivated I am at this time of year.  60 something miles in January?  How pathetic is that?  What’s even more pathetic is that of those 60 miles, 26.2 of them were during a marathon.  I didn’t even take my running shoes on vacation.  Didn’t run once.

I can only hope Spring gets here soon.  I have a bunch of racing to do in the coming months, and that means training if I want to perform well.  I have Asheville Half and Full in four weeks!  Then All American Full three weeks later.  Then Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Full the week after that.  I need training miles to feel ready.  What do you do to motivate yourself to get those training miles in for the races ahead?  Dreaming of Spring, warmer temps and sunshine doesn’t seem to be cutting it for me these days.  I need something more! Bring on 101 degrees!

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Do you inspire others to run?

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Crazy or not, millions of people like you and me lace up running shoes every day and hit the streets.  Running is a great way to get fit.  Running is a brilliant way to meet other like minded people trying to enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  Running is pretty much a solo sport, however.  We can try to learn from others, listen and take advice from the pros, but it’s really just me, myself and I out there putting one foot in front of the other.

You can make a difference though, a real impact on your community at large through your running.  No matter what your skill level, we all can do it.  Just by being out there.  On the road, or on the trails.  In the park, or on the high school track.  Taking part in that local or national race.  Be an advocate for our sport.  Get others to run.  You don’t have to be real vocal about it, you can let your running shoes do the talking.

When you race, cheer on those that look like first timers.  Thank the folks on the sidelines that are watching.  Those people may be aspiring runners that just need a little motivation.  Just you being out there may influence that person to lace up and run one day.  Have you ever thought about all of those people who not necessarily are there watching your race or your run, but are just strolling by doing their own thing?  That business person walking to lunch, or that Mom pushing the baby stroller?  The girl working an aid station on the course because she needs community service hours?  The school bus driver that passes, or the postal worker delivering your mail when you are out running in your neighborhood?  All folks that are silently being influenced by your running.

I believe that it is all of our responsibilities to inspire fitness in others.  To live and breathe a happy, healthy lifestyle.  You may not want to join a running club, or be social at all with your running, but it truly can be a great way to motivate others to do the same thing.

We all aren’t out there necessarily to win, but we must all inspire.  Do it in the way that you most feel comfortable.  You don’t have to get up on stage and preach about it, or write about it, or even vocalize it.  Just a simple smile may just do the trick out there on your next run.

Unmotivated

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December does it to me every year.  I should remember this, so as each November comes to a close, I am ready.

Cold mornings, and evenings that turn dark so early are my worst enemies.  I always have good intentions, but find myself taking way too much time off during December.  Why is it so hard at this time of year to lace up my shoes and get out the door?  I guess it’s because I hate running when it’s 30 degrees outside.  I guess it’s because I hate having to run home from work, have no time to relax, and try to get out the door for a run before the temperatures plummet as the sun sets and gets dark.  It’s just easier to say, I’ll run tomorrow, or I’ll just add some extra miles on the weekend.  I say to myself, “I’m not lazy, I run marathons”.  The cold months do not help my training plan at all.

Isn’t it just easier to stay inside where its warm?  Write about running, instead of actually doing it?  Historically, December has been a rough month for me.  Extra tough work, more physical work during the holiday season.  Trying to focus, and do extra things during the holiday season.  Christmas tree, shopping for presents, cooking, get togethers.  All things that take up extra time during the month.  What I really need is to run more, but I find it nearly impossible to make myself do it.  Last year I took a few weeks off in December to rest, and only logged 13 miles for the entire month.  I think this year so far I’ve run less than 40.  That’s an improvement, but not by much.

What do you do to stay motivated to run, or get your exercise during December?  Do you find it tougher to train in the Winter, like I do?  I would love to hear any tips you might have for finding that training focus during the cold, dark months.  Please share.