Not a fan. Not at all. In fact, I’d probably hibernate if I could get away with taking several months in a row off from work. Though I’m perfectly fine running in the wee hours of the day, running in the dark and cold is an entirely different beast. I believe in “rising to the challenge” as much as the next person, but this particular obstacle is more likely to send me scurrying back under the covers rather than steeling myself for a conquest. If I do manage to get out the door, it’s not without a hefty dose of complaining that often lasts the rest of the day.
Here’s just a short list of things I don’t like about winter running: My toes go numb immediately. My fingers follow shortly thereafter. My hands lose dexterity for the next few hours as circulation tries to reassert itself as part of normal bodily functioning. My nose runs faster than my PR. Once finished with running, I spend at least the next hour shivering so violently my jaws ache from being clenched. Then I usually spend the rest of the day indoors wearing my heaviest down jacket or wrapped up in a blanket. Sometimes both. (Neither of which, I’m pretty sure, qualifies as “business casual” at the office). Did I mention yet that complaining is a major side effect of winter running?
Winter and I don’t always get along. Not a huge problem. As a result, I tend to run less in the winter. This, however, is a problem, especially with the Boston Marathon looming weeks away. Mileage counts. Every step of training brings me one step closer to the finish line. Skipping runs now is risky to say the least.
My solution to this problem is indoor running. The treadmill. In many ways this feels like defeat. I know countless other runners undeterred by the weather who tell me of their frigid adventures. Why don’t I have the fortitude to do that? Not to mention I can already hear the distant chorus of naysayers espousing judgments and opinions about this tactic. My interpretation of this leads me to the conclusion that “real runners” don’t train for the Boston Marathon on a treadmill. “Real runners” train in any and all weather conditions.
That’s not a very nice thing to say to myself. I’m trying to shift my perspective to recognize and accept this as one of my limits rather than labelling it as a shortcoming. I can work on pushing past this limit later; in the meantime I need to find a way to work around it. Doing part of my marathon training on a treadmill doesn’t make me a bad person or an imposter. What matters most right now is that I run, period. If those miles happen on a treadmill, they happen on a treadmill. They just need to happen.