Earlier this week I wrote a blog entitled, "The Season's Upon Us." From Mississippi to Minnesota, the U.S. has been smashed with it's first cold blast of the season. Although places in the south will rebound, for those of us above the Mason-Dixon Line, cold , wintry days are here to stay for a while.
Many of us, this writer in particular, whine about the cold weather, so instead of listing the many reasons I detest the next few months, I've dug deep and found five reasons why, as runners, we should embrace and a,.. ap,.. apprec,.. appreciate the next few months. Man, that's really hard for me to say!
1. Racing-From South Dakota to South Carolina, the winter season can be kind to runners. Nothing is worse than spending several months training for a marathon only to have your hopes dashed by a hot day. For me, it was Boston 2012. The weather was hot, and there were no leaves on the trees to provide shade.
Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Miami, Florida, and Austin, Texas, all hold fine marathons in January and February, because they can. The weather conditions can usually be ideal. Turkey trots, the iconic Berwick Run for the Diamonds, Santa, frostbite, and jingle bell jaunts often produce fast times, as heat, the runner's nemesis, is non-existent. So, use those winter months to run some cool weather races.
2. What Else is There to Do?-Once the Holidays end, during the months of January and February, there is very little to do. Traditionally, I have logged more miles in January than in June. Going outside to do anything else is simply dreadful, so gear up and go out for a run. Junior's baseball season doesn't begin for a while, there's no yard work to be done, so utilize that time to log long miles.
3. A Time To Heal-The local track is covered with snow or ice. Roads may be narrowed by mountains of piled white stuff. Forget about fast, intense workouts, rather, use January and February as months of healing. With so many races out there these days, overracing can be a danger. Relax and heal up from a long racing season.
4. Show 'em Up-Even my dogs are reluctant to go outside on some winter days. But you'll be out there! There's a certain sadistic satisfaction that overcomes us when we hit the roads in sub-zero weather. Sometimes, our shoe prints encased within tire tracks in the snow serve as out triumphant imprints. People stare, shake their heads, and ask, "You didn't run in this, did you?" How great does it feel when you can tell them you did?
5. Appreciation of the Good Days-When we DO get a sunny, mild winter day, and when the weather finally 'breaks,' everything looks, feels, and smells good. There is that satisfaction, a sense of conquering. You did it! You beat Mother Nature for another year.
Many of us hate winter, but all things are relative. Try NOT being able to run. You know what I mean. If you have been sidelined by an illness or injury, you would give anything for a run in the snow, or a log few miles on the road in those frigid temperatures.
Then the winter doesn't seem so bad after all.