Running on Cold

I’m training to run a 5k in mid December in St. Louis. I’ve run outside in temperatures as low as 21 degrees (Fahrenheit) this past week. The cold is unrelenting, unfriendly, and uncomfortable. I haven’t gotten layering quite right. I’ve returned home with sweat on my forehead and arms, while having painfully cold hands. I haven’t found the perfect combination just yet, but I’ve purchased a few things that have worked for me.

I use a moisture wicking tank top for my base layer and tuck it into my running pants so even if my long-sleeved top rides up or lets air under it, I’m covered. I’ve added warming socks over the top of my compression socks so my toes aren’t painfully cold. I haven’t figured out how to keep my hands warm enough in the sub freezing temps, but I know that performance gloves are not enough to prevent painfully cold fingers. I’ve added a running torch (flashlight) to my collection of gear so I can see the road ahead and people behind me can see me because it has a flashing red light on the back.

Most importantly, I’ve discovered that I can run in the cold. I can do it. My body is slowly adjusting to it and my running times are getting closer to what they were running in warmer temperatures. I didn’t expect the weather being this cold so early in my training, but I’m managing to push through and get out there and run. I can’t say this means I’ll be outside running in the particularly frigid temperatures of the early months of the year. I can say that I’m damn proud of myself for getting out there now and keeping at it.

A neighbor once asked me over the summer how I like running since she’d noticed I had headed out nightly. I replied to her a simple, but honest, “It’s painful, but I like it.” That’s the best I can describe it. It isn’t easy. It isn’t always fun to push your body to the limit and then tell it to go just a little harder. I have to compete against myself to get better at it.

I cross train in addition to running. I lift free weights, use resistance bands, do body weight workouts, and push my muscles to work harder. Some days, I do a quick 15 minute workout after my run. There are other days dedicated to a 30-45 minute session after an indoor warm up.

Do you push yourself out of the comfort zone? What would it do for you if you did? I challenge you to do something to push yourself this week. Walk or run one extra mile. Lift the weights one  level up from the ones you have used. Just do one more set than you’re used to. Try it to see what you’re capable of. Get uncomfortable.You might enjoy it.

My training plan for this week is as follows:

11/17/2014 REST
11/18/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/19/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/20/2014 CROSS TRAIN
11/21/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/22/2014 RUN 5 MILES
11/23/2014 REST

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Hit the ground running

After a 6 week absence, I started running again this week. Monday, I signed up for a fun run with a local running store. It was tough to push through the first mile, but I made it 2.75 of the 3 miles I’d planned.  I’m not sure I could have made it the full 3, but I didn’t give up with a quarter of a mile left. I didn’t check the course map closely enough when I left the starting point and I got turned around on the dimly lit roads. I wound up finding other runners from the same group and following them back to the starting point. They were fairly fast, so I really had to push myself to keep up with them the last bit of the course.

I am shy, and being around people makes me really nervous. Even with people I’ve known for a long time, I get anxious. I almost didn’t leave the house after signing up to go for the run. My husband encouraged me to get out there and do it. I’m glad he did. I talked a little with people and I found out about another social run this Friday where we have cocktails afterward. I know I’ve craved a nice draft beer lately, so I’m actually really excited to join them for a Ladies’ Night run. I also think I’m going to try to make the Monday night social runs a regular thing. I even studied the course so I shouldn’t get lost this time around.

Getting back to running is so hard! I don’t remember the last time I ran outside when it was chilly. The first two times I ran this week, I over dressed. I wore tight-fitting long sleeves and pants with compression socks. I got uncomfortable during both runs. Last night, I wore Capri pants with the knee-high compression socks, a moisture wicking t-shirt, and a light jacket. After the first mile, I tied the jacket around my waist. I think it was more comfortable than the two earlier times. The temperature was near 60 degrees for all three runs. Today is a cross training day, so I’m planning to do a 30 minute workout before I put my little ones down for their naps. My 4-year-old son enjoys doing the moves with me and its been a little too yucky outside to play, so this should burn some energy.

I am glad that I’m back to running and working out. I find myself craving sugar less often and I’m listening to my body about when to eat and when to stop. The only problem I’ve had this week is with sleep. I have a feeling that will be something to deal with for a while until my 2-year-old learns to go to bed and stay there all night. I’m thankful that I can still have energy for fitness. Also, I’m glad that this fall from the wagon only lasted 6 weeks and not longer. My endurance suffered from my laziness, but it could have been worse. I’ve changed the lock screen on my phone to say “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion” Muhammad Ali. I like to think of myself as a future champion.

Do you have something that inspires you to keep going?

Tip: I write my workout plan for the following day on my bathroom mirror in dry erase marker each night before bed. When I wake up and look at myself in the mirror, I know what I’m expected to do. Erasing it once I’m done feels good, too.

Restarting myself…AGAIN

I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 5k in St. Louis in December to motivate me to put my running shoes back on and get back to it. A month is too long to take off and I’m still not eager to get out there in the dark and cold to run. I use my Nike+ Running application to give me a training plan using the “coach”. I got a late start on an 8 week plan that started Thursday of this past week. The virtual coach had the plan for me to do cross training Thursday and Run 3 and 4 miles Friday and Saturday and then rest on Sunday (today). Thursday, I did a 30 minute workout called “Slim Effect” on another Nike based application with my 4-year-old son following along and my 2-year-old daughter watching like we were crazy. Friday, I woke up early and felt alert enough to go for a run. I heard the wind whipping the trees around outside and quickly decided that I should wait until later in the day to see if the wind would die down. It is an excuse, but I don’t run when it’s very windy. It takes my breath away and my contact lenses often end up rolling up in my eye. Yesterday was Saturday and I was planning to run in the evening. That was, until I ate a late dinner. That was certainly a poor excuse to skip my run.

I need to get back out there and run. Today is a rest day, but I’ve set out running clothes on my counter for when I decide to run later today. I want to start running in the morning, which might be my reason to hold off until I wake up tomorrow. I know that I enjoy the benefits of running. The soreness from my Thursday workout kicked in yesterday and is still there today. Had I gone for those running sessions, the soreness would probably be much less intense. It is more possible to find time to get a cross training or resistance workout in than it is to fit in an outdoor run. I can’t just head out when the kids go down for a nap. I don’t have a treadmill or a gym membership and they aren’t reasonably attainable now.

I made a spreadsheet the daily training plan on it all the way through the 5k race in December. I’ve also started a notebook of “when you feel like quitting, remember why you started.” I write one reason daily that I started working out. I’m assuming that will help me have something to look at when I really feel like quitting or when I need to motivate myself to get up and do the work. The main problem that I have with doing so much work for a fit self is that I know how hard I work to try to lose weight and I know how little it shows. I also know that people don’t see someone who works hard for her healthy when they see me. I’m not the perfect size, but I do work hard and try for a thinner and healthier looking version of me. I don’t like that I’m critical of myself, but I haven’t figured out how to appreciate myself at any size. I find it really hard when I see people who lost over 100 lbs in the time its taken me to roller coaster ride up and down 30 lbs. I can honestly say that seeing other people succeed doesn’t encourage me as much as it makes me wonder why I just can’t do it. It is so hard. It is painful. It takes a long time. BUT…You have no idea how much life you have ahead. It is better to live it feeling good from nutritious food and the energy from working out. I often say about a book or a movie that the story is more about the journey than the destination. This is especially true in life since the eventual destination could be delayed by enjoying a certain quality of life and treating your body right.

Are your expectations for your body realistic? Do you find yourself feeling encouraged by the success of others or discouraged?

This week’s training plan is as follows:

11/3/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/4/2014 RUN 4 MILES
11/5/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/6/2014 CROSS TRAIN
11/7/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/8/2014 RUN 5 MILES
11/9/2014 REST