Archive for January 15th, 2013

From the Race Director’s Desk: Getting Motivated in the Frigid Midwest

Many runners have said to me, “I don’t want to sign up for a Spring marathon since I’d have to train during the winter.”  Their reasons may include frigid temperatures, slippery roads, a reluctance to leave warm flannel sheets on a dark morning or an aversion to treadmills.  Whatever their reasons, though, I don’t agree.

 

Over the years, I’ve found that the easiest way to shed weight gained during the holidays and start the year off on the right foot is by training for a Spring marathon.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s difficult to get motivated for an early morning run when the temperatures are in the single-digits and the sun doesn’t rise until I’m driving to work.  But the payoff is worth it.  I always feel better the rest of the day when I get a morning run in, even if it’s only a few miles. I’m also more relaxed on weekends if they begin with a Saturday morning run.

 

If you can’t stand the idea of running in the dark early morning hours, however, find another time slot.  Consider getting a run in during the lunch hour or, if you’re able to leave work early, in the afternoon.  And if you really hate cold air and slippery roads, find a track or churn some miles on a treadmill.  Personally, I hate running on treadmills so my “indoor” training days are often spent in the pool swimming laps.

 

Which brings up another point – cross-training.  Runners are often myopically focused on their training schedules and running exactly X days per week.  Being overly dedicated to running and no other physical activities is a good recipe for injury.  Swimming, pedaling a stationary bike, working out on a rowing machine and lifting weights are all acceptable ways to burn calories and condition yourself aerobically.  In the winter months, in particular, it’s important to be adaptable.  If you couldn’t get out of bed to get your six-miler in on Thursday morning, try to work something else in during your lunch hour or revise the schedule and make that your “off” day.  Forcing yourself to run eight miles on icy roads in sub-zero conditions “because your training calendar tells you to” shows poor judgment, not dedication.  View your training as a road map with multiple routes to the same destination and you’ll get there.

 

When Spring and race day arrive, all those wearisome miles in the cold will seem like faraway memories and you’ll feel like a champion crossing the finish line.  And even better, you won’t have to go on a starvation diet to fit into your swimsuit or skinny jeans this summer!

Sean Ryan

Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Race Director

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