Moving into winter has proven to be a huge transition for my runs. One day it is 50 degrees, the next 20. Completely different courses for those two days. I can’t just plan what days I want to do distance runs or short runs. I have to assess day by day based on the weather. 

Look at me training myself to be flexible. 

Okay, so because of this glitchy climate, I have been explicitly tracking my runs by temperature now, because I’m an absolute psycho. It is very helpful though. Thanks, weird brain.

I note if something bothers me in what temperatures now. I note how long I can go in certain temperatures. I note if I definitely went too far, which I have done below 30 degrees. 

Now, after all of that assessment, I know what I can handle for each ten degrees. I know under 20 degrees, I need double under armor. The bottom layer is for wicking, the second keeps you warm. Real jacket under 20 degrees, Gloves for 10s. Scarf under 40 degrees. Scarf can double as a mask in pandemics, so that’s a win. 

50 degrees or up is awkward weather. If there is sun, just a sweater, no sun under armor, but the light one that just wicks a little. Short sleeve over. 

The whole thing with running is constantly assessing your body and how it feels on certain runs given different conditions.

In this case, I am training myself to plan better. I am training to make my body feel as good as possible on these runs, which makes being mentally strong easy. Pushing through annoyance on runs is something I will do for a race, but not for a weekday run. A weekday run is supposed to be calm and enjoyable, clear my head, and be something I can be proud of. 

I have certain rules of comfort. If I’m unsure of the weather with the gear I have (I’m away or something, so I am limited) I will still go very close to ‘home’ and do a tiny loop. When my fingers are too cold to change my music, that is an absolute no go. Hurts to get in the shower after that. 

That is bail time.

Really, before that is bail time. This is just the marker for me personally, to realize I really need to go in. Rugby cold rule: If you can’t catch a ball, you’re no longer useful on the field and need to go inside. I need to have an absolute or I push too far.  

You need to know your bail time and do less when you’re unsure of where you are at. I love the challenge of outdoor running at this point because again I’m a lunatic, but I still know I need to always work from where I am at. Currently, 200 lbs, knees starting to hate the cold a bit again, 6 mile-or-under happy zone. I mostly know when to push it a little and when to call it at this point, which is a huge improvement. 

Today, I reached 455 miles for the year, closing in on my goal of 500 miles in a year! I have never been more proud of anything, which has made pushing myself possible. I am so driven by having a big fitness goal and I am so proud to have taken a bunch of friends along with me with my Knicks Run Club. All together, we have run over 2000 miles since the year began. This is one of those things my past self would be absolutely baffled by but would be like “You go, girl” for sure.  

Looking to my next and final 500 miles sticker

The big thing about my planning for completing this goal now is I have to be insanely flexible because weather can change. I can’t run in snow or I won’t rather. It just seems silly for me at this point. I did that a few times when it was cold last year. I was slipping and sliding all over; I had to work every second to catch myself from completely eating it. This was stressful, not fun and in hindsight, not worth the few miles I could manage. I would much rather be flexible and wait for the rare nice enough day and get myself a nice distance run.

The thing with getting older is realizing running tomorrow is not worth risking the wrong conditions today. 

My temperature guideline is 1 mile per 10 degrees up to 50 degrees. This means if it is 10 degrees, I will run a mile. If it is 20 degrees, I will run 2 miles, and so on and so on. On a blessed December day that somehow breaks 50 degrees, the rule is to break 5 and run until I die. This, of course, is figurative, but it’s nice to have a Crossfit-like collapse after a workout once a week still. This is my way to feel alive, while I am still terrified of any gym, box, or any sport too close to another human. I think this is understandable giving the rising COVID numbers. Running has given me the outlet I need with the feeling of safety. I just practice running the hell away from everyone. It works– makes me go faster even.

My brain spins on running like rugby now. I get ideas for something to try, new routes and places. It is a whole new world. A whole new passion. 

One of my favorite views I get on my runs

My quarantine dream and silver lining– did I mention I’m a runner now?

Some random winter running tips: 

  • Keep a backpack of running gear always packed. Know that it is your running bag. I keep mine in my car. In fact, I got to run today because I had it. This saves me ALL THE TIME. Remember, make this a full pack. You need Under armor and your entire cold set of clothes. Scarf. Warm set too. Old running sneakers because you can’t pack the good good.
  • Oh yea the good good. Always keep your most favorite and best gear by the door ready, if possible. This is especially true for cold gear. The second mine is clean and or charged, it goes to my spot by the door. It’s ready for the second I get the urge to run. Any single little annoyance can break that urge. Favorite running sweater. Next to my charged headphones. Next to my spare key and my reflective gear. Everything. Convenience. Do not set yourself up for failure. You won’t run if you can’t find your things. You’ll get frustrated and give up or end your run short. 
  • Sneakers. Just always have sneakers in your car, even if you can’t keep up with the backpack and having a clean set of clothes in the car. In true running emergencies, you can always borrow clothes but shoes? Shoes are hard. 

That’s my running tidbit tonight written by a cold Michie with very cold ears… on my run I was asking myself:

Dude where’s my scarf?

Me and Chunk, dog nephew, after a cold run with not enough layers- snuggles to follow

Learn from me. Have warm ears. 

Tonight’s Run Stats:

31 degrees 

3.1 Miles 

3.1 Tears 

3.1 minutes of Whining 

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