Here’s some snow day reading from Speedy Petey. Enjoy!
Unless you’re running a winter marathon in Florida, New England runners tend to get a little lazy and a little fluffy during the holidays and into January as temperatures drop, mornings are dark, and roads are slick. But those are just excuses and it’s time to get your groove back and rekindle the fire now that February is upon us. Here are a few ways to help get back on the horse:
- Find a race. If you’re not running the Boston Marathon then you’re probably not in training mode right now, but even a short race on the calendar will help get you to prepare for an event. Around the corner is the Bradford Valentine Road Race on 2/11 (5 and 3.7 mile distances) that could serve as a fatness/fitness benchmark to work from, and in the not-too-distant future is the Wild Rover Series. That includes the Maria’s Frozen Shamrock 3-Miler on 2/26 in Haverhill, the Claddagh Pub 4-Miler on 3/5 in Lawrence, and the Dudley’s Wild Clover 5-Miler on 3/12 in Lowell. If you run all three you get a sweet bonus of having three medals that connect together magnetically. Looking a little further there are several races around Saint Patrick’s Day, Eastern States 20 Mile & Half Marathon on 3/26 along the NH seacoast, and the BRC favorite Run for the Troops on 4/23 in Andover. Whatever you choose, pull the trigger and sign up now so you’re committed.
- Find a partner. Aside from the Saturdaymorning runs, having a partner (or two or three) is a YUUGE help when it comes to running accountability. It’s also safer when you’re out on the roads. If you’re debating another hour in your warm comfy bed but know your trusty buddy is expecting you at 6am, you’ll probably get your butt up and moving. If early mornings don’t work for your schedule, ask around and pick an evening or two each week that you and your counterpart are consistently available. Before long you might even look forward to it – after all, there are no kids, no spouses, no work, no phones involved.
- Make a plan. If you’re preparing for a marathon or similar event, chances are good that you have an Excel spreadsheet showing distances and paces for upcoming runs, mapped out months in advance. But there are also plans out there for other distances such as half marathon prep and 5K-to-10K (which is similar to the popular Couch-to-5k plan). Put a calendar together with daily run distances or at least weekly mileage goals, and pin it up by your bed or desk. Seeing it regularly will keep running in mind and help give definition to your runs, rather than going out for the same 3 mile loop whenever you happen to feel like it.
- Gear up. It’s dark? Buy a good headlamp, reflective vest, and a couple blinkies. It’s cold? Buy a thick base layer and a nice windproof jacket. Wear a balaclava to protect your face and pull up over your mouth if the air is really cold. Some nutbags even wear goggles when it’s snowy or frigid out. It’s icy or snowy? Wear your trail shoes, or try YakTrax. Or make your own Matty-Demers-patent-pending-screw-shoes. As we say in the Club, there’s no poor weather for running, just poor preparation.
Incorporating any or all of the above should help to get your head back in the game. Winter can be a great time of year for running- no mosquitoes or poison ivy, no overgrowth along the roadside, and occasionally we’re treated to a beautiful snow covered landscape. The sun now rises before 7am and sets after 5pm, and we’re steadily improving on both ends. So get out there and make it happen… ’cause you’ll be complaining about the heat before you know it.
Stay speedy my friends,