I usually dread winter, especially winter running, but I’m taking a different approach this year. I recently read an article, which talks about how the Norwegians handle the longer nights and cold temperatures. Instead of complaining about getting through the season, they focus on spending time with family and friends, and making every experience as cozy as possible. Norwegians keep their homes decorated for the holidays throughout the winter, cook meals with friends, and spend evenings snuggled up in soft blankets. To keep a long story short, they simply have a different outlook on winter than the rest of us. Lately I’ve been appreciating the importance of changing my mindset. Being mindful throughout the winter season is just another way to turn things around. But what does this have to do with running?
I am still working at getting back on the running wagon. I’ve been diligent enough with my PT that my hamstring is hardly giving me trouble anymore, which is encouraging. Things are finally getting back to normal, and winter could not be a more perfect time to focus on correcting my form, strengthening my core and preparing to finally complete the B.A.A. Distance Medley, which has been my goal for a couple of years. Although I did register for it this year and ran the 5K and 10K, things got cut short because my hamstring did not heal in time and my PT advised sitting the half out.
This winter, I’m trying to focus on getting my pace back to normal, and also just trying to fall in love with running again without taking things too seriously. I’ve been so frustrated with running the past two years because it took so long to pinpoint my injury and start the healing process. Now, my only goal is to get strong so I can be a lifelong distance runner. I’m trying not to worry about my times and just focus enjoying the fact that I can run again without pain.
Winter is the perfect time for this because it’s a wonderful excuse to stay inside where it’s warm and focus on yoga and core-strengthening exercises. To get back on track, I’ve been doing the Oiselle First or Fastest 5K Training Plan. Here’s the first week:
This training plan is wonderful for winter because the workouts are short and simple. I can quickly squeeze them in before or after work and I don’t feel overwhelmed.
Doing The Dozen is challenging, but I feel stronger every time I do it!
I’ve also been meditating regularly to keep a healthy mindset. When our thoughts get negative, it’s easy to stray from our goals and give up. Meditation helps keep me focused and grateful for where I am in the present moment. Even though I’m not training for the races I’d like to run, it helps to remind me that I am working toward my goals and I have already come so far. Almost every day, I do a meditation from calm.com. The app has even more options, many of which are totally free!
Every year, someone from Oiselle writes about new ways to go “funning,” which is another inspiring way to get out there! Some of my favorite suggestions:
- Dash through the snow
- Go on a Christmas lights run
- Get together with friends to run downtown and see all of the holiday window displays
- Go runching (running + brunching) — and don’t forget to order a mimosa!
- Destination run — run to your favorite winter farmers’ market or coffee shop and treat yo’self at the end
Aside from dressing appropriately for the weather, here are my winter running essentials:
- WOOL SOCKS! My regular running socks do not cut it in the winter, and wool socks make it easy to stay outside longer
- Yak Trax: These will keep you stable through the ice and snow.
- Reflective gear: Make sure you’re visible as the days get shorter.
- Oiselle Wazzie Wool: Throw on the Jane John tights as an extra layer under your favorite running tights.
- Yank: Be safe out there.
- Spotify Running: Don’t worry about putting together the perfect playlist — let Spotify do it for you.
- Jasyoga: Yoga specifically designed for runners and it’s only $5 a month!
- SAD Lamp: Amp up your energy levels by sitting in front of a full spectrum lamp!
And finally, start a training journal! Take note of the foods you’re eating, how your body is feeling, and what you’ve accomplished each week. It’s a great way to stay motivated and appreciate your progress.
Happy winter running everyone!