I run all winter. I don’t do it because I think everybody should, and I don’t do it to prove a point. I do it because I feel like it keeps me from putting a box around my running and shrinking that box over time. If I plan to run in all conditions, then there’s no chance of the excuses progressing from the entirely valid “It’s snowing, pitch dark, and below 0, I’ll just hit the gym.” to “It looks like it might rain.”
Plenty of people have enough self discipline to come up with a real set of rules and stick to them. I just run unless I can’t. That’s my simple rule.
This week I had two instances where I couldn’t. Last Friday I got a head cold, which I ran 8 miles with on Sunday. I took my customary rest day on Monday, despite the day off and the warm weather. By Tuesday night I regretted missing that chance to run. The headcold progressed to seemingly a sinus/bronchial infection, which knocked me out for 17 hours of sleep, and had me miss work, and any thoughts of a run, on Wednesday.
With hacking and coughing dominating over speech, I worked from home Thursday and Friday. With that flexibility, I entertained thoughts of daytime runs, so Thursday I ventured outdoors at the end of the workday, only to find that winter had actually arrived. 21 degrees on the weather report did not tell the full story of the bitter cold I encountered as I stepped out the door. Combine that with my weak state, and I turned around after merely a 2 mile total run, with my fingertips and face going numb.
Luckily after a doctor’s appointment on Friday, the magic of antibiotics, combined with beer & pizza with friends in Toledo, had brought me back from the brink, so after a week of merely 2 miles, I ran 5 miles Saturday and 8 miles sunday for a respectable 15 mile week.
I don’t always know when that commitment to always run is going to really work, but this time it did. Running all those miles this weekend picked my mood up following a really crummy week, and put me in the mindset to lay down my plans for training for the Pittsburgh Half in the spring. Instead of feeling like Pittsburgh is just a distant concept, I’m looking forward to starting my 15 week plan in the week of the 30th.