I’m training to run a 5k in mid December in St. Louis. I’ve run outside in temperatures as low as 21 degrees (Fahrenheit) this past week. The cold is unrelenting, unfriendly, and uncomfortable. I haven’t gotten layering quite right. I’ve returned home with sweat on my forehead and arms, while having painfully cold hands. I haven’t found the perfect combination just yet, but I’ve purchased a few things that have worked for me.
I use a moisture wicking tank top for my base layer and tuck it into my running pants so even if my long-sleeved top rides up or lets air under it, I’m covered. I’ve added warming socks over the top of my compression socks so my toes aren’t painfully cold. I haven’t figured out how to keep my hands warm enough in the sub freezing temps, but I know that performance gloves are not enough to prevent painfully cold fingers. I’ve added a running torch (flashlight) to my collection of gear so I can see the road ahead and people behind me can see me because it has a flashing red light on the back.
Most importantly, I’ve discovered that I can run in the cold. I can do it. My body is slowly adjusting to it and my running times are getting closer to what they were running in warmer temperatures. I didn’t expect the weather being this cold so early in my training, but I’m managing to push through and get out there and run. I can’t say this means I’ll be outside running in the particularly frigid temperatures of the early months of the year. I can say that I’m damn proud of myself for getting out there now and keeping at it.
A neighbor once asked me over the summer how I like running since she’d noticed I had headed out nightly. I replied to her a simple, but honest, “It’s painful, but I like it.” That’s the best I can describe it. It isn’t easy. It isn’t always fun to push your body to the limit and then tell it to go just a little harder. I have to compete against myself to get better at it.
I cross train in addition to running. I lift free weights, use resistance bands, do body weight workouts, and push my muscles to work harder. Some days, I do a quick 15 minute workout after my run. There are other days dedicated to a 30-45 minute session after an indoor warm up.
Do you push yourself out of the comfort zone? What would it do for you if you did? I challenge you to do something to push yourself this week. Walk or run one extra mile. Lift the weights one level up from the ones you have used. Just do one more set than you’re used to. Try it to see what you’re capable of. Get uncomfortable.You might enjoy it.
My training plan for this week is as follows:
11/18/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/19/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/20/2014 CROSS TRAIN
11/21/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/22/2014 RUN 5 MILES