Marathon Monday: PHX Marathon Race Recap!

Warning: long post ahead.

It’s always hard for me to put the experience of running a marathon into words.  Anyone who has run one understands.  I can try my best to walk run you through my race but like a lot of things….you had to be there.

The day before the marathon (Friday) was a lot more eventful than usual.  Emz and I woke up and went on a 2-mile shake out run with Bo just to make sure my legs were still working.

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My Garmin was giving me some issues while we were running.  The stopwatch was working but it wasn’t showing distance or pace.  I was still on the fence about even wearing a watch at all for the marathon but I did want the option.  We got home to shower and get ready to head to the expo so I brought the watch with me to wear around there and it seemed to be okay!

We picked up our friend Sara who was staying at a hotel near the expo and headed over to pick up our race kits and meet ALL the people!  The PRO Compression booth turned into a bit of a party and I finally got to meet so many people who I follow on social media and who have been so insanely supportive through this whole marathon training journey.

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We had a dinner meet up from 5-7 at La Grande Orange where I ordered a toasted english muffin with a side of avocado.  I had the exact same thing for lunch and it honestly worked so perfect for me.  I think it will be my new go-to before any race.  SO many people showed up for dinner and it was so much fun.  All the socializing, photos, laughs, and race strategizing went on.

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Our friend VK makes these super awesome customized Starbucks cups and as you can tell, we were pretty excited about them.  Mine says Mrs. Stamos’ Coffee on it because Andrea Barber who you may know as Kimmy Gibbler from Full House (front row, cream hoodie) and I have a long running joke going on (or maybe it’s a non-joke…I haven’t figured it out yet) that I am soon going to marry my childhood crush, Uncle Jesse.  I think it’s a pretty good idea.

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I was exhausted by the end of the day and was pretty excited to jump into bed.  Emz and I stayed with Sara at her hotel and it worked out so great.  We were able to hang out with her (it was her very first marathon!) and we were literally minutes from where the shuttle buses were picking up runners in the morning.  So we laid out all our race gear, set our alarms for 4am (the race started at 6:30 and the last shuttle left at 5) and headed to bed.

Our morning started with a bit of an adventure.  We decided it would be best to get on one of the last busses because the ride to the start line was about 30 minutes so even if we got on at 5am, we’d get there by 5:30 and still have to wait an hour before the start.  So that’s exactly what we did.  The only problem was that we got on one of the HALF MARATHON busses by accident so we were brought to a completely different start line.  The bus driver, Austin (bless his heart), assured us everything would be fine and drove the three of us back to where the FULL MARATHON busses were picking up runners.  By the time we got there, there were no other runners so it was just the three of us on a big school bus.  I think it actually ended up working out in our favour because we got to stay in a warm bus!  We only had to wait about 25 minutes by the time we got dropped off.  It was great.

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We found some friends, took a few photos, wished everyone good luck, and off we all went!

I reminded myself of my A, B and C goals for the race as well as the game plan that Phaedra sent me a few days prior.  Emz knew exactly what she needed to do and actually ended up wearing my watch because her’s didn’t charge.  So I was watch-less and put all of my faith into my rockstar of a pacer.  I truly felt amazing at the start.  I was 100% confident that I was going to have a good race.  The weather was perfect, everything I was wearing was extremely comfortable, and Emz was holding my gels for me so I didn’t have to wear a belt or anything.  I did bring a tiny hand held water bottle but she ended up taking that from me too.  I wonder if I can pay her to come run every race with me?? ;) #notjoking

Here is the race profile:

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The first few miles were AH-MAY-ZING.  Just look at that downhill.  I felt like a million bucks.  The plan was to reserve a bit of energy at the start and fall into a steady 8:05-ish min/mile at around mile 5-6 with the hopes of a fast finish to get me to a 3:32-3:33.  That was the A goal.  We spotted the 3:35 pacer and stuck with him for as long as we could.  We were on target for the first 5 miles:

Mile 1 – 8:09

Mile 2 – 8:06

Mile 3 – 8:10

Mile 4 – 8:02

Mile 5 – ? (Emz accidentally pushed a button and reset the lap)

There were moments where we were ahead of the pacer and moments where we were behind him but tried not to let him get too far.  That little uphill from miles 5-6 looks so tiny on the chart but after the first few miles of downhill, it felt like I was climbing a dang mountain!

Mile 6 – 8:30

Mile 7 – 8:16

Mile 8 – 8:05

Mile 9 – 8:07

Mile 10 – 8:03

Mile 11 – 8:08

Mile 12 – 8:12

Mile 13 – 8:13

We got to the halfway mark around 1:47 and I was still feeling really good at this point.  The first half flew by pretty quickly.  Emz told me I looked way better than I did last year which I was really happy about because I felt much better too.  I told her I wanted to stay with the pacer until mile 20 and then try to kick it up a tiny bit and try for sub-8′s for the last few miles.  We were able to keep up with him until about mile 17 before I started to fade.

Mile 14 – 8:13

Mile 15 – 8:15

Mile 16 – 8:19

Mile 17 – 8:15

I remember seeing the 18 mile marker and thinking how the heck I was going to get to the finish.  My legs already felt trashed from all the downhill and the wind.  There were two long stretches where we were going into a pretty strong headwind and it definitely took a toll on my legs and my overall energy.  I just kept repeating to myself “You Can Do Hard Things”, which was conveniently stamped on a necklace charm that Sara had custom made for all three of us to wear.

Mile 18 – 8:24

Mile 19 – 8:43

Mile 20 – 8:59

Mile 21 – 9:13

This is when I started to question my sanity and swore I would never run another marathon again.  I’m pretty sure I would have taken walk breaks if it wasn’t for Emily.  Heck – I probably would have walked the last 6 miles.  I was hurting.  BAD.  I felt defeated as we lost the 3:35 pacer…and then the 3:40 pacer passed us…and then went the 3:45 pacer.  I knew I couldn’t let the 3:50 pacer pass me if I wanted to reach my B goal (sub- 3:50) so we kept trucking along.  Emz said “I am not just going to let you PR. We are getting you to that finish line as fast as possible.”

Mile 22 – 9:35

Mile 23 – 9:40

Mile 24 – 10:06

Mile 25 – 9:58

Mile 26 – 9:44

Not sure about the .2 because once we crossed the finish Emz went back and found Sara in the last mile and ran her to the finish!  Because that’s what normal people do after a marathon right?  Hah.

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I crossed the finish line in 3:46:22 (8:39 avg pace), 7 minutes faster than my previous marathon PR.  It’s not the BQ I was hoping for, but I’m pretty dang happy with my time.  It makes me feel like a sub-3:35 is within reach and I’ve just got to work a little harder to get there.  Usually there’s a BQ bell for people to ring but since I came short, Devon (who works with the PHX marathon peeps) set up a sweet PR bell for me on a random tree.  It was pretty awesome.

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I loved that there were so many of us running this race because we got to hang out, wait for everyone to finish, celebrate, share race stories, take photos, and give lots and lots of hugs.

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We cleaned up at the hotel and for once in my life I had an appetite post-race so we stopped at Cafe Rio on the way home and ate ALL the Mexican food!  I took two Imodium and ate two gluten-free waffles pre-race, ate four Honey Stinger gels during the race as well as water at every aid station.  I probably could have had one more gel but everything went pretty seamlessly.  I may have finally found what works for ME.

We had a little time to rest and then headed to dinner at Oreganos which Pro Compression graciously organized for their ambassadors.  Pizza, salads, awesome hats, and lots of laughs went down.  I don’t think the day could have gone any better.

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This past weekend was THE best race experience I’ve had.  Ever.  I keep saying that every time I run a marathon but seriously…nothing beats all of the energy and support I felt over the last few days.  Crazy to think that the people who support me most are the ones I met on the internet.  I am so thankful for each and every one of these human beings.  They made marathon #4 an unforgettable one, that’s for sure.

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If you made it to the end of this post, congratulations (YOU are the ones who deserve a medal!).  And THANK YOU for reading, commenting, supporting, and just always being plain awesome to me.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and congrats to anyone and everyone who raced!

PHOTO CRED to most of the group photos goes to Carlee and her wonderful husband also known as @ruggedwoodsman.  The guy is a trooper and busted out his fancy camera to get photos of all us crazy runners.

I’m off to enjoy my last night in Phoenix with my favourite people!

Marathon Monday: A, B and C goals

We are a day late again but I had no ounce of motivation to even open up my laptop all weekend/yesterday so let’s just roll with it, okay?

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Last week’s training:

Monday: 19.09 miles

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 7 miles (speed work)

Friday: 4 miles

Saturday: 14 miles

Sunday: OFF

I skipped one of my speed sessions but I was HELLA tired last week so I decided to take an extra rest day.  At this point, one run won’t make or break me so if my body is telling me to rest and eat instead, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

It’s kind of crazy to think that next Wednesday I will be hopping on a plane yet again.  I’m full of mixed emotions.  I’m excited and happy to see my friends and escape this ridiculous winter and eat all the Cafe Rio (post-race obviously because Mexican before a marathon is a VERY BAD IDEA)…but I’m also super nervous and anxious about the marathon.  Doubts are setting in and 26.2 miles just seems SO long.  I know I’ve done the training but the taper can definitely mess with your head.  My “long run” this weekend was 14 miles and thinking about doing 12.2 more does not seem like a fun idea.  At all.

I’ve been doing all kinds of calculations, using race predictors, and sending HI I’M FREAKING OUT texts to Emz and Phaedra.  Emz keeps telling me to calm down and just think of it as a fun long run that we are going to do together.  It will probably stop being FUN at a certain point but having her there will be the best.  She’s like my marathon security blanket.

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Phaedra doesn’t doubt my abilities but she’s my coach so she’s supposed to say things like that, right?! ;) Although my training hasn’t been perfect, she has really helped me push myself harder than I ever have and I am hoping it pays off.

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ANYWAY, it’s great to say that I just want to have fun and finish this race but we all know that it’s not true.  I have goals.  We all have goals.  So I decided to share my A, B and C goals for the Phoenix Marathon which is in exactly 11 DAYS.

A) Qualify for Boston.  This is pretty farfetched and unrealistic at this point but I know it’s not completely impossible.  I’d have to run a sub 3:35 to BQ and at the rate things are going, probably closer to a 3:33 to guarantee entry.  That means an 8:07 average pace per mile.  Yikes.  I ran my fastest half marathon at a 7:29 average but that probably doesn’t even mean anything.  The marathon is a whole different beast.

B) Set a new marathon PR.  My current PR is 3:53 and I ran it at Phoenix last year.  I’d be ecstatic if I could come in at anything sub-3:50.  To run a 3:49 marathon, my average pace per mile would need to be 8:44.  This is probably a little more realistic than my A goal and will leave me almost as happy.

C) Finish the marathon with no accidents.  See my last post.  I’ve honestly been having so many problems and have no idea what condition my body will be in come race day.  So if I’m having a bad day in the GI department, getting to the finish line with a fake smile and clean shorts is going to be my only goal.

There we go.  Now my goals are all out there on THE INTERWEBS.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend/Valentine’s Day/Family Day/Presidents’ Day! #ALLTHEHOLIDAYS

February Goals: #GetOutAndGo

New month, new goals…or something like that, right?  Considering February is all about Heart Health, I thought I’d share some of my goals for the month.  It turns out that marathon training is also coming to an end so while I plan on embracing my taper with OPEN ARMS, I still intend on making daily heart-happy choices.

A couple of weeks ago Staples Canada sent me a Jawbone UP24 as part of their #GetOutAndGo campaign.  Although I’m not one to track daily stats when it comes to sleep and exercise, it’s been kind of neat to analyze all the numbers.  I have been using it mostly to track my sleeping patterns (I struggle with sleep) and it’s been fun to see how my total steps taken on rest days differ from training days!  I haven’t taken advantage of some of the other features yet for a number of reasons.  You can track different forms of exercise but because I’ve been focusing on my running lately, I don’t have any need to log anything else.  You can also input all of the food you eat but I’m not into that because food logging made me neurotic once upon a time.  So I’m opting to use it just for the basics as of right now!

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With that being said, here are some goals I’ve made for myself this month:

1.  Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night with more SOUND sleep than LIGHT sleep.  The Jawbone can detect when you are still vs. when you are moving around like a nutcase (which seems to be the case with me).

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2.  Take 10,000 steps a day.  I don’t know why I chose this number.  I think it was pre-set in the app on my phone when I synched my Jawbone so I just stuck with it.  I find it really easy to get to 10,000 on training days (heck, long runs have gotten me to 30,000-50,000 steps/day) but on rest days my “idle” time exceeds my “active” time by like a million hours.  As much as I love me some rest days, it’s still important to move your legs even if it’s just walking around a mall, which I plan on doing a lot of. #SORRYWALLET :D

3.  Tapering is hard.  As much as I say how excited I am about not running so much, it’s extremely difficult to go from intense running to just waiting around for marathon day to come in the last couple of weeks.  One of my goals is to enjoy the taper, be thankful that I got to the end injury-free (*knocks on wood*), and spend my extra time doing other things like sleeping in, taking Princeton for walks, and starting to carb-load two weeks early (that’s normal, right? ;) ).

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P knows how to taper.

4.  Step up my nutrition game.  I’m always experimenting and I hate sounding so repetitive but the few weeks leading up to race day are crucial for me.  There’s very little room for error because my stomach sucks.  I’ve been focusing a lot on quality carbohydrates and trying to eat for performance as best as I can.  Except on Superbowl Sunday.  Let’s forget that day even happened, okay?

5.  #GetOutAndGo by staying run-focused.  Duh.  With race day so close, it’s going to be all about running and prrrrrrobably no other forms of exercise.  Weight training makes me too sore so I’m scrapping that for the time being.  I might get in some easy elliptical or biking time but that’s about it.  Running, stretching, rolling, icing, and massaging are at the top of my list for the next few weeks.

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Last but not least, PRO Compression came out with their February Sock of the Month today and it may just be the CUTEST yet!

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Get em HERE while they’re hot!

Off to do my speed workout!  Have a great Tuesday!

Did you set any goals for the month??  Tell me!

Today’s tempo and getting my head back in the game!

So since my Sunday long run got pushed to Monday, all of my training runs this week were pushed back a day.  Thank goodness or I would have done a 17.5 mile long run and 8 mile tempo back to back.  That would not have felt nice.  I ended up taking yesterday completely off which worked out well because it was so freaking freezing that you couldn’t even pay me to leave my house.  Today wasn’t much better so I opted to take my run indoors.  Tempo runs suck in the winter no matter where you do them.  If you run outside, it takes forever for your body to warm up enough to actually run fast AND if there’s snow/ice on the sidewalks you run the risk of breaking your face.  If you run inside, you’re stuck on the boring dreadmill which makes tempo runs a million times harder than they really are.  Or is it just me?  Anyone else run way slower on the treadmill??  PLUS the dang things stop at the 60 minute mark so it gets kind of annoying if your run lasts longer than an hour.

Okay now that I’m done complaining…

I had an 8 mile run to do today with 6 miles at tempo.  Here’s how it went:

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I warmed up for the first two miles but still progressively got faster (6.5 –> 7.5 mph) and then from there, increased .1 every mile (until I reached 8.1 mph).  It was like a game in my head.  Don’t ask.

ANYWAY, a part of me was happy with the way things went (I haven’t had a decent tempo run in weeks) and another part of me was a bit disappointed in myself.  I thought back to the summer when I ran my tempos much faster and kept asking myself WHY I was struggling so much with speed.  It’s completely mental.  I looked back at my training log and things have been far from perfect during this training cycle.  I was in Phoenix for the first week (skipped two runs), strength trained to the point where I could barely walk during week 3, and was sick during weeks 5 and 6 (aka barely any running at all).  I just look at that and think that I’m no longer at the same level and am just going to have to deal with it.  So I don’t even bother trying to run as fast as I KNOW I can run.

Is this making any sense??

During today’s run, after each mile I told myself, “I don’t think I can run the next one faster.”  Aaaaand guess what?  I did.  Each mile was faster than the one before it.  Still not as fast as I “used to be” but I broke through the mental barrier and realized once again that I am capable of speeds I thought were “impossible” during this training cycle.

TAKE THAT, BRAIN.

It also helps to see your phone light up during the last mile with this message:

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So here we go.  I’ve been struggling a bit with my confidence up to this point but I’m ready to make the most of the next 6.5 weeks.  My head is finally back in the game.

Let’s just have a minute of honesty over here.  I think I can count the number of times I have stretched after a run on ONE HAND. It’s really, really sad and I definitely felt it today.  My calves and hamstrings were so tight during my run today because I didn’t even take two minutes to stretch after Monday’s 17.5 miles.

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I forced myself to do it today and holyyyyy cow — inflexible award goes to ME.  I am committing to 5-10 minutes a day and will include this as part of my training recaps in my Marathon Monday posts to hold me accountable.

Alright, I’m off to make some butternut squash soup for dinner!  I’ll be back tomorrow with a Thinking Out Loud Thursday post (it’s been forever since I participated!) and we will talk about something other than running… ;)

Marathon Monday: This year I’m hoping to…

Soooo…

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Anyone else feel like this??  Haha!  Sometimes a year goes by and I’m like WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!  I took a look at my 2014 goals and fell short of a couple non-running related ones which is slightly disappointing but hey, it’s a new year with new opportunities, right?  I’m pretty happy with how things went in the running department last year, as I mentioned in last week’s Marathon Monday post, so 2014 wasn’t a total flop.  I learned a lot about myself and my abilities, which leads me to bigger and scarier goals for this year.  I got my planning on over the weekend (with the help of my personal planner!) and came up with a list of things that I’d like to achieve in 2015.

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In 2015 I’m hoping to…

  1. BQ.  There.  I said it.  I technically need a 3:35 to qualify for Boston but I would really need to run closer to a 3:30 if I want to get in.  Those who got accepted into Boston for this year needed to run 1:02 faster than their qualifying time and those who ran Boston in 2014 needed a time of 1:38 faster.  Who knows what the next round will hold but it looks like a 3:35 just won’t cut it.  It’s going to be a lot of work as my current PR stands at 3:53 soooo just an easy 23 minutes faster, right?!  Right.
  2. Run a sub-1:40 half marathon.  It would be awesome to PR in every distance again but my main focus is going to be the half (and my BQ, obvs).  I was so close in October and I know with some more speed training and a little bit of that thing called faith, I can get myself into the 1:30′s.  I’ll be happy with a 1:39:59.  Truth.
  3. Log 1500 miles for the year.  I ran 1309 miles last year, averaging 109 miles a month.  In order to hit 1500, I’ll have to crank up my monthly mileage to 125…which doesn’t seem too bad!
  4. Complete at least one trail race.  I already talked about trying new things and I’d like to add trail running/racing to that list!
  5. Pace/crew/cheer/support my runner friends.  In my own experience, having friends out there on the course and at the finish line really motivates me and I’d like to do the same for them.  I love being at races even if I’m not running them.  All that energy and witnessing those finish line smiles is THE. BEST.
  6. Do what it takes to stay injury-free – strength train, yoga, cross train, PT, chiro…  Last year I had a few minor setbacks and I know they were a result of me neglecting these things so I’ve got to be more consistent to ensure my body stays happy.

So that’s it.  I don’t think any of these goals are out of my reach so I’m ready to push myself and step out of my comfort zone this year.  WHO’S WITH ME?!

Non-running goal list is still in the works…  I have a lot to think about.

HAPPY MONDAY!

Marathon Monday: that ‘red line’

Happy Marathon Monday!!!!!!!!!  Hope you all had a restful weekend (and holiday if you are American!).  Things were pretty low key around here – errands, food prep, condo-hunting (!!!), watching six episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (does anyone else watch this??), and a couple of runs.  Guess I can’t complain, right??

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So I’m three weeks into my training plan (thank you, Phaedra!) and I’d be lying if I said I felt great.  I’m getting my runs done but I don’t feel amazing about them.  Some are on the treadmill (which I hate) and the outdoor ones have been quite a bit slower than I’ve expected.  I know it’s still early but when you are used to running 7:00-7:30 minute miles for a tempo run and then all of a sudden struggle to hit anything under a sub-8:00, it gets frustrating.  I came across this article that reminded me not to get wrapped up in numbers, especially when the weather is less than ideal.  It was CRAZY windy during my last two tempo runs so I know that played a huge role in slowing me down.

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And this was pretty much all I needed to read:

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My red line on Tuesday’s crazy wind storm was a lot different than my red line on a perfect sunny day in September.  AND THAT’S OKAY.  My red line after a day of work is going to be a lot different than my red line first thing in the morning when I’ve got all the energy in the world.  AND THAT’S OKAY TOO!  We just do whatever we can with the cards we are dealt for that day, right?  Right.  With all that being said, tempos still rank high on my ‘favourites’ list.  I love any and all speed workouts.  I go into them knowing I have something to focus on so they go by much faster than a long steady-paced run.

Just in case you are wondering (because I never knew what the heck a tempo was when I started running):

Tempos: warm-up -> run at/above anaerobic threshold (aka “red line”/comfortably hard) for X amount of miles -> cool-down

Why run tempos?  They increase your lactate threshold (point at which your body gets tired at a certain pace), allowing you to run faster with less effort.  They make faster paces feel easier so YOU MUST DO THESE.  Doing a weekly tempo run was the only reason I was able to PR at the Scotia Half Marathon.

And for last week’s workouts:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 7 miles @ 8:01 AP

Wednesday: strength training

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 3.1 miles @ 9:07 AP + strength training

Saturday: 6.2 miles @ 8:32 AP

Sunday: 15 miles @ ???

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Yesterday I ran with OTHER PEOPLE!  This is rare and it was so, so nice.  It was my friend Heather’s birthday so a bunch of us got together and ran just over 13 miles together (and I ran a little before I met them since I had to get a bit more distance in).  It was such a great day and the time passed so quickly.  To top it off, it was warm enough for SHORTS.  I’m not sure what my average pace was because when I met them, I forgot to stop my watch and we chatted for a good 5-10 minutes before I started running again so I hit the reset button…but I’m guessing it was somewhere around 8:45-8:55.

Crossing my fingers that I’m a little more excited about this week’s training.  One month until 2014 is over (crazy, right?) and my goal is to log some good quality miles and stay POSITIVE despite the weather that will be heading our way.

Do you have any goals for the month?

10 tips for running in the COLD!

Happy Wednesday!  So last night I went out for what was supposed to be a tempo run but HOLY SMOKES – it was SO cold and windy.  I tried my best to keep it together and fight the wind but it was a bit difficult so the speed just wasn’t there.  I got it done and felt really good once it was over (mostly because my legs, face, and hands were finally able to thaw out!).  With the temperature dropping here (and in a lot of other places), I thought I’d put together some tips for running in the cold (all based on my own experiences).

Here we go.

1.  Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.  The fact that you are outside running in these ridiculous temperatures is an achievement in itself.  It’s hard to run fast in the cold and even harder when the sidewalks are full of ice and snow.  Pace yourself, be careful, and keep reminding yourself that it’s not always about speed.  Janae posted this on her blog yesterday and it really helps to put the impact of cold weather running into perspective!

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Full article from Runner Academy can be found here.

2.  Choose winter-friendly running shoes!  I know some people who will either wear Yaktrax over top their running shoes or even stud the bottom of their shoes with screws to help with traction.  Last year I just wore my Mizuno Ascends and I was fine.  They are trail shoes so the bottoms had more of a grip than my other Mizunos that I train in (Sayonaras and Inspires).  They don’t make the Ascends anymore but the new Wave Kazan would be this year’s equivalent!

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I highly suggest you cover your ankles too…

3.  Become BFFs with the TREADMILL.  I hate the treadmill but there are going to be some days this winter where I have no other option.  Last year we were hit with a few ice storms which made it impossible to run outside unless I wanted to risk breaking my face.  Learn to love the dreadful ‘mill and just be thankful that there are other options for running when Mother Nature decides she wants to mess with you and your training.

4.  Find people to run with, whether it’s outside or beside you on the treadmill.  It will make winter running more bearable.  I do the bulk of my training alone but when the cold weather hits, it’s nice to have someone with you to make the time go by, even if it’s just for a portion of your run.  With that being said, if anyone wants to do long runs on Sundays……… :)

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5.  Don’t give yourself the chance to make excuses.  I’m notorious for saying I’ll run later…and then not actually run.  It’s really, really easy to stay at home under your covers instead of heading out the door for a tempo when it’s -15*C outside.  To make this a tiny bit easier, I always have my clothes ready.  If I’m doing a morning workout/run, I will either wear (some of) my clothes to sleep or lay them out on my dresser so they are right in front of my face when I wake up.  If I’m doing an evening/post-work run then I will wear (some of) my clothes to work (i.e. I’ll wear my running tights/running socks with nice boots and a sports bra under whatever shirt I’m wearing to work) so that when I get home I just have to put on a different top layer and change into my running shoes.

6.  Wear the right gear.  I know running clothes are expensive but trust me when I say this – they are 100% worth it.  A good wind/water-resistant jacket (like this one), thermal top (like this one), lined tights (like these), a hat, gloves, neck warmer… Wear it all.  Layer up.  It’s easier to take layers off than it is to be freezing for the entire duration of your run.  I know a lot of people dress for 10* warmer than what the weather actually is but I personally cannot stand being cold (plus it takes me longer than the average person to warm up #circulationproblems).  I tend to layer and then if need be, I’ll take my jacket off and tie it around my waist or remove my gloves and stick them in my pockets or sports bra (a little enhancement never hurt anyone haha).

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7.  Give yourself something to look forward to at the end of your run.  Whether it’s a post-long run Starbucks latte or that soup you batch cooked on the weekend or even just a reeeaallllllly long, hot shower – knowing there’s something HOT at the “finish line” kinda helps (for me at least!).

8.  Don’t forget to HYDRATE and FUEL.  We don’t get hot or feel dehydrated as quickly when its cold out so it’s harder to remember to drink and eat.  Keep in mind that straws and spouts may freeze so it’s best to start drinking right away (even if it’s just little sips) to keep the passageway open/unfrozen.  If you are wearing multiple layers, wear your hydration belt or pack over your first layer (close to your body) rather than over top two or three layers.  This will help with freezing too.  I tend to stick to gels over chews because chews freeze and turn into rocks, making them very hard to eat!

9.  HotHands!!!  I still need to go buy a box of these for this season!  Your hands (and feet) usually take the longest to warm up so these things are life savers.  Just stick them in your gloves and your hands will be nice and toasty.  I had no idea they made foot warmers and body warmers too!  Must. Buy. ASAP.

10.  Keep your END GOAL in mind all. the. time.  I was in the exact same place last year – training through a brutally cold winter for the Phoenix Marathon.  I just kept reminding myself that the race would feel SO easy compared to the crazy conditions I put my body through during my training.  Remind yourself that it will all be worth it in the end.  Every bone chilling run through the ice, snow, wind, and cold will make the finish line feel that much sweeter knowing how hard you worked.

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If you can think of anything else that helps YOU make it through cold runs, please share!!!