Monday, March 9, 2015

Winter blahs? Change It Up!

For a lot of us, it's been a long, tough winter full of cold, slippery runs outside, or miles upon miles on indoor tracks and treadmills. But even though daylight savings time provides an extra hour of daylight in the evening, the sun is out and the snow is melting, it's still hard for some to break out of the motivation-sapping winter funk.

Sound familiar? With the weather and a couple of injuries, I've caught myself feeling that way lately, but I've made a couple of changes to my routine in hopes of getting all the way back. Here are a few of them...maybe they might work for you too!

*Go back to a route you haven't run in a long time. One thing winter lends itself to is the same old, same old. Wearing heavy clothes every day or putting on the same coat every day for months at a time is just depressing, isn't it? During the winter I find myself doing the same kind of routine all...the...time. In fact, I'm realizing that I have worn the same quarter zip sweater I'm wearing today to work for like the last five Mondays!

The best runs I had all winter were ones I had on my trips. Sure, the warm weather had a lot to do with it, but getting out and running in new places was very revitalizing!

So once the snow has melted, go find a route you haven't run since last fall, or even longer than that. Find a path you like, go run the same route as your favorite 5K, or drive somewhere you've always wanted to run but have just never gotten around to actually doing it.

*Do a different workout. If you have run for a long time, there is one type of workout that you dislike so much you avoid it like the plague. For me it's a tempo run...don't ask why, it is just one workout I refuse to do. Tempo runs and burpees, I'll do anything else in the world you ask, except for those two things.

If you have a workout like that, go do it! Yes, you heard me! Even though it's hard and not your favorite, get out there an challenge yourself a little bit. It's a good way to break the chain of a bunch of runs that may have gone a bit stagnant.

*Change your playlist. This one is huge to me because I love listening to music when I run. I wasn't looking forward to my 8-miler on the blue track last week (64 laps! Ugh!) so I went and downloaded some techno podcasts I was listening to when I was really rocking my training during the 2013 Chicago Marathon.

You know what? It worked! I felt super motivated and put in a killer run. One thing that gets forgotten sometimes is that so much of running is mental. Listening to that music reminded me of a very recent time where I was running well and having a lot of fun. As I was listening to the music, I was thinking of the warm Saturdays I spent running with my training group, and how easy it felt to absolutely crush our runs. It was a big boost for me.

*Speaking of a group. Reacquaint yourself with some of your running friends, or get involved in a running group or club. I joined the Dick Pond Fast Track team (a team sponsored and run by a local shoe store) and though I haven't had the chance to run with them I'm excited to join the group and meet some new people.

*Run a race! Yeah, this is the easy one for me -- I don't have to twist anyone's arm on this one, do I? I haven't run a race since early December and I am really ready to run one. For sure I'm running the Viking Half Marathon, since I'm already signed up, but there is a local 5K this coming weekend I might get out to and officially kick off the season. Find something coming up and sign up for it, or pick a "bucket list" race down the road you've always wanted to do and sign up for it.

Take a bit of a will be fun!

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