Monday, December 6, 2010

New Season, New Routine

Winter is officially here! This weekend, the weather took a turn from chilly and officially arrived at freezing this morning, with some flurries just to make sure I knew it wasn't fall anymore.

I love when the seasons change; I feel lucky to be alive to witness all milestones, and the changing of the seasons is no exception. But I have mixed feelings about the onset of winter because it marks the start of about three months when the weather is not conducive to running outside. It's not all bad though. Winter is an opportunity to try out new indoor fitness options, and revisit my old favorites. So, instead of running all the time, I've been transitioning to my winter routine, which includes a smorgasbord of winter-friendly activities including pilates, kickboxing, cardiodance, strength training, swimming, spinning, and whatever other classes I can piece around my schedule.

Despite all the variety, I do practice what I consider to be 'maintenance runs' a few times a week through the winter. These are short (2-5 miles), usually involve speed work, and are done on the treadmill. I'll be the first to admit that I don't do enough speedwork during my outside runs because I like to just go and not think about keeping various paces throughout my runs. The treadmill, on the other hand, seems monotonous and dull when I compare it to outdoor runs that include trails, rivers, roads, and hills.

When I'm doing the hamster-on-a-wheel thing, contained in the gym, looking out longingly through the floor-to-ceiling windows at the once bright, now frozen landscape, speedwork is suddenly a lot more appealing. I did a 5K's worth of speedwork this morning, circuit trained my upper body, and I am pleasantly sore now.

It's not fun to get up the extra half hour earlier and go to the gym rather than rolling out of bed and putting on sneakers to go for a pre-work run, or easier yet, sleeping in, but when it's 20 degrees out, the thirty minutes of lost sleep is worth it.

On the days I want to turn off the alarm and sleep through my workout time, I always remind myself that I have never, ever regretted doing a workout. Honestly, there are days I have chosen to sleep, and sometimes I don't regret making that choice, but sometimes I do. Going to the gym? Doing the run? I have never wished I skipped it, so my advice for staying motivated through these dark, cold, and short days is to remember how you feel when you finish that workout, knowing what you've accomplished while your friends, neighbors, and coworkers are still rubbing the sleep from their eyes. Think about that as you set your alarm clock tonight, and as you wake up tomorrow morning.

Hope, Love, Run
Marathon Girl

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