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As much as I appreciated the extra hour of sleep the Sunday of the New York City Marathon, I have to admit, I really dislike giving up daylight savings time. It just makes it feel like winter is that much closer.
I begin to hit the wall that much sooner. I reach for a glass of red wine or a beer that much sooner (What? it’s only 4PM? Really? But it feeeeeels like it’s 5PM!). It doesn’t help that the temperature has dropped below 40°F at night.
This is a difficult time of year for runners, well, for this runner anyway. It gets harder to motivate the body to get outside and run. It doesn’t help that I have essentially taken the last several months off from consistent, higher mileage.
What’s this runner to do?
The last couple of winters I’ve had the advantage of having a treadmill in my basement, ideally located in front of a TV with a DVR attached and all of my favorite show religiously recorded. Having my favorite shows on made “dreadmill running” much less dreadful. Unfortunately, I killed my treadmill a month or so ago. 3 years of intense, regular running finally broke it in two, literally. My mileage has suffered for it. The treadmill was always my last line of defense against laziness.
There’s always the gym I suppose, but it has always felt a little silly to me to drive to the gym just to use their treadmill – and talk about dreadmill – running on a gym treadmill is about as exciting and fun as watching grass grow or paint dry.
No, running at the gym cannot be my answer, at least not entirely.
The simple truth is, I will have to do what I have always preached: push the boundaries of what feels normal, move into that space that is uncomfortable and make it my own – make it comfortable; make it a habit. I constantly tell my non-running, non-active friends that if they want to get active they need to force it upon themselves to a degree. One cannot wish oneself into shape. One cannot wake up one morning and decide, “I am a runner”.
It’s not that easy.
If it were then this country wouldn’t be facing the obesity problem it faces today…
Last week, I managed to slowly get back into pre-dawn running. It’s going to get harder before it gets easier. My body and mind are going to fight me.
But it’s still dark!!! It’s so cold!!!
I tell my friends “2 to 6 weeks.” That’s the time necessary for the habit of running to imprint itself onto your muscles, your routine. If you can stick it out, the internal drive, the fire from within will finally kick in and instead of pushing yourself out the door to run, you will be drawn out by the “need“.
With Sugarloaf 6 months away, I have about 6 to 8 weeks to get the fire piping hot again so that my training will be about training and not about motivation. Maybe part of my problem this summer and fall was that I didn’t have a time goal race, an “A”-Race lined up. I was “qualified to register” for Boston, my goal for the Vermont 50 was to “just finish” and New York was all about fun. Well, the 50 is done, fun was had in New York, and, unfortunately, I missed getting into Boston by a mere 33 seconds.
I don’t like the fact that I will not be running Boston this year. I get it, I understand it, I accept it. But I don’t like it. I don’t plan on missing 2013. And there may lie my motivation to move, to get back into the habit.
Whatever your motivation may be this winter (lose/hold off the holiday pounds, achieve a time in a Spring race, get into better shape), just keep moving. Fight the urge to potato long enough and I promise you it will go away. You’ll be happier for it.