Happy Monday and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope everyone had a great weekend and it didn’t zoom by TOO fast! As I write this I have no idea what will wear to work as I own very little green outside of a couple of tech shirts, and that won’t work! I’m sure I’ll find something!
True confession time – despite coming through a winter of record cold temperatures, we are entering the hardest motivational part of the year for me. I know it might seem counter-intuitive, but someone at work said ‘you must be thrilled’, and while I said ‘yes it is great that it isn’t so cold, that is only half true. While it is great not dealing with such brutal cold, these bitter months have presented challenges – challenges that mostly disappear at ‘normal winter’ temperatures. Here are a few thoughts on why this transition period challenges me:
– Running at -20F is a ‘test of wills’. For internal contests, I win those. It is how I lost almost 200 lbs at 23 and more than 100 lbs in 2012.
– When people learn I regularly run in sub-zero temperatures, they generally think I am nuts, but the conversation (like the comments here) are motivational – they encourage me to get up on the next sub-zero morning.
– No one really wants to hear you whine about running in 20F weather.
– 40F in the afternoon means <20F when I run, and with winds it generally means 10-15F wind chills.
– That means I still am wearing ~80% of what I do at -20F. And it is still cold.
– By now I have run my ‘winter preset’ course pretty much every weekday for several months with only minor variations.
I noticed it last week, and pushed HARD to get through it. The thing that concerns me is, as anyone knows, you can only push for so long. I worry that winning the ‘battle of wills’ all winter has worn me down. What I really need is something to bridge the gap between ‘totally sucks’ and ‘totally awesome’ … which for me seems to be more than 40F at 4AM.
So here are some thoughts I have had about motivation when you are bogged down with the ‘winter blahs’:
1. Change Up Your Route
This weekend I had to wedge my runs into a very busy schedule, so Saturday was a ‘standard’ run … but on Sunday I needed something different. So I ran a route I hadn’t used since the fall. It makes sense WHY I avoid it – it is dark, with uneven areas, and I have seen too many skunks on it.
Until it starts getting light earlier I can’t use that route – but going out late Sunday morning was perfect. I ran faster and more spirited than I had in a while, and although I only ran 10.75 miles, I felt it later on! It was an entirely positive experience – even though it was 21F and 11F with wind chill.
2. Force Yourself Back into Challenges
When the temperature dropped, I abandoned a real ‘training routine’ and instead just did one ‘run with purpose’ each week … which was almost always ‘long distance’. Gone were tempo, fartleks or other pacing runs. And for the depths of winter that is great – but now the prospects of running the same route the same way feels like drudgery.
So now it is time to bring back the challenges – to work on my pace and consistency, and really re-establish my feel. I ended last year really strong with my final half-marathon in November … I want another good year! So as the morning temperatures later this week will be in the upper 20s, I will bring back the challenges!
3. Get the Pre-Run Routine Under Control
The thing is, once I am dressing for slightly warmer temperatures, I shouldn’t be limiting myself to the same routes anymore. I should be pushing my mileage a bit, and also getting in some bodyweight exercise more frequently.
Truth is I get into full-on dawdle mode in the late winter, and I don’t want that to dominate as we move towards spring … so I need to pur some discipline around how I conduct my mornings!
4. Rewards, Rewards, Rewards!
This is one that seems great but I can’t visualize now. I really don’t spend much money on myself in any way, so I am thinking this could be a great way to step outside the box and figure out some rewards to work towards. For me it is not about money or material things or junk food, but rather something that would give me incentive to get out and challenge myself. Given how much I am packing into a day … time seems to be a great area to work with.
If anyone has thoughts specific to me – or themselves – I would love to hear them!
5. Find Other Things to Worry About
This weekend I was doing a ‘shoe check’, in which I confirmed that my Saucony Kinvara 4s with more than 1300 miles are in better shape than the 600 mile New Balance Minimus. I started that on Friday and used Saturday and Sunday to confirm. Now I will be rotating them until I really need to get something new … I might be better about buying good shoes now, but I am still not in a rush to spend the money!
Also, as I alluded to before, in February an update to Garmin Connect killed 3rd party uploads … which means I haven’t been able to upload my Magellan Echo data in weeks! So I decided to go back to using the Nike+ site, but need to remember my password, then upload all of my old data, and so on. It will be a bit of a project, so I will also investigate other tracking sites that I can use directly from the Wahoo Fitness app. My thought? Motivation through accountability.
Apparently It Is Not Just Me!
There are apparently plenty of others who deal with the ‘winter blahs’, as evidences by these article on Curing The Winter Blahs, Staying Active to Cure the Winter Blahs, 10 Cool Ways to Beat the Winter Blues, and 5 Intentions To Set This Spring
I love the 5 Intentions To Set This Spring post, as it talks about looking forward and setting yourself up to power into Spring! Here is a snip:
4. Embrace your passion.
Whether it’s a hobby you’ve loved for all of your life, or something new that makes your heart thump a little harder, embrace something that ignites a flame within you. Set aside time — even if it’s just once a week — and, during that time, focus all of your energy on whatever your passion may be. In the craziness of life, it’s not uncommon that we neglect a hobby we love due to other obligations. But passion is what makes us feel alive. Passion is what fills us with positive energy, flowing from one person through to the next. Passion fuels more passion, making this life a happy one to live. All we have to do is set an intention to embrace it.
This week we get the release of ‘Recess’ from Skrillex, currently streaming on iTunes ‘First Play’. You should check it out if you haven’t, especially while you can still stream it free! To celebrate the release of new material from one of my son’t favorite artists, here are five songs that step us through some of the coolest electronic music in my iTunes collection!
1. Skrillex – Scary Monsters & Nice Sprites – this is the most famous Skrillex song, and makes me think of seeing Skrillex Live with my younger son who is a huge fan. I can tell he doesn’t like this new album as much, but that is as much about evolving tastes as anything else.
2. Deadmau5 – Sofi Needs a Ladder – While Skrillex is very ‘song-oriented’, Deadmau5 falls somewhere between the pop side of things and the more experimental world of electronic music.
3. Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster – After nearly a decade of low output, Daft Punk broke out again in 2013. But they have always been about a good jam.
4. Kraftwerk – The Robots – hard to place this in 1978, as it was so ahead of its time. The US version is played at a faster tempo, but the original contains everything you need to know. Kraftwerk were incredible visionaries, and all of electronica owes them a considerable debt.
5. Bill Laswell – Iron Cross – Bill Laswell is a bassist, but has been involved as a producer all the way back to Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rockit‘, and for many years was as likely to release albums of dub, ambient, or other electronic stuff (not to mention being part of the epic ‘Dark Side of the Moog’ series). This album remains my favorite.
So do you get the ‘winter blahs’ ? If so, how do you get past them? Also, what is spinning on your iPod today>