Oh winter. It’s my least favorite time of year. I know, the holidays are magical with the twinkle lights and the parties and the food. Mmm, the food. But the holidays can be challenging for a runner, especially if you live in the northern half of the country, or the world, for that matter. Temperatures drop, snow accumulates, days darken, parties are plentiful, and the reasons not to head out for a run become pretty easy to come by.
So the folks over at Runner’s World have cooked up a cure. Meghan G. Loftus, who writes the RW Training Daily blog, is leading the charge with a Holiday Running Streak. She’s pledging to run at least a mile a day, every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. And she’s looking for runners to join her.
Oh, it’s on. I am so in. Late November through early January is always the worst time of year for me training wise. I’ve usually just finished a big fall race and months of hard training leading up to it, and am looking forward to a bit of rest. I hate running in snow and, worse, rain and, even worse, sleet. Sure, I’ll retreat to the solitude of the treadmill, but like so many runners I soon hate putting in time on the dreadmill.
Winter running doesn’t always have to be dreadful. There have been years where the holidays have held fitness highlights, usually when I was training for something specific—like December 2008-January 2009 when I celebrated New Year’s eve in a sleeping bag in a hut on the side of a mountain in Tanzania as I prepped to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s tallest peak. I’d trained steadily through the holidays in preparation for the weeklong trek and summit bid in the thin air above 19,000 feet. As I trudged through the snows of Kilimanjaro gulping for air, I was very glad that I was a runner.
But, alas, this year I have completely fallen off the bandwagon. After finishing the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on Oct. 1, my workouts have been erratic and unfocused. I’ve even started counting my daily jaunts—and by jaunts I mean leisurely walks punctuated by short bursts of running—with my dog as my exercise for the day. It will not do.
So I’m joining the RW Holiday Streak with bells on. It’s exactly the motivation I need to get through the turkey, the stuffing, the pie, the holiday ham, the twice baked potatoes, the apple kuchen, the cookies, the stocking candy, the champagne and all the other holiday treats I love while still walking the walk of a runner, instead of just talking the talk. I’ll report back weekly to let you know how it’s going.
So bring on the snow, bring on the sleet, bring on the cold. Bring it on, December. Winter, you better watch your back.
Karla Bruning is an award-winning journalist and running nerd. She has completed four marathons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at RunKarlaRun.com, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.
Photo © Copyright Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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I’ve just found my photo on your site. I’m glad I’ve taken something that someone else can use. Thanks for the full photo credit. Graham