Rachael Bazzett, guest blogger
Oh, the weather outside is frightful. Cold temperatures make it so much more challenging to get out of bed in the morning, let alone think about pulling on your running tights and heading outside. It is easy to talk yourself into an extra rest day, but there are plenty of good reasons to hit the trail or the road and log some miles. Many of them include training benefits like having a short off-season and maintaining running shape, but here are a few more reasons.
Nostalgia. If you grew up anywhere with snow, it is likely that you spent many cold winter days bundled up and building snowmen, sledding, and rolling around in the cold white stuff. Maybe you even got a day off from school every now and then. Whenever I get out to run in the fresh snow, I go back to feeling like a little kid. I enjoy my tracks on the ground and the snow that falls off the branches if you run by too closely. Mostly I enjoy how I feel once I have returned home. Stepping into a warm house, taking a shower, and eating some hot soup or oatmeal feels like the coziest thing ever imagined, and I remember warming up by the fire after long days out playing. As an adult, you probably don’t go out and play hard in the snow. I have not found a better way to recreate that feeling than with a long run in the winter.
A Break from the Chatter. We are cooped up inside a whole lot more in the wintertime. The dark hangs around too long in the mornings and reappears too soon in the afternoons. That puts us in constant contact with all sorts of chatter – people, television, Facebook, email. If you are like me, you probably need some space in the day to clear your head. Running is good for this any time of the year, but in the winter, it may be the only place that you get a break. The fresh air doesn’t hurt either. Fewer people out and about may give you even more quiet. Be good to yourself, and give your mind the down time that it deserves.
Because Most People Are Missing This. Winter is not high on the list of beautiful seasons, but there are plenty of beautiful parts. Hills covered in a layer of frost that sparkles in the sun. Cardinals on trees that offer a speck of bright color on a dreary day. These moments are around us all the time, and on the coldest of days, they often go unnoticed. If you can motivate yourself to get out the door (which is certainly the hardest part of winter running), then a whole new world opens up to you that everyone else is going to miss staying comfortably at home. Almost every day, I notice something new and breathtaking, and I feel sorry about the fact that most people will not experience it.
You Won’t Regret It. Have you ever come home from a run and thought to yourself, “Man, I really wish that I had stayed in bed longer this morning and skipped my run”? Barring injury or incredible circumstance, the answer is probably no. Your body will feel better, your mind will feel clearer, and you will go to bed happy that you got yourself out today. What are you waiting for?
Rachael Bazzett is an ultrarunner living in Idaho who puts in most of her miles on the trail with her pups. She is the outreach coordinator for Pickled Feet Ultra Running, which hosts the Wilson Creek Frozen 50k as well as the Pickled Feet Runs. Race information can be found at pickledfeetultras.com and Rachael’s blog can be found at findyourwild.blogspot.com.