Friday, October 12, 2012

Seasonal Struggles

It's October in the Pacific Northwest and we've been experiencing some really gorgeous, unseasonably warm weather.  Until today.

Today is the first day us PNWers have seen rain in 82 straight days.  I wasn't joking.  It's been 82 days since we've seen rain.  I'm not complaining by any means, I grew up in the Bay Area and love my sunshine for sure.  It's just this rain unceremoniously brings in the change of the season around here and the storm this weekend will pack a punch apparently.

So as the seasons change, so do the training habits of runners.  It is definitely Fall now (lets be honest, it's looking like we might be diving head first into winter here) and we have to be more aware of what the temperature and precipitation expectation is for that day.  Gone are the days where we can throw what ever is light and airy in our running bags for our runs later that day.  Now we have to make sure that ear warmers, gloves and water resistent clothing is packed to avoid not being prepared for the elements.  We also need to be mindful of the road conditions, if it's icy, if it's snowing, driving rain, what have you; last thing you want is to slip and fall far from where people can reach you.

I was going through my inventory of running gear and realized that despite me living in the PNW and have been running for almost a year now, I don't have "proper" cold weather running gear.  UGH!  I'd made a promise to myself to buy some gear when it went on sale at the end of last winter, but I'd gotten so caught up in all the cute Spring and Summer stuff that I'd neglected to get Fall/Winter cold essentials.  So now I'm looking at 20 more weeks of training and having nothing really but cotton sweatshirts to wear to keep me warm during the cold rainy, snowy season.  Not ideal, since I know how heavy cotton sweatshirts get when they are soaked from rain showers.

Another side effect to the seasons changing is motivation.  The weather gets colder and the days are darker longer, leaving you wanting to hibernate under piles of blankets watching movies and drinking hot chocolate with Baileys. 

Or that might just be me, I don't know. 

It just gets easier to find excuses when there is incliment weather to not get out and run. A common thread I followed last winter.  Yes, I was a fair weather runner.  I would run during my lunch breaks (when there was daylight), but if it was raining I wouldn't run because I would be soaking wet coming back into work.  Looking like a drown rat for the rest of the afternoon didn't sound appealing.  However now that I've found the shower at work (woo hoo!) I can go for a run in the rain and then come back and take a hot shower to warm me up and clean up.  Sounds confusing, right? I'm going to take a shower after running in the rain and I'm happy about it. I know, I can boggle my own mind. It still doesn't change the drown rat look my hair might have, but at least I can warm up and de-sweat.

With my first half marathon coming up in a just over 4 months and I can't afford to be a fair weather runner this season.  That worries and excites me all at the same time.  Looks like I'm going to have to figure out what to do about my lack of cold weather gear.  Ideas anyone?

Question for you: Does your training suffer when the seasons change? What do you do to help prevent that?


  1. I only started running in June - and on a treadmill at that because it's too dang hot & humid here in Georgia! It's finally cooled off a bit but as you said, it's like we're skipping Fall and getting thrown straight to Winter. I haven't been training outdoors enough to tolerate a 50* run at 6am! But with my two big runDisney races (WDW Marathon & Princess Half) I know I must stay off the treadmill as much as possible. And even crazier, I registered for a Half in November so I can be better prepared (sorta) for January. I have, too easily, hit snooze when I should be meeting my running group for those 6am runs - because it's too cold. I am forcing myself to get my runs in regardless (although shorter). It's such an inconvenience when a run is in the middle of my day, so I hope that will encourage me to WANT to roll out of bed early even if it's cold...because, hey, it's only going to get colder. I'm still trying to figure all this out too!

    1. WOW Jill! You certainly have a stacked race schedule! Let me know how your progress has been with your running in the cold. I know I did a partial run in the snow last year and my feet felt like they were doing to freeze off so I stopped. I also totally agree with not training outside during your summer. I was in FL in August and could barely breathe walking, I don't know how everyone down there does it! It's tough!

  2. Brooks Running has some cute cold weather gear on sale, jackets and such when I was looking on the site last. I usually layer in the cold, and if I have to, I will hit the TM.

    1. It's so funny that you say that because I bought a couple of items from them this weekend! I'm so excited to try everything out! Thanks for the tip!