All I Need to Get Up and Keep Going

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They say a promise is a comfort to a fool. Hmm… I don’t know, maybe it depends on the promise? And the fool? All I know is the promise of Spring keeps me running. These winter days are numbered and so are all the layers that go with them. So in-between time, I focus on keeping myself motivated and getting in tip-top shape for the glory days.. heck yeah!

Staying focused, happy, confident and motivated is a lot of work; It demands many self-lectures and constant support mentally, spiritually and physically. Aside from that, there are a few things I just can’t go without, especially during this time. I find comfort, speed and my get-up-and-go attitude in these running must-haves:

Faith: in God and in myself. One depends on the other and I depend on both. I find strength and hope in the One who runs with me every day. His quiet presence and constant care helps me to rely on and trust in His love for me through all seasons and all things.        

My Running Group: this is how I get the majority of my speedwork in. Since the importance of speedwork to the competitive runner cannot be overestimated, I swear by these speedies, they’ve made me question the term “limits” time and again.      

Running shoes: my Mizunos are my road babies while on the trails Saucony gives me wings.                                                       

GU gels: for anything over 10 miles these gels have become a necessity for running efficiency. Half the time, I suspect age is the culprit. I never needed these things till recently.

Head/Ear band:  I only don’t wear these in the summer, in every other season they provide comfort from the cold and acts as a buffer from the noisiness of my surroundings.                                               

My Gamin/Phone: used to be a time not so long ago when I wouldn’t hesitate to leave either of these behind but it turns out I’m often competing with myself out there and they act as my time keepers.

My Nike Rain/Wind Jacket: I am the real deal and I even have a talisman to prove it. Lol. Really, since the cold has started, I have not been a day without it. Indeed I shudder to think of running without my second skin, I would not survive..I mean that.

As they are, they may seem a pithy list but in truth I don’t need much and I like to keep it simple as there’s only so much keeping up I can do – at least in this instance I’m a minimalist. On the other hand, what’s on this list actually have a big responsibility: getting me to Boston and beyond. So far they’re doing a darn good job of keeping me focused. My faith expects nothing less of course.

Essential Wear for Winter Running

Source: runnersforum.com

Source: runnersforum.com

My last couple posts would have seen to getting you ready for this season’s running; since I figure I’m sorta responsible for your up and out, it’s all I can do to make sure you’re properly equipped to do so by getting you in gear. While it’s all well and good to have a well-thought-out training plan and the right attitude, if you lack the proper tools to execute your plan, it’ll all have been for nought. The concept of dressing for success does not only apply to the corporate person but really speaks to anyone who seeks to win at what he or she chooses to do. Hence why running in winter requires paying due attention to wearing the right apparel.

Coach Jenny Hadfield, writing for Active.com, insists that your winter wardrobe should include running jacket,hat, headband, gloves, tights and long-sleeve shirts. Duh right? But you may be surprised how thoughtless we can sometimes be. Accidents and illnesses happen in most cases without warning and before you know it all your well thought out plans could be shot to hell in a careless run; our goal is to make sure you stay wise, warm, healthy and safe as much as we can. A general rule of thumb is to dress 20 degrees warmer than it actually is as the body generates enough heat while running to ensure that if you’re adequately covered you will be just fine. Slightly cool is a good place to start. Just make sure to layer up using more or less layers as the temperature determines. Adding to the above, wearing the right fabric is very important to wick moisture away from your skin to keep your body as dry and warm as possible.

My experience has taught me that I’m one of those “always cold people” and so I’ve found that depending on how cold and/or windy it gets, I may alternate, drastically sometimes, between as much as four layers on top; a vest, a base ( technical shirt) layer, sometimes a fleece top (vest) and jacket and double layers of tights and pants to just double layers on top and a tights and shorts at other times.  Mittens or gloves or two depending, a headband and a hat is understood. Very rarely do I wear sunglasses but always sunscreen as I try to do as much of my winter training runs at the time of day with the highest sunlight to absorb whatever rare amount of vitamin D that’s available, as well as to minimize exposure to the cold.

Also, I’ve never been out running in minus anything and used to think that I’d surely die if I did but I don’t know, I’m a different person than I was even two years ago, more tolerant, more adventurous, more determined – maybe more of a badass – I like to think anyway, so who knows what the very near future might hold. Let’s just say I’m open this time around and in honor of that I’ve decided to purchase a balaclava – a mask that fits over the head, around the neck and over to mouth to protect against the cold – hell I’m sure it won’t even have to get that cold for me to don it, but regardless it’ll join my wardrobe of running must-haves. Another must-have, at least if you’re planning on going out whether ice, slush or snow, is proper shoes. I swear by trail running sneakers with as little mesh as possible for traction on the ice and to keep my feet dry along with wool socks that wicks away moisture but keeps them warm. Another option to provide stability are those removable traction devices like, Yak Trax, that you can easily place on and remove when you get off running.

I’m sure to the average runner this sounds like a lot of fuss while to the untrained eye it may even seem unnecessary but those who live anywhere there’s winter, and I’m not talking mild cold here, such folks can relate to why we would go to such lengths to protect ourselves from the elements. As to why we would go running in that kind of weather is another question altogether. I can venture a few guesses: we’re of the typical crazy-runner-type, the outfits are super cute? it’s fun if you really think about it? I think I’m running out of reasons and so now you have to go shopping – the best part!

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