Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The whiner's guide to staying accountable in the winter

What do you mean you don't want to go for a run?

"It's too coooollllld!"

"It's dark oooouuuut!"

"It's haaaaaaaaard!"

"Running suuuuuuuucks..."

Waa, waa, waa. I too speak whinese.



You call yourself a runner?

Whining never got anything done. Trust me. Sure, sometimes it feels good to whine. "I don't waaaaaant toooooo!" They don't call me Wendy Whiner for nothing. Oh wait, that wasn't me. That was an SNL character back in the day.

I won't deny it. I have done my share of whining. I have the whining gene in my DNA.

So how does a whiner shake off the funk and get out there in the cold?

Experience is the best teacher. And I've got a pep talk for you.



1. The first step to resolution is to acknowledge the problem. You're right, it's cold out. Yes, it's dark. The bed never felt so good. But remember this: you're awake now, so you may as well get up and go. You are a runner and that's what we do. We run. So suck it up.

2. Visualize yourself running. Wimps don't run in the cold and dark. Everyone else who's still in bed? Sloths. You are not a sloth. You are a beast. You are superhuman. You are a runner. And you're going to get it done before the sun. As my dad used to tell my sisters and me when we didn't want to do something, "it will put hair on your chest." Think about that as you're running around your neighborhood.

3. Think about the bragging rights you get for running outside in the winter. You can casually drop this little nugget at the water cooler:
"Yep, yep, heh, heh,  I got in 5 miles before I came into work today."
or
"The cold? What cold? I've got hair on my chest."
Your selfies will already have 100 likes on IG before anyone else even posts their run. Maybe you'll be called a badass mother runner. Maybe you'll be reposted. Maybe you'll be called crazy, which is a compliment in any runner's book.

Last winter. Me.
4. Then there's that whole zen thing to running outside in the winter. You get to be one with nature. The peace. The beauty. There's a pretty good chance that you will see the sun come up. A sunrise never gets old. You get to greet a new day. And you get to brag about it. See #3 above. Of course, you might see skunks or other wild animals, which will, besides giving you some good stories, will put an extra pep in your step.

5. Running first thing in the morning fires up your calorie burning furnace, no matter what time of year it is. You get to eat all the food. While your co-worker or friend is nibbling on an apple and a carton of yogurt, you get to gorge yourself on all the food. Pass the chocolate cake. Smiling like a runner.

6. If none of the above gets you going, remind yourself how bad you'll feel if you skip this run. Oh, trust me on this one. That extra sleep might seem so appealing, the warm bed so tempting, but as the day wears on, you'll kick yourself for skipping the run.And just try running after work. Sure, you can do it. Can you?



7. Remind yourself that this too will pass. Heck, it's already mid-January! Winter goes and spring races come. And guess who will be ready? You. Yep, winter running sucks. Spring is our reward. You have to earn it.

8. Of course, sometimes the weather is just too dicey for even the most die-hard runner. Icy conditions are dangerous, and no one wants to risk that. While there's no glory in running on the treadmill, sometimes a runner just has to. Badass in its own way, for a "real" runner, running on the treadmill is a special kind of torture. Although most non-runners don't quite see it that way, it's ok. You can whine all you want if you take it to the 'mill. A whiner's gotta do what a whiner's gotta do. Just do it.

Any more excuses?

I didn't think so.

Layer up, put on your YakTrax (affiliate link), and let's go! Remember, if running in the winter was easy, it would be called your mom...

The one sign I saw a million times at the marathon. Finally, I get it.
Do you run outside in the winter? (Florida and California residents need not apply.) What tips do you want to share? What pushes you out the door? How do you stay accountable?

I'm linking up with DebRuns and Wednesday Word. Today's word is accountable!











I'm also linking up with the FitFoodieMama, AngelenaMarie, FitfulFocus, and FruitionFitness for Wild Workout Wednesday! Have a wild workout!

95 comments :

  1. I swear Texas used to be amazing. Hot hot in the summer but stunning in the winter. Now it's cold cold in the winter – – for here but still :-) – – and wet wet wet
    Did I mention I have a half marathon in a few weeks?? :-)

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    1. I hope you're getting out there! Bad weather be damned!

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  2. LOL at no glory in running on the TM - but I have friends who trained for a marathon doing long runs on the TM and I do respect them for that! I try to "Just do it" and do enjoy the feeling once I'm out there -as long as it's not windy.

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    1. I can't imagine training for a long distance race on the TM. The longest run I've ever done was 11 miles and it almost killed me (mentally). I'll take the cold any day.

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  3. yet again, you made me smile ;-) You know my answer to outside running in the winter....I think I have used my 'mill (maybe) five times in the past 12 months, and that's only been because there was freezing rain, or I (maybe) did some intervals in between stair training. (maybe)It's my indoor-running-in-place-torture-device....I gain nothing (distance-wise), but there may be a few (new) stray hairs on my chest....

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    1. I'll do intervals on the TM but that's about it in the winter. I thought I'd hate the bike trainer as much, but with the videos, I get motivation. I'm heading back out this weekend. I'm ready!

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  4. Great pep talk!

    Except I'm going to get on the treadmill today. I *could* run outside, but there's the slight layer of snow that could be hiding the black ice, the howling winds, and yup, the cold.

    I'm getting on the treadmill at in one hour. There, I've said it! Because I really need to wash my hair today, and it takes fooooooorever to dry.

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    1. Yep, those howling winds will do it to me too. Winter is tough. I can see why bears hibernate.

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  5. I used to get the hair in the chest line from my dad all the time!

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  6. I do not miss the wind and frozen hands, but I do miss the quiet of being out on the path all alone.

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    1. I'm looking forward to getting back out there. Even though I hate the cold.

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  7. Since I was injured last year at this time (with stupid PF) I am actually enjoying running outside so far. As long as you are dressed appropriately it's not too bad!

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    1. I totally agree! There's something really empowering about running outside in the winter too!

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  8. I hate the treadmill so much that I would rather wear a billion layers and run outside than drive to the gym! My one trick is just reminding myself how great I feel after a run, so if I can just suck it up for 40-45 minutes it will pay off. I also try to check the weather for the week in advance and plan my lifting days for the mornings it is the coldest.

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    1. That's my thought exactly. I loathe the treadmill.

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  9. I'll remember all of these phrases for sure when I'm on the struggle bus to get myself outside. I have definitely been struggling more this winter to get myself outside than usual.

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    1. Just think about all that hair you get on your chest... :p

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  10. Awesome post! I try to run outside as much as possible during the winter but sometimes it proves to be hard. I live on desolate, poorly lit country roads (that are always covered in snow and ice) so before the sunrise it can be impossible. I do try to run all my weekend runs outside though! :)

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    1. I've been taking a few weeks off but I'll be heading back out into the tundra this weekend. This was my pep talk...

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  11. My personal limit for running outside is -22 Celsius. I check weather forecasts and plan longer runs for warmer days (if possible!) The thing that keeps me motivated is bragging rights, for sure!

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    1. I don't have a lower limit. If the sun is shining and the wind is calm, I can go even in the most arctic of conditions!

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  12. lol, I love it. I run outside as much as I can but for days I'm in a hurry or it really is way to cold, treadmill it is!

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    1. Nope! The TM is a last resort for me!!!

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  13. I think investing in quality winter running gear can make a huge difference in how you feel during those cold morning/day runs. After buying a really good jacket last year, I found that helped alot to make me not dread those runs. I do live in NC, but train some in the Boston area when visiting my mom. Last year my sister and I ran 16 miles on the Boston Marathon course with snow on the ground and a very low wind chill, but it was a blast with company. Having someone to run with helps too!

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    1. Absolutely. I have all kinds of gear. Bright colors help too, even if for the psychological effect.

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  14. This is the first year in many that I don't have a February race coming up so I'm taking most of the winter off from running and I don't feel guilty about it what so ever..."ol

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    1. I'd be afraid I'd struggle to get back in shape!

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  15. Love the Nick Offerman meme haha!
    I actually love running in the cold! I love that moment when your body temperature gets high enough that you're running comfortably. The only time I'll skip an outdoor run is if the roads are really icy, but I'll usually just switch to the treadmill!

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    1. I don't love it but I don't mind those faster paces, actually!

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  16. I still remember that picture from last year! You are bad ass! Thank God I live where it doesn't get that cold! I'm still enjoying my extra hour of sleep in the mornings this week, but honestly I could get in the habit of this very easy so I'm wishing away this time so I can get back to running, not the long 15+ milers but just running! Enjoy your week Wendy!

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    1. You are so lucky to have mild winters!!!

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  17. So far this year I've run sixteen times and made it without stepping on the TM once! Hope to make it as long as I can.

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    1. Knowing you, you'll be out there no matter what!

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    2. Ha ha, definitely! Unless the snow forces me to run in the middle of a street that is full of moving vehicles! :)

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  18. Brrrrr your pics gave me the chills! I live in CA and the mornings to me feel cold, but it was never an excuse for me to refrain from running. I did run in Colorado on New Years Day but was dressed properly for it and yes the beauty of snow on the ground which I haven't seen in awhile made it worthwhile to be out there.

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    1. You just have to go! And find something positive to think about. It can be a good experience.

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  19. I hate the treadmill so I run outside even in the cold or wind. If it too snowy or icy, I may stay indoors.

    I sign up for big races and that makes me get out there.

    You just bundle up and grin and bear it.

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  20. NOW is when I need a running buddy more than ever - knowing I'm supposed to meet someone on these dark, cold, wet mornings is what helps the most in getting out there. Well that, and the fear of my looming half marathon, LOL.

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    1. Well, yes, there is that whole race prep thing...

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  21. Haha...well, fortunately I get no real winter here....but just seeing the picture of you with your snow covered lashes actually makes me want to try running in snow sometime!!

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    1. It's actually kind of cool the first few times. But after that, you're just ready for spring!

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  22. WOW that picture from last year looks insanely cold. Haha, I do run in the winter, but our winters in Vancouver are typically made up of a lot of rain and not a ton of cold. It's been "cold" here the last few weeks, with temps at around 3 degrees (celsius), but besides a little frost it's nothing too scary.

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    1. It can be pretty brutal here in Chicago. This year hasn't been too bad until this week. We've been fortunate. Plus I've been inside the last 2 weeks with my PF.

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  23. Great tips! I love running this time of year, I totally feel like a badass running in the snow and cold. I'm going to torture myself in run in this 20-degree weather tonight, I'm seriously looking forward to it!

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    1. Ha! 20 sounds like a heat wave right now...LOL! Enjoy!

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  24. Hey, there's snow in the California mountains!! Californians run and cycle in the snow! I am fortunate.... but I much prefer whining to counting my blessings! ;) And Yeah, that picture of you from last winter, uhm, yeah, I do not miss that whatsoever! You are a beast!

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  25. I have yet to run in the Midwest winter. I'll tell people it's because I don't have the proper gear to do it safely (true) but the real reason is I'm a wimp. BUT I WANT TO CHANGE! Where the heck do you get that awesome face cover thing in the picture way up there???

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    1. I got that one at Dicks years ago. But last year I won a Ninja Balaclava Face Mask from another blog. You can find it on Amazon.

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  26. This is great !
    Number 3 and 5 get me out the door.

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    1. There's nothing better than bragging about running in the cold!

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  27. Great list!

    I'm not sure what the coldest temperature I've ran in, maybe 2 or 3 degrees centigrade, but I've ran in some awful rain even in the summer.

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    1. Last winter I ran in -12F. My PR. My butt was frozen.

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  28. I think Seattle residents need not apply! It feels like Midwest April out here, although we've had some icy mornings. Nothing like when I used to live in Northwest Indiana, but even then running (on the mill or in the snow) was always better than whining and not running. Great post!

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    1. The ice is a challenge. You can run in the cold if it isn't icy but I've wiped out a few times on black ice. Ouch.

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  29. Love this and I often need this reminder myself! Thanks for linking up with us!

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  30. I run outdoors a little. But a lot of treadmill stuff. I have to run off the bike. So, as you know, biking indoors generates TONS of sweat. Which would instantly freeze if I ran out of the house, even if I threw on a top layer(s). I save the outdoor runs for weekends or warmer days. With the exception of track days. That's outside unless I think I will get frostbite in my lungs.

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    1. I can't believe how much I sweat on the bike! Even more than when I run on the TM. So I get it.

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  31. I will usually tough it out and get out under the stars and feel good about it.
    Right now I can not go and every one keeps telling me this is the perfect time to take off anyway, it i too cold, too windy, but...you know how I am in heat lol I would rather have this foot issue in summer and be out there now.

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    1. I'm looking forward to going back out there again!

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  32. Wendy you are making me want to go out now for a run and its 10 PM, love it!!

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    1. I cannot wait to get back outside! I need this too!

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  33. Ok seriously you're a trooper girl! Curious...what's your heritage? I really do believe that since my people are from Africa this doesn't apply to me. LOL!

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    1. Hahahaha! You just made me LOL for real! Ok, I'm German, so maybe that's why I can take the cold? Either that or the stubborness that is attributed to Germans?

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  34. I will tough out the cold as long as the ice isn't too bad. I always have the treadmill option but would rather run outside. Even in the winter.

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  35. HA! Florida residents need not apply! It gets cold here! Ok, it feels cold and we are probably the biggest whiners! I will be thinking of you on my next cold scheduled run because you are right, we are runners, and I want those bragging rights and well, yeah, the chocolate chip cookies and wine :)

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    1. I know, 50 degrees feels cold in Florida. I get it....

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  36. If it's above 20, I'll brave the outdoors to run in the winter. When the temps drop below zero I stay safely inside and go beastmode on the mill. :-)

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    1. If we waited for perfect conditions, we'd never go outside, right?

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  37. You are so awesome. I love that photo of you covered in ice. Wowza!

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    1. That was something! I hope not to repeat it this winter!

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  38. Getting new gear for Christmas is always a bonus. It's hard to resist trying it out, even when it's cold out! {ahem, for CA residents that means under 40!}

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    1. Getting new gear period is a bonus! I can't wait to get outside this weekend and try out some of my new tights that I bought on clearance!

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  39. I speak fluent Whinese, too!!! I am a big supporter of telling myself to just get out there and do one mile - and then I can stop. But usually once I'm out there, I'll keep going. It's all a momentum thing, and getting started is often by far the hardest part!!!

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    1. Isn't that a meme? The hardest part is getting out the door!

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  40. Sun rises never do get old. I feel like they energize me and I feel like if I am running when the sun sets that it takes some of my energy with it. Funny :) I agree you just have to embrace the suck and get it done!

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    1. There is just something about seeing the sun that makes everything better! No matter how cold it is.

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  41. haaa!!!! This is awesome! You really thought of everything!!! Sloths stay in bed... haaaa :-))))

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    1. Well, when you have polar vortex conditions, a little tough love is in order...

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  42. Wonderful tips! I will so be coming back to read this in the future as well. I love #6. There's nothing like thinking about the guilt and anger with myself I'll feel later to get me out of bed when I'm considering skipping a run.

    I saw something the other day (or maybe heard it on a Podcast... I can't remember!) that goes along with #1 - When you set your alarm for 4:30 AM or 5 or whatever it may be, that commitment is made that night. When the alarm goes off in the morning there should be no debate. You already made the decision to get up and now it's time to do that.

    I think they said it in better words, but you get the gist :)

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    1. That's what gets me the most...that feeling of remorse when I skip a run!

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  43. Bahahahaha...I LOVE THIS! I honestly haven't reached the whiny phase yet but I'm sure it will arrive sometime in February. I think because I spent a lot of last winter NOT running, that I'm a-ok with getting out and running now. That being said #6 gets me every. single. time. So, I suck it up and get out of bed, ha ha.

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    1. I haven't whined yet either because I've been off the road for 2 weeks. I was planning to restart on Sunday, but I'm going tomorrow instead because the temps are going to be brutal on Sunday!

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  44. This was a great post on being accountable. Loved it, and that frosty haired selfie of you never gets old!

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. But most interestingly, I have no desire to repeat that selfie! LOL!

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  45. Haha! So true! Sometimes you just have to put on your big girl pants and do it! Love it!:)

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    1. I have to remind himself that tomorrow when I hop on the treadmill!

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