When it comes to running, I have to admit I'm a fair-weather fan. Give me a 60-degree, low-humidity day and I'll gladly agree to trot 10-plus miles with you. However, once the temperatures start to dip drastically and the snow starts to fly, it's easy for me to seek shelter in the warm hibernation spot of my bed.
Some people don't notice much of a drop off when winter time rolls around because they just switch gears and attack their treadmill with a vengeance. I, on the other hand, have trouble feeling comfortable on the treadmill due in large part to the fact that I'm 6-foot-6 and either hit my knees on the front or fall off the back. So, the treadmill is not really the answer to my winter running needs.
I have found that as long as the temperatures stay above zero including the windchill that proper layering makes running outside still bearable. The only thing that has been a concern for me is adequate footing, so I base my daily runs now on whether or not I can find a somewhat clear path to trod.
Two other things that really help me follow through on continuing my runs during the winter have been getting together with friends to do them and making them into events whenever possible. The accountability that you find when telling someone that you'll meet them at 6 a.m. for a 5K is a strong motivator when the warm covers on my bed try to pull me back into them when the alarm goes off. And, the bond that you form with fellow runners who are working hard and braving the frigid elements with you is one that develops into strong friendships.
As for making runs into events, sometimes you have to be creative or, as my wife likes to say, a little loony. Take this morning for example. A lunar eclipse was slated to take place on the same day as the winter solstice for the first time in 300-plus years. The fact that it happened between 2:30-4:00 a.m. didn't stop me from trying to organize a middle-of-the-night 5K. I met my friend, Chad Sims, at his house at 3:00 a.m. and we started our run. At the midway point, we stopped to see our friends, Crystal and Eric Browning, who had offered to make us hot chocolate and fresh cookies. Even though the early morning sky was pretty overcast, we did manage to see the moon a couple of times while enjoying the warm treats. After a little bit, Chad and I said good-bye to the Brownings and finished off our 5K before I headed for home for a few more hours of sleep. (You can see a picture of the limited edition shirt I designed to commemorate the event above - 'cause we all know that any race worth running has a race shirt.)
While Chad and I didn't set any personal bests and Crystal and Eric sacrificed some sleep, I think we would all four agree that it was fun and something we would do again if given the choice. I also think from the interest I've seen on my Facebook page after posting about the 2010 Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse 5K that next time we plan a fun event that more people will take part in it. Special thanks to WBNS 10TV for the shout out about the run this morning and also to COSI for checking in with us. You never know who is watching and following your progress!
(Note: I would love to hear your ideas for running in Central Ohio's winter wonderland.)