running in the winter

 

As the temps start to drop here in the Michigan tundra, some of us tend to hibernate. Sure, we dig our winter gear out of the bottom of the closet or drawers and still make most of our runs outside. But there are days when it’s genuinely too cold or too icy for even the craziest most-dedicated of us to run outside.

So it’s a perfect time to pretend to be concerned with our cross training because it’s typically something we can do inside. And that’s the topic of today’s Tuesdays on the Run link-up hosted by runner bloggers MCM Mama RunsMy No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice: our cross-training plans for the next few months.

thatd-be-great

When I genuinely can’t run outside, I turn to:

  • Yoga. It’s typically too slow for my taste, but I do the Runner’s World Yoga for Runners videos by Rebecca Pacheco. They’re short (about half an hour long), relatively easy to do and work on most of our trouble spots. Oh, and they’re free.
  • Walking. When it’s just too icy to run outside, sometimes I bundle up in snow boots, snow pants, a heavy parka, hat, gloves and a scarf. Think Ralphie’s brother in A Christmas Story. Or the Michelin Man. When that’s not do-able, I turn to the used treadmill el husbando got for me last year and walk while I watch TV shows the rest of la familia just don’t like. Justified is a favorite. Timothy Olyphant. Swoon.
  • Videos. If I’m feeling remotely ambitious, I pop in a Jillian Michaels DVD and sweat for 30 minutes. This is another great, quick option for getting in some much-needed cross training without having to leave the house or taking too much time.

The list is short, but realistic. I used to practice my tae kwon do forms in the hopes someday I would get to go back to the dojang and take my black belt test. It’s not looking like I’ll be doing that anytime soon, but I may pull out that DVD this winter just for variety’s sake.

Thankfully, it’s still relatively mild (if cold) outside, so I won’t have to give up outdoor running quite yet. But when I do, I have a plan so that I can continue to be active in the months to come.

sore-muscles-are-coming

What’s your go-to activity for cross training? How good are you at doing cross training in the first place?

There is very little time to do anything but run when training for a long race. Four or five runs per week, including a three or four hour long run on Saturdays means less time for … (insert just about any activity here). Now that I’m not running quite as much, I finally feel like I have a bit more time.

So after listening to my running friends’ advice, I’ve decided to do a few things:

Cross training. Yoga’s not my favorite thing, but it is a necessary one. I’ve spent some time on my Gaiam mat with Rebecca Pacheco’s videos on the Runner’s World magazine site. I like that she focuses on moves specifically for runners. I also rode my bike with el husbando last week and we plan to do so again more often. Mental note: Need to buy a more-comfortable bike seat. (Yup, old-lady seat, here I come!)

Someone thought yoga looked like fun.

Someone thought yoga looked like fun.

Core work. I keep telling myself that I would dust off the Jillian Michaels DVDs I already have, but I haven’t quite yet. I did find a 30-day plank challenge you can do in your PJs. If the personal trainer who developed the videos can do them in her pajamas, then I figured I could give the thing a try. A thunderstorm kept me inside on the treadmill for a couple of miles tonight, so I did day one on the yoga mat and didn’t die. We’ll see what my bum shoulder thinks of this tomorrow.

Plan. I’ve been poking around one of my favorite Michigan runner blogger’s sites, looking for race reviews. So far, I know I want to do the Gazelle Girl Half, Grand Island Half, Two Hearted Trail Half and the Detroit International Half. I haven’t decided whether I’ll be doing another long race, but there’s talk among my runner friends of heading back to do another Run Woodstock event. (Translation: If they jump off a cliff … I’ll be signing up for the 50K with them again.)

One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I need a goal (or 12) to keep putting in the work. It’s been fun to have more time to do things like watch the Rome series with our favorite teenager, or to support my friends on their long runs because they needed company.

But I do know that I need to start signing up for some events to keep myself running through the winter months, even if I do look like the Michelin Man.

To that end, I’m considering doing at least a half marathon each month next year, including several on trails. What do y’all think? Do you have any Michigan races you think I should consider? Have you signed up for any 2017 races already?

Had another productive week, logging the miles on my training plan and doing most of my cross training. I even used the foam roller and stretched. Yes, that big of a good doobie.

The trend continued this morning when my runner friends and I headed out for four, five, eight, 10 miles on a snowy, windy day with a 19-degree windchill.

Brr doesn’t even begin to cover it.

The sidewalks were mostly covered in ice, making the run even more fun.

There was a lot of ice on our run this morning.

There was a lot of ice on our run this morning.

We soldiered on through the Michigan State University campus and eventually reaching semi-plowed paved trails.

lachicaruns msu river

On the banks of the Red Cedar…

With our favorite statue.

With our favorite statue.

I should admit that we almost turned around at the two-mile mark but we were feeling pretty good and kept going. Good thing, too, because the schedule called for 10 and we did catch up to — and run with — some of our favorite Team Playmakers runners. The rest of the week is taper.

And this is why we went 10 miles today.

And this is why we went 10 miles today.

Now here I sit, still trying to thaw out but glad we got our long run in before next week’s Gazelle Girl Half Marathon. In the meantime, I’m trying to adopt this attitude:

different kinds of good weather

I did plan next week’s meals, so I have that going for me. If you’re new, here’s how I make my list.

  • Spanish rice (with tomatoes, green peppers and onions), garlic toast. Here’s a similar recipe.
  • Goulash, green salad. Here’s a similar recipe.
  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn
  • Pizza (yes, again)
  • Chicken fajitas (I thaw frozen chicken in a zip-top baggie with Zesty Italian dressing, grill it and cut it up for the fajitas. I also cut up onions with red and green peppers, wrap them up in foil and grill them. Serve with cheese, salsa, guacamole and tortillas.)

What’s on tap for next week? Have you tried any new recipes recently?

Today’s Tuesdays on the Run asks: You can only wear one running “uniform” for the rest of the year. What will it be?

Why is this even a question? Because this week’s link-up hosts runner bloggers MCM Mama Runs, My No Guilt Life and Marcia’s Healthy Slice, apparently want to torture us, that’s why.

A “uniform”? How’s a chica to choose in the Michigan tundra where the state motto is “Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes and it’ll change.”

Woe is me, right? OK, fine, I’ll play. For practical purposes, I’ll go with a base layer with a few added items as needed.

SHOES

My Brooks Ghost fo’ sure. They’re super comfortable, accommodate my orthopedic inserts and are work horses. Their trail running cousin, the Brooks Cascadias, rock, too.

My newest Brooks Ghost.

My newest Brooks Ghost.

SOCKS

SmartWools, without a doubt. They work year-round, have never given me a blister and last seemingly forever.

13erBrooks

My favorite SmartWool socks with my favorite shoes.

BOTTOMS

Skirt Sports Lotta Breeze capris. I really appreciate that the bottoms are built in, have a slight compression feel and have a skirt to cover your, ahem, assets. I do represent Skirt Sports as an ambassador captain, which means I get a generous discount, but I can highly recommend these bottoms without any bias.

The skirt doesn’t get in the way at all and the tights have these really nice pockets that fit my iPhone 6 with a Lifeproof cover, plus hold several packets of gels. (You can get a 20 percent discount at Skirt Sports with the code LCR20.)

As I’ve said before, another beautiful thing about the Skirt Sports bottoms is that they don’t shift, won’t give you any chafing issues and also won’t give you a wedgie.

Lotta Breeze Capri in Free Love.

Lotta Breeze Capri in Free Love.

TOPS

I’m not as married to my tops as I am to the bottoms. I am perfectly happy wearing a tech shirt from a race or a Champion T-shirt from Target.

I also have several zip-up hoodies that I like, with my favorite being a Reebok hoodie I picked up almost four years ago at Marshall’s. The thing doesn’t even have pockets, but it’s got a lot of wind resistance, reflective tape all along the zipper, it’s warm and the hood stays put without drawstrings. It also has not absorbed my overpowering stink, a feature I do not take for granted.

My most-favorite Reebok zip-up jacket.

My most-favorite Reebok zip-up jacket.

How about it: what’s your go-to running uniform? Is there an item you buy multiples of in case they aren’t produced anymore?

This week’s dinner menu

by lachicaruns on

How’s your weekend going? I got to run early Friday with el husbando for about a half hour, despite treacherous roads and sidewalks — the result of about a foot of snow that fell the day before and shut down state government offices and schools around the state.

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Always fun to run with el husbando.

This morning was noticeably better, with mostly clear streets as I headed out at 7 with my BFFL Karen for a quick 2.5 miles before I headed out to run another 4 with my running group, Team Playmakers at Hawk Island Park in Lansing.

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Pretty sky this morning.

The day was a bit windy but sunny and the paved trails were mostly clear. I would typically have run further but I’m trying to follow the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Training Plan (Novice) for my April half marathon and I’m trying not to over-do it.

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Hawk Island Park.

I did take a half-hour nap this afternoon. Glorious. And I’m heading out shortly to see the movie Race with my Black Girls RUN! Lansing friends. Tomorrow morning should find me with friends who are mostly training for trail runs later this year.

All of this means that I’m just now getting to planning next week’s meals. And here they are:

  • Nachos with guacamole, salsa, lettuce and tomato
  • BLTs with chips and fruit
  • Lasagna, green salad, garlic bread
  • Sausage pecorino pasta, green salad, rolls
  • Arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), green salad

What are you having for dinner this coming week? Do you have any yummy recipes to share?