Monday, January 16, 2012

Running in the winter

Happy MLK Day, friends! I was fortunate to have off work today, so I was able to have a really nice morning with my boyfriend. We have opposite work schedules for the most part, so it was a treat to just relax and share a nice breakfast together. Then, we ran! I like running with him, because he pushes me to work harder and not give up when I want to call it a day. The weather here in Buffalo has been pretty cold and we got our first big snowfall this past Friday, so running outside has become more of a challenge. Despite the cold and slush, it's still 10 times better than running on a treadmill!

Snowy side street of Buffalo

My second goal for 2012 is to run more races and exercise at least 3 times a week. I'm happy to report that I'm doing pretty good so far. I just looked at my calendar and while I only ran twice the first week of January, I exercised five times last week. Three were running, one was a long walk in my neighborhood, and the other was a yoga class at my gym! I had been telling myself that I would try a yoga class forever, and I finally made it. So far, so good. I've also put a lot more thought into the Buffalo Half-Marathon in May and decided that I'm not physically or mentally prepared for that yet. I would have to start training hard next month if I wanted to do it, and I'm just not there right now and I'm okay with that. I think it's best to set my sights on small goals for right now and just continue to enjoy running. I don't want to burn out or injure myself. Besides, the Shamrock Run (an 8K race through Buffalo's Old First Ward) is coming up on March 3rd!

Here are some things that have been helping me get out and exercise during the colder months:
Packing my gym bag the night before - If my bag is packed and ready to go, I have no excuse to not pick it up and bring it to work with me in the morning. Once I'm at work and have everything I need, it's really hard for me to justify not going to the gym. This has been a big help to me, because it's already getting dark by the time I get home from work and I have to go to the gym if I want to be able to run safely. The thought of running on a treadmill isn't always the most attractive idea, so this routine helps me see it as just another thing that I do each day and not something that I have the option of ditching. 

I found this bag in my apartment when I moved in - now it's my gym bag!

Making myself get dressed and do something active - If I'm tired or feeling lazy and really can't get myself to run, I make a deal with myself that I'll get dressed and do something else - even if it's just going for a walk. Going for a walk is still better than not doing anything at all, and I always feel better and more energized after even a small amount of exercise. The cool part is that once I'm dressed, I usually feel motivated to run! Getting off the couch and dressed is often half the battle.

Getting ready to walk....or run?!?
Walking instead of driving - It's become harder with the current weather in Buffalo, but I've been trying to walk places whenever possible. Whether it's to my dentist appointment or the coffee shop to read a book, I make myself walk if it's warm enough and not too far away. Not only is it healthier and better for the environment, but I get to see and enjoy more of my neighborhood. I get to smile at neighbors and notice little things that I usually drive right by. I also have been trying to go for walks more often on my lunch break and I take the stairs to my office on the 4th floor everyday. These actions are pretty small on their own, but together they have helped me change the way I look at physical activity.

Taking advantage of days when I can be outside - I really miss not being able to come home from work and run outside in the daylight. I know that Spring will be here soon enough, but in the meantime I'm trying to make the most of nice days. If I happen to get out of work early, I'll come home right away and make sure that I go running. On the weekend, I look at the upcoming weather and pick what days I think I can get outside. If anything, it makes me appreciate the weekends a lot more and I find myself looking forward to running outside when I'm on the treadmill during the week (and who ever thought I would being looking forward to running?!)

Bundled up to run in the snow
I'm still a relatively new runner, but I really love what it has done for me so far, both physically and mentally. It has shown me that I am stronger than I realized and that I can accomplish anything if I really stick with it. When I first started running, I could barely finish a block without feeling like I was going to cough up a lung (not even kidding!) I still have a long way to go, but I'm really proud of myself. I look forward to learning more as I go along and we'll see what this year has in store for me.

Have a great week! Next week I'll be talking about how I'm cleaning up my spending and starting to save more money.

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