Winters in New England can be a challenge for us runners. How do we keep our mileage up over the winter months? Freezing cold temps, icy roads and short days make it difficult for sure, BUT I am here to remind you that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Besides, running a winter race can be glorious!
Rely on the treadmill when you must for training purposes, but don’t write off running outside during the cold winter months. Braving the cold will make you feel proud! You may be surprised by how many opportunities there are to run winter races and even more so, by how many races will “let the show go on” despite less than optimal weather conditions.
Over the past few weeks, I ran in two different races in Connecticut which allowed me to log two long runs in preparation for the Disney Princess Half Marathon next month (our February Race of the Month).
These winter races brought two totally different experiences!
On the morning of the Peoples Forest 8.5 miler, I woke up to below freezing temps and rain. This was a small race hosted by our local Hartford Track Club. The roads were extremely icy and I’d be lying if I said that the drive to Barkhamsted wasn’t scary. Was it smart to drive 30 plus minutes in the icy conditions and proceed to get out of my car to run, skate, and slide to the finish line? This was probably not the safest winter race to run, but the thirty something other runners and I who showed up took it extra slow and paid careful attention to each and every step. I was dressed appropriately in warm layers with my rain shell and although my hair actually froze during the run, I enjoyed myself and was quite proud to have finished my first icy road race. Winter glory!
This past Saturday, I woke up to snow covered roads in the middle of a storm and headed out to my indoor half marathon, the Arena Attack Indoor Road Race Series. The half marathon race consisted of sixty-five laps around the concourse of the Hartford XL Center. Other distances included a 5K, Marathon and Marathon Relay. This was a tough race for me personally. It was a fast group of runners, and I went much too quick out of the gates but the event was well organized by the Southern New England Athletic Association. There was a fantastic DJ playing good tunes to keep us motivated, hydration station available every lap, and easily accessible indoor plumbing (A real potty! Can you say awesome?!) Believe it or not, there was even a fair amount of crowd support. The air quality was difficult with it being extremely dry but if you are looking for a winter marathon or half marathon and you live in the north, consider an indoor race. It was definitely different and beats running 13.1 miles on the treadmill. Also, there is some glory to be had for toughing it out lap after lap.
What’s the bottom line?
There is NO EXCUSE to wait until spring to race. Get out there and claim your glory before the temperatures rise!
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