the weather is not an excuse

the weather is not an excuse

Last winter I wrote running in the cold is hard. It's mostly me complaining about how the cold weather makes it harder to find motivation.

Now that it's summer, is the heat a similar deterrent?

Extreme weather - hot, cold, rain, wind - can add an extra level of physical and mental challenge to a workout. It can also be dangerous.

Here are some tips and tricks I use to deal with extreme weather:

For Motivation
  • Don't be a Victim. This is the day when most of your 'competitors' will skip their workout. Don't be a victim to dis-motivation, and you'll be a step ahead of the pack.
  • No PR's Today. You know right off the bat, at the first step of your workout, that you won't be setting a Personal Record today. OK, now that the pressure's off, just go out and get your workout done.
  • Faster equals Shorter. Pick up the intensity during your workout, since the faster you go the sooner you get to be done!
  • Take Pride in the Difficult. Knowing that you're doing something difficult is a good feeling; it's the making of a bad ass - savor it, and recall it later when you need another kick in the pants. To this day, my turning point in 2010, when I was changing from couch potato to triathlete, came when I knocked out a 3-mile run on a freezing cold and rainy afternoon. I knew right then that I would be able to finish my race - if that weather couldn't stop me, nothing could!
For Safety
  • Acclimate. Look at that forecast for today (above) - if you decide to start your running program at 3pm this afternoon, you might as well call 911 and tell them to meet you a mile from your home! But if you've been running the same distance when it was 75 degrees, then 85, 95, and 105, you'll probably be ok today as well.
  • Dress Appropriately. Layers, sun block, heat gear or cold gear - not only can the right clothing help your body regulate its temperature, but should the unthinkable happen and you end up stranded out in the elements, you'll need all the extra protection you can get.
  • Alter your Route (especially for runners & bikers.) You'll see me running in the desert washes around NW Phoenix during the spring and fall. But I stick to the local neighborhood sidewalks when the weather's either very hot or very cold. Even better is to let somebody else know the route you'll be running. (to go a step further, I bet you could even find a treadmill inside somewhere.)
  • Alter your Time of Day. If you normally run right after work, but it's going to be over 110, you might be better off running in the morning. Conversely, if you're a morning runner but it's 30 outside before wind chill, you might want to try again in the afternoon.
  • Bring your Cell Phone. Duh, right?
  • Mix it up. If it's just too hot or cold for running, try an indoor cross-fit routine instead. There are plenty of Fit-20 workouts to give you ideas.

Bottom Line - the weather can make a difference in your workouts, both in your physical performance and in your mental energy required to get motivated. But don't let the weather be an excuse. The champion never says it was too inclement to play..

-Chris Butterworth