Sunday, July 22, 2012

Year-Round Running

ORN:  (Sat)  20.4 miles, trail, R/W 3/1, 4:08:31

It's hot.  It's dry.  This summer's weather in north-central Indiana has been brutal; local records indicate it's the driest since 1956.  We've had more days over 90F and over 100F since that same summer.

The biggest toll is on our abundant agriculture here...the corn crop is collapsing right before our eyes as we've passed the key pollination period.  The soybean crop will be seriously gone if we don't get major rain in the next two weeks.  I feel for all the farmers in our area.

A minor outcome of this brutal weather, far less serious in the grand scheme of things, is this question I've heard a lot recently.

How can you run in weather like this?

It's an interesting question, usually asked sincerely.  For all of us who don't live in a perfect weather area, it's also a very valid question.  

As a year-round runner in a lousy-weather region, I offer a few thoughts, for free. 

First things first.  You have to make the big decisions first.  If I want to get out of debt, I must use some of the FIRST dollars of my paycheck to pay down that credit card.  If I wait to use the last dollars to pay it down, those dollars often aren't there.  And I'm still in debt.  

If I want to be healthy, I must first decide to do what I need to do.  Apart from that decision, nothing else will really work.  Running is a great way to stay healthy.  So, first, make the decision.  

Feelings follow behavior, not the other way around. Once I decide to run, year round, I find that I feel better about running year round.  

Eliminate barriers.   The decision is nice but it sure doesn't change the reality Indiana's awful summer heat and humidity, nor does it make February here a sunny, mild, four-week winter paradise.  

So I have to figure out what to wear to be comfortable.  I have previously offered a humble starting point for this. You can work out your own details.  But the weather MUST cease to be a barrier.  It's just part of the deal, much like hills are part of running in Atlanta or rain is part of running in Seattle.  The wind blows in the trees, makes noise but carries no meaning.  

Celebrate the muck.  Once you've run through a couple of full years, celebrate.  Figure out what makes you happy.  A new jacket.  A new sleeveless shirt. An entry to a cool race in another city.  Or just enjoying the odd looks of drivers looking at you as you run in inclimate weather.  

Most of all, get out there. 

And persevere.


Sunday, July 01, 2012

Trail Running, through the Seasons

ORN:  Saturday:  21.4 miles, 4:12:07, 10:42/mile, R/W 4/1

It was about a year ago I began doing most of my long runs on our only local off-road trail, the Wabash Heritage Trail.  It's a terrific local resource, extending a full 13 miles from the Tippecanoe Battlefield past downtown and on out to Fort Ouiatenon.  It is home to the eponymous Heritage Trail Marathon, which I ran last October.

I've logged many, many miles on this trail in the past year, Saturday being no different.   One of the really enjoyable parts of trail running is seeing how the seasons change the trail, its vegetation, its runability, the total ethos of the long run.

Here's a visual comparison of the same section (about two miles from the Fort) during all four seasons.  I'll bet you see the same on your trails.

Autumn--October 15, 2011
From Running-General
Winter--January 7, 2012
From Running-General
Spring--May 12, 2012
From Running-General
Summer, June 30, 2012
From Running-General

Enjoy wherever it is you run.  It's a gift to be out.