Weekly Recap – 1.5.20 – Running In Bad Weather

Running In Bad Weather - Racing in Bad Weather - Half-Marathon raining

This week was an interesting one.  We had a bit of travel, a bit of weather, a whole lot of running, and some bad weather.  We had some rain, we had some heat, we had some cold, and we had a lot of wind.  Texas weather is insanely unpredictable this time of year, and that can mean accepting the reality of running in bad weather every now and again.

The week started off pretty standard, but we decided we needed to take a quick trip to North Texas to take care of some things with our rental property.  This meant a nice stop at my dad’s Thursday and Friday.  I was able to get in a great workout in my dad’s garage gym that I’m sharing below. 

This time of year also involves a lot of travel for my husband and I, as he works in the tax industry.  This can make training fairly challenging, so I’d love to hear how you all navigate seasons where family and work life are a little more demanding, because I know it’s going to be an interesting quarter for the three of us.  Especially with me training for a full marathon at the end of March.

One benefit of all the traveling that we do across this enormous state is being able to see friends we don’t get to spend a ton of time with.  This weekend, we were able to stop in at Guess Family Barbeque for lunch to see my high school buddy Charles.  If you happen to travel to or through Waco, make sure to check out this barbeque place, because everything we had was delicious.

Running In Bad Weather
Eating all the tenders

The swing in temperatures caused me to reflect on just how much weather can impact training.  I’ve had a few clients who have asked me in the past if it’s “ok” if they run on a treadmill to avoid tricky weather.  I have a few thoughts on this that I will share in a moment, but first I want to make sure to add the caveat that the only bad run is a missed run.  So if the only way you’re going to get it in is to hit the treadmill, then don’t stress. 

Also, I think it’s especially important when you’re close to a big race to be cautious about getting sick.  For me, I know I tend to be more illness-prone when I’ve had a run or two in cold rain.  I know there’s a lot of science that says cold rain doesn’t cause illness, and I believe it.  But I do think it might make me more susceptible.  So when I’m close to a big race, I will avoid running in cold rain, and I think it’s the best decision for me.  Outside of those two caveats, here’s my thoughts and recommendations when it comes to running in bad weather.

Running In Bad Weather

Living in Texas, I can get pretty spoiled when it comes to running in the winter.  We never get snow (well, we have twice in my entire 32 years), it rarely dips below freezing, and it’s still fairly sunny most of the season.  It can get a little chilly, gloomy, and windy, but overall it’s pretty fair compared to other parts of the country.  But that’s not to say that the weather in Texas is always great; we aren’t California after all.

This week, I woke up for my tempo run on Thursday, and checked my weather app to see that it was a humid, slightly drizzly 67 degrees with 18 mph winds.  Not exactly the weather conditions I would be hoping for the morning of a tough run.  Especially when we’ve had temperatures in the high 40’s to low 50’s most mornings (which I think is the exact PERFECT running temperature).

As I set out, I was quickly reminded just how much a little extra humidity and a small bump in the temperature can impact perceived effort levels.  When I turned a corner and was smacked in the face by those lovely winds, I started to feel like I was running up a 30 degree incline.  Trying to hold my goal race pace was going to be a challenge.

Running in Bad Weather - Running in the heat
Looks like a lovely day, but it was WARM and HUMID (check the hair)

Throughout the run I had a very long, drawn out conversation with myself.  I was struggling, and I wanted to throw in the towel on my goal pace.  I had a great excuse.  It was hotter than I’m used to, it was as humid as a swamp, and wind gusts were actively trying to blow me off the road into on-coming traffic.

While I was considering my options, I remember that my race is scheduled for the tail end of March.  In Texas.  In notoriously unpredictable weather.  When I ran this race two years ago, there was a tornado in the area and there were small snow flurries.  Other years, it’s been in the low 70’s at the start.  There’s no way to know where on the spectrum of “Texas spring” this year will fall.

Would I be ok throwing in the towel on race day if the weather is unideal? No, I wouldn’t.  Would I be ok giving my best effort but missing my goal because of weather I can’t control, yes.  So, I did exactly what I would expect of myself on race day.  I put as much effort as I could into maintaining my pace, and I tried to distract myself.

In the end, it worked.  I finished my 7 miles at race pace, and I didn’t die (there were some close calls).  It was hard, and I was proud of myself.  It made me think about the importance and value of running in unideal weather.  Running in snow, or rain, or heat makes us stronger athletes, and the that’s the whole point of training, right?

Plus, if we avoid running in bad weather, what happens when we wake up on race day and see cold, driving rain a la Boston Marathon 2018?  Des Linden doesn’t let a little bad weather keep her from running strong, and I’m going to try my hardest to do the same.

I’ve run and raced my share in crappy weather, and if you’d be interested in some tips for running in bad weather, let me know!

This Week’s Workouts

Running In Bad Weather

Total Miles: 46
Hansons Marathon Method, Week 6
How the Runs Felt
My runs this week were somewhat inconsistent.  My track workout on Monday felt pretty great.  It was tough to hold my pace the last 1200m, but that’s definitely expected.  And kind of the point of track work.

Thursday’s run was really hard for me.  I shared earlier that weather wasn’t great, and I was running a mile further than my previous tempo.  There was a lot of bargaining and reasoning with myself that happened throughout the run, and honestly in looking back I think this run was really important for me.  It reinforced the fact that I’m not going to be ok letting myself off the hook, even if the run doesn’t feel good.

Related Post: Halfway Through Hansons

That’s not to say that if my body isn’t feeling good I won’t listen.  But if I stop or ease up just because I’m mentally wanting for things to feel easier, I’m not going to be ok with it.  I need to just take it off the table for myself as an option and accept that I’m just too stubborn to be ok with it.  I think it might save me a lot of mental gymnastics in the future if I just accept that I need to push until I physically can’t if I want to feel good about my training.

Friday the temperatures swung back down to mid-30’s, and while it was pretty windy at my dad’s house, there’s just something I love so much about running in the hill country.  I listened to a great podcast, and enjoyed every moment of the wind lashing during my long run.  I’m so thankful I have access to run in such a great place every now and again, because it really fills up my sails.

Running In Bad Weather - Running in Winter - Running in the cold
Breaking out all the cold gear the same week

How the WODs felt
This week was a lot of kettlebell and dumbbell work.  They’re not my favorite to be honest, and for most of the week I felt like my grip was just dying.  I did a core workout with my husband on Sunday, and my abs felt sore for pretty much the rest of the week.  So all of the sit-ups and toes-to-bar were rough for me.  Hopefully my core will be insanely strong for this next marathon, because I think that’s been an area of weakness for me in the past.

It was somewhat strange for me to have another week where I didn’t do much barbell work, but that’s the nature of CrossFit.  It’s varied.  If you’re at all considering or interested in CrossFit as a runner, please check out my post Is CrossFit For Runners.

Running in bad weather - strength training - running in bad weather makes you stronger
All the kettlebells this week

I’m sharing a graphic of the garage gym workout I did at my dad’s home for easy pinning or screen shotting.  All of my workouts that I share can also be found on my Workouts page in PDF for if you’d like to download them there.

Running in bad weather workout

What I’ve Been Listening To
I started Why So Cold this week, and it seems like it has a lot of potential, but it is starting out a big slow.  I’m going to give it a few weeks to see if it picks up.  My running buddy, Maddie, recommended a podcast by Vault called Blood Ties.  It’s a fictional, acted series that is seriously addicting.  Josh Gad voices a character in the series whose a bit of jerk, and it was really funny for me to hear Olaf being such a turd.  Blood Ties is pretty different from what I normally listen to on my runs, but it made my long run go by in a BLINK.

Related Post: 15 Best Podcasts for Running & Working Out

Related Post: 3 Best Running Gear Purchases in 2019

What Went Well
This week was a huge deposit in my mental toughness bank.  I reinforced the fact that I am so motivated to put everything I can into trying to get that BQ time, and I’m just not going to be ok with anything less than everything I have.  Despite a busy week, I was also able to get in all of my strength training, thanks to my dad’s amazing garage gym.  I like sharing these workouts with ya’ll, since I know a lot of you also travel regularly and it’s nice to have a few workouts ready to go when you need something quick with minimal equipment.

What Went Shitty
I did not get in enough mobility work  I could feel how tight my whole body was at the beginning of my long run, and by Saturday evening, everything was stiff.  I got plenty of sleep, and my nutrition was fairly typical, but I just did not prioritize stretching as much as I usually do, and I paid for it.

Plans to Improve Next Week  
Next week will involve some more traveling for work, but I do plan on committing to at least 20 minutes of stretching on the days that I run and lift.  If I just tell myself to do it while I’m relaxing in the evening, and watching tv, I think I can keep my promise.

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