As the mercury dips close to zero, and a blanket of grey settles over the Midwest, I begin to loose my steam for cycling. The effort of layering up begins to resemble more of an aerobic activity vs. the cycling itself. It is during this time I begin to run.
Oh sure, I know I just wrote about my new found "like" for winter cycling, and I'll still get out there, but sometimes I don't have the energy nor the time to prep for winter bike outings. Besides, as a trainer, I preach the importance of cross training. So in my quest to cross train, I tend to run from mid November to March.
Gone are the days of half marathons and two hour trail runs since my body isn't keen on endurance running anymore. Instead I opt for several three to six mile runs each week, a tidy little package of endorphins lasting no more than an hour. A perfect amount of time to visit surrounding neighborhoods, force my lungs into a pleasant burn and stay in relatively okay shape during the winter.
People are often bewildered by why I only run in the winter and not the warmer months. My answer is always a simple one; first, I don't have time or energy to run in the summer since I'm always on the bike, second, I choose to run in the winter because it's the only way I can stay warm. I can honestly say there are few things which can top sweating profusely in -10 degrees--something I can easily achieve by running. For winter, saunas would be the only other way to go in my eyes. Sadly, saunas do not burn off beer and cheese.
So here I sit, three weeks into my "running season", still alive albeit with a slightly stiff lower body, happy as a clam. I now dream of running up hills vs. biking up them. My gear drawer now contains a reflective running vest and headlamp instead of just bike stuff. My running shoes are closer to the door than my cycling shoes and I think my body has started to straighten up from being bent over the handlebars for the past eight months. For every season there is a change, and for now, the soles of my shoes will be the main rubber I put to the ground.