Winter Running Hiatus: or how I learned to stop worrying and love not running

Warm weather is better than cold weather. That’s just a fact. Look it up.

If cold temperatures were what human beings desired, Alaska would be the hot destination (metaphorically speaking) for winter getaways and old people would all flock to Canada upon retirement. The truth is, people hate the cold so much Christian religions should really consider depicting Hell as a snowy, Hoth-like wasteland (think Buffalo) instead of the sexy, fire and brimstone hereafter that’s really only a tad warmer than Dubai. People would be more likely to follow the righteous path if they thought their damnation included an eternity spent in Western New York.

It is with the annual shifting of earth’s axis in mind that I publicly announce that I’ve entered the winter hiatus period of my running calendar. I’m not going to stop running, of course, but I’ll be cutting my miles significantly; a couple of runs a week totaling somewhere in the 4 to 7-mile range. (Let’s be honest, mostly the 4-mile range.)

If this is how “hardcore” runners spend their winters, I want no part of it.

Hardcore runners who are reading this are probably poo-pooing my little hiatus and are no doubt passing judgment and revoking my “real runner” status. They’re probably thinking, If he were truly dedicated to the majestically noble sport of non-professional long distance running, he’d be layering himself in Gore-Tex and getting in at least 15-20 miles a week. ‘Real runners’ are more than willing to endure myriad forms of icy precipitation, dark, dangerous roadways, and frozen snot.

I suppose.

But we all need some down time. Or at least I do. And after running races all summer, embarking on a month-long run streak then participating in a fall half marathon, I’m ready to dial it back a notch. Mix in the fact that the holidays are just around the corner and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Why would I want to maintain a tough training routine when there’s so much unhealthy food and holiday themed cocktails headed my way?

Who has time for running when food and booze are so readily available?

Kidding aside (I’m not actually kidding, I’m going to eat a lot of unhealthy food and drink a lot of cocktails), I do have a plan to keep myself from blowing up like a balloon during this winter hiatus period. As mentioned above I’m going to continue to run a couple of times a week. I’m also going to burn calories by continuing with my indoor soccer league and reintroducing my old, forty-year-old back to the game of basketball. If I’m really feeling ambitious, I may even try to rediscover my upper body muscles. I have a couple of lonely 10 lb. dumbbells that are yearning to be lifted.

Will I put on a few pounds during this well-deserved running hiatus? Yup. And I’m okay with that. Because I refuse to be body-shamed. And also because I did a crap ton of running in 2015 and I deserve some rest. (Is there anything more satisfying than earned laziness?) Plus, I can use the extra weight as motivation to hit it hard in early March when I start training for my spring half marathon. By then I’ll probably need a good kick in the ass.

So bring on the darkness and the cold temperatures.  I’ve got nothing to fear… because  most of my winter months will be spent indoors.

3 thoughts on “Winter Running Hiatus: or how I learned to stop worrying and love not running

  1. I started chuckling at the Buffalo reference, then realized you weren’t kidding about WNY. For the record, much, much colder and snowy places exist in the continental US than Buffalo and we hit 60+ degrees this week! 😉

    I’m trying to keep a medium mileage (for me) on the roads this winter. One perk of running through snow is it’s really easy to get difficult work in! My paces easily are 1:30-2:00 slower per mile on snow and ice when people don’t shovel… works wonders when speed comes around in the spring!


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