Question: How is it nearly Spring already and I’m still not running, despite promising myself (and my partner) that I would get back into it this year? It’s not like I can keep blaming the weather, well I guess I could as it’s still terrible but I need some motivation badly. Hit me with it Grit Doctor! Sharon
Answer: We all use the weather as an excuse to avoid doing things we don’t want to do outdoors – particularly exercise – so you are not alone. On really bad days, we might use the weather as an excuse not to exercise indoors too, like getting to the gym in the driving rain hasn’t ever proved too great a hurdle for some?
However, if great weather was a pre-requisite for me to go running, I’d be reduced to going for only three months of the year. Even then – in peak Summer – it often rains! Whatever climate we live in, we can’t let the weather run (and ruin) our lives.
The thing about being a fair-weather runner is that it makes you spoilt. I get that you can’t face running now Sharon, because it’s still pretty cold. But if you’d run through December, January and February, you’d feel delirious with joy about not having to wear gloves and a beanie hat these days and only needing one pair of socks. If you’d run this morning, you’d have felt real warmth on your face as if for the very first time in 2018, and noticed the tiniest buds appearing in the trees and felt hugely encouraged by the appearance of the odd daffodil.
Running feels a lot easier for me now than it did in 40-degree Australian heat or in the sub zero temperatures of December. I am full of gratitude for the longer days, that there isn’t snow, or the likelihood of anymore for many many months. And if you start running now, you’ll be running into spring and then summer, the easiest running seasons, peeling off the layers with each passing month.
You have to run through all the seasons to learn that each has its benefits and drawbacks; to see them as a yardstick with which to measure your progress as a runner from one year to the next – I never managed a sub hour 10k in the snow last year – and to take pride in your ability and commitment to move with and through all types of weather. It’s a metaphor for our mood and circumstances: we have to move with them, go with the flow or we stagnate and feel defeated. Whatever else is going on in my life, I run with it. I don’t think: I’m really stressed with work so I’ll miss my run; or, I won’t run because I’m too tired; I don’t have the energy; I’m too sad; afraid; anxious or angry. I must run through all of my feelings and in spite of difficult circumstances and whatever the weather. Because I make being fit and healthy a top priority and that must remain a constant.
With that in mind and because the end of February is in sight, I’ve decided to go dry for Lent. The penance element appeals to my punitive side (that’s the Grit Doctor obvs) and by announcing it here, I’ve made myself accountable, which is a great way to help me stick to my guns. I’m going to run every day too. The combination of no alcohol and daily runs is bound to make me super fit, ultra lean and mega productive at work. Just saying it here has given me an injection of much-needed February motivation.
I recommend you do the same Sharon, make a commitment to running now, perhaps not every day, but three times a week and announce it to someone whose respect you would not want to lose. Then lace up and go. You won’t look back.
The Grit Doctor says – The weather excuse is ‘I can’t be arsed’ in disguise. Be arsed. RUN.
Sign up for one of The Irish Times’ Get Running programmes (it is free!) and Get Healthy for 2018.
First, pick the programme that suits you.
– Beginner Course: This programme is an eight-week course that will take you from inactivity to being able to run 30 minutes non-stop.
– Stay On Track: The second programme is an eight-week course for those of you who can squeeze in a 30- to 40-minute run three times a week.
– 10km Course: This is an eight-week course designed for those who can comfortably run for 30 minutes and want to move up to the 10km mark.
Best of luck!