When Handed Lemons…

…do your best to make lemonade.

Basically that needs to be the mantra of many runners this winter.  Throughout North America many places are experiencing some challenging weather thanks to Old Man Winter.  Certainly here in Ottawa we have been having some pretty cold days and somehow, each time the thermometer creeps up a little we get hit with crazy winds.  As hard as it may be though, I suggest you still get out there and run.  Sure you might be a little envious of people in warmer climates.  But then ask yourself, do they get to run in gale force winds, in -20 or -30C temperatures, wearing several pounds of clothing, while running on snow swept streets where the snow causes your feet to slip with every step?  O.K. that is not a really pretty picture I have painted, but it is the reality this year so why not go with it?  Yesterday I ran in those conditions and threw in some small hill work to boot,  I am not ashamed to say I worked my butt off to maintain a 6:30 min/km pace.  In my head, I decided it was simply speed work in disguise and that one fine day in spring, when the layers came off and the roads were clear I would find myself to be a faster runner.

It ends up I didn’t have to wait until spring to feel a difference in my pace.  Today I headed out on clear roads with slightly less wind – and hey, it even warmed up a little – and found myself running my fastest 5k in months.  Still not as fast as I would like, but faster than even a couple of weeks ago.  If you give it a chance, winter running offers some great training opportunities, even when you feel like it is slowing you down.

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