Even though the sun is shining through the window as I write this, it's been a weekend of workouts in less-than-ideal conditions (at least to my standards). Even though the miles don't run and ride themselves, I must admit January in Texas-although I love Houston Marathon weekend and everything that goes with it-is not one of my favorite months!
The good news is that the more one subjects him or herself to (safely) uncomfortable conditions, the tougher one becomes-mentally and physically. I feel mentally I am doing fairly well as I have had no trouble with motivation to get out the door and get it done, but physically; that's another story. Even though I have a fair amount of Brooks winter gear, I still haven't found that all-weather tolerance physiologically. Fortunately, while I'm in motion it's all good, when I stop...not as much.
For instance, yesterday's forecast called for light rain and low 40's for the 6:30 group run. I have recently pushed up my long run to Wednesday or Thursday as I do a long bike ride on Sunday (more playing around with physiology) so I was just going to do an easy 7-8 miles. After seeing my athletes off at Market Street, it was my turn to head out. Cue rain picking up. I had to talk myself through the first mile until I warmed up and settled into a surprising rhythm running around Lake Woodlands. The HR was steadily in the low 140s and I was putting in paces in the low 8:00's. Just working on the house-building it up rain or shine!
Upon returning from the run, all it took was somebody asking me a simple question before I realized how numb my face was and I had purple hands. Seriously? Warm clothes and coffee, stat! I was reminded that my cold weather tolerance is not the best. C'est la vie.
This morning was long ride day. 2-2.5 hours on the schedule. Me being the running freak that I am, I was going to do a few miles off the bike. Let's just say the ride was decent despite me not riding outdoors much (indoor training has its own mental challenges) but upon me getting the Pure Grits on for a grass run, I could have had ice blocks attached to my lower legs for all I knew-so much for doubling up on socks!
A positive of cold weather training is the lower HR response. I may get cold, but the cellular-level response I'm going for is easy to come by. So this weekend of easy paced training was not necessarily easy, but the miles don't complete themselves. Can't always get everything you want.
Be tough, be smart, dress warm, stay the course.