Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Running (or not) in Polar Weather

Those of you reading in the United States are getting a taste of what it's supposed to be like in Novosibirsk for most of the winter. The fall and winter here have been pretty darn mild, but it seems to be settling in to a decent high of about 6 degrees fahrenheit here. The coldest I've seen so far is -26 Celsius (-14 fahrenheit). It may have been -30 Celsius one night (-22 fahrenheit). I can only remember a few times so far where it hurt to go outside. The good news is, as long as you dress appropriately, nothing feels cold.

Novosibirsk actually showed up in US news recently because it was colder in Chicago, USA, then here in southern Siberia (Thanks for the info, Dad). It was also colder in Chicago than at the south pole (it is summer down there guys!)

This kind of weather is pretty rare in the US, and as a runner, you only have to throw on an extra couple of pounds of clothing every once in a while. Then you'll get a week where it's 40 degrees F and everything is hunky-dory.

But in Novosibirsk there is no escape. And while I'm theoretically totally in to running in the cold, when your friends are inviting you to parties (and Russians party all night) and your cousin visits from America and your getting over a work-work-work hangover, AND it's cold, it's all to easy to just say to hell with it. Also the package of winter running gear my brother sent almost 6 weeks ago hasn't arrived yet, which makes it easy to keep waiting.

Long story short, I took a break from my training. I was in OK shape, I was running 4-6 days a week, I was working out, I ran a time trial... and then I took 3 weeks off.

So today is the beginning... again. Coaches always say you have to eliminate distractions. Well I've been living in a sea of distractions. But basically my plan is to start cutting those out (some), start (actually) seriously training, not do that second job I found myself stuck in, and brave the cold on a daily basis. I could pay for a gym membership and a treadmill, but screw that, that's money! I can brave the cold for free. Besides, that's part of what I'm here for.

Today I did a solid 45 minutes at -16 Celcius (3 F) and my toes kind of froze, but I think this is basically going to be the new normal for a while. As an aside, no wonder American distance running is at a higher level than Russian distance running. How can someone be expected to actually get high training volume when there's nowhere to run because everything is covered in snow, and every day it's that kind of cold where everyone in America just doesn't go outside.

But it's time to toughen up and focus. My cousin flew back to America, my best party-friend left for the Czech Republic. It's time to regain my form.

1 comment:

  1. I wont bother with a new post to mention this, but it turns out even my written words are just words sometimes. As soon as I wrote this I got sick, and then once I recovered I went on a ski trip and, woop, another 10 days have gone by with only 1 run. Oh well.