Last week Chicago was brutally cold. I wanted to get my run in and one evening I had to head out in the dark, layered, and determined to make something happen. I avoided even looking at the thermometer as I headed out the door because I knew it would be a terrible idea.
Lucky for me I had spent the past 10 years working as a figure skating coach at Trump Rink in Central Park. Spending your winter days outside on an icy rink will certainly teach you cold weather preparedness. I layered in some great Lululemon Dog Walker Pants, Under Armor Cold Gear, and the usual hat and gloves and a gaiter. I also used my go-to trick from those frigid days on the ice, hand warmers tucked on top of my socks in the shoes and in my mittens.
Off I went. “This isn’t so bad,” I thought to myself. At the half mile point I started to feel the sting in my cheeks and shortly after I was really starting to question if I could make it the 7 miles I had planned out. I don’t know how but at some point my tush actually went numb!
I am pretty Type A, and I had set out with a plan to run a certain route, but soon it became clear that things were going to have to change. I came to a stop light where I would have to wait before continuing on my way and I knew stopping would be very, very bad.
Thus began the Stop Light Game. Realizing I should just keep going, I turned and charted a new route (oh man, I hate when plans change) and then there was another light up ahead, so I took the next turn and kept running. Things were starting to get interesting and it started to feel like a game to me.
I encourage you to try this out if you are feeling a bit bored with your running or just need a change of pace. Head out for your run and let the stop lights determine where you go. If the light is red, turn in a direction that allows you to keep on running. If it is green, proceed through. You will twist and turn on a different route each time and it is pretty fun anticipating where you will go next. Just turn around and do the same thing back home when you reach your half way point.
Once you let go and have fun with it you will have a blast, and hopefully forget that you are on your dreaded run.
I really should have taken a picture because when I got home and looked at the temperature it read 4 degrees with a real feel of -17. I am so glad I didn’t see that before I left.
I should note that this does not work if you live in rural areas. I am up in Northern Michigan right now and the town I grew up in only has 2 stop lights and they are pretty far apart. It would take me 3 miles to even get close to the first one. If I played this game here I would have to run a marathon, perhaps even an ultra.
One of my other favorite games to get me through a treadmill run is to imagine that each mile is 3 songs long on my I-pod. As I run I just remind myself I only have so many more songs to enjoy before I am done. I heard Hoda Kotb say on The Today Show once that she uses this technique. Hey if it works for her, its worth giving a shot.
Do you have any games you play to help get you through a run or just get you out the door when you don’t want to run?