It has been a cold and snowy February in Toronto. Days are short and grey, and warm endless June skies seem the furthest away.
I get the lazies every year around this time. I don’t do a whole lot of running. My usual 3 to 4 runs a week drops to one. I start my days sleeping in instead of watching the sunrise along the Martin Goodman Trail. The weekly mileage graph on my Strava goes from peaks to a flatline. You get the idea.
The mid-winter blahs are never a surprise to me. Neither is my annual running rut. For me, the missed runs come with a side of excuses and feeling bad about it. Whenever my friends text me to ask, “Did you run today?” I would sheepishly respond, “Nah, I’m going to skip today,” or “I’m feeling super tired from—insert normal activity here—so I’m going to push it to tomorrow.”
Every year I would feel guilty about feeling lazy. This year I decided to reframe my thinking. Why? Because the past 12 months have been filled with disappointment. Cancelled plans, not being able to see our friends and family, and doing everything we can to stay safe and stay sane. Pandemic life has robbed us of the simplest pleasures, but it hasn’t taken away my ability to roll out the door. So I didn’t want to beat myself up for taking a break and then add it to my list of disappointments. Now more than ever we need to take our wins where we can get them.
I decided to embrace the lazys. Like, I really leaned into it. I took off my smart watch. I removed everything running related from my front foyer. You can usually find no less than 3 pairs of running shoes, 2 pairs of sunglasses, and an assortment of hats, vests and neckwarmers. I cleared them all out and shoved them into the closet. In its place went my winter boots, my heavier winter boots and a pair of fuzzy slippers.
I put on those slippers and settled in to watch a lot of YouTube videos, mostly about running. I’d watch old races. I’d watch thousands of people funnelling into corrals, and wonder if we will ever see these days again. I’d watch the elites dial in their focus on the start line, and people cheering on the masses along the route.
I would watch the entire race, even when I knew the outcome. One of my favourites is the 2019 New York City Marathon. Geoffrey Kamworor crosses the finish line for his second win in the Big Apple and heads straight into the arms of his mentor, Eliud Kipchoge. I soaked up this motivation from the comfort of my couch.
I checked out some vloggers that I follow. Some of them are really fit and fast. Others are more like me, just trying to be a slightly better version of themselves. I especially like the ones that share their ups and downs and are most transparent about their process.
Everyday my friends would text me to ask, “Did you run today?” I would reply: “nope.” I moved my body in other ways. I walked to work. I did more strength and mobility. That’s a lie—I did strength and mobility for the first time in ages.
I took a break from running to eat all the snacks, and watch all the television. Now I am ready to lace up again. I am shaking the lazies by easing back into my old routine, a little bit at a time. Instead of a long run well into the double digits, I am happy with a 5k out and back along the MGT.
After a 2 month break from my running group, Stride Wise, I’ve recommitted to a training plan. I reached out to my coach Brittany Moran and she reminded me to be kind to myself.
A plan will also ensure that I don’t increase my mileage by too much too soon. I am considering a virtual race. Right now, registration is open for the Under Armour Spring Run-Off. Charlotte Brookes from Canada Running Series tells me it’s a great way to say goodbye to winter. “It celebrates the return of spring ,” says Brookes. I can head to the park any time during the month of April to run my version of the race and take in the scenery.And finally I am focussing on the reward. Sometimes that means an Epsom Salts bath while sipping on a cup of coffee.
Other times it’s simply being thankful that we got through another winter in this city and that I’m healthy and ready for the spring.