Seven Novice Cold Weather Running Blunders

Venture to my “about” page and you’ll find out I run, but I’m not a runner. I don’t know when I will start referring to myself as a runner, but I just know I’m not quite there yet. Perhaps I’ll consider myself a runner once I’ve completed two half marathons. I really need to call my ultra marathoner aunt and find out from her when I can begin referring to myself as a runner. I would hate to step on any toes!

Anyway, I’ve completed a handful of 5k races and a few other random races, but nothing more than an 8k. I like to think I could offer decent advice to someone seeking tips for running their first 5k; however, I wouldn’t recommend coming to me for advice. I know what works for me when it comes to preparing for 5ks, but I know my approach may not be the best approach for everyone.

While I may feel somewhat knowledgeable about running 5ks, I learned this morning that I have so much to learn about running and feel many more learning opportunities coming my way as I continue to train for my first half marathon.

This morning I headed out for a seven mile run and I made seven serious running blunders. Seven. I actually thought about titling this post “Novice Runner Stupidity.” However, I thought that title was far too harsh and negative for the mostly positive world of running. But, my actions were just that- stupid. At least I learned some valuable lessons today!

The Big Seven:

  1. Leaving the house without the appropriate running gear.It was 34 degrees this morning in Charlotte when I headed out for my morning run at 8:30 a.m. I figured a light Nike shirt would be a good choice paired with my lululemon wunder under pants. I didn’t bother wearing anything on my head nor did I wear my running gloves. I thought to myself, “Last February I ran a 5k in 20 degree weather with shorts and a long sleeve under armour shirt and I was just fine.” Oh, how stupid can I be.First of all, I froze during that 5k and ran to Starbucks immediately following. It wasn’t ideal but it was bearable so I thought I’d be fine heading out of the house this morning in the outfit described above. So wrong. Running a 5k in cold weather is nothing like running seven miles in cold weather. I suppose I justified my light outfit because I thought I’d warm up in a few miles and I’d spare myself from having to peel off layers. Again, dumb. I’m confident I would have called it quits had it not been for the warmth of my wunder unders.
  2. Skipping warm-up/stretching. I went to the greenway so the last thing I wanted to do was stretch and warm-up for 5-10 minutes in cold weather. I decided to skip all that “nonsense” and ease straight into my seven mile run. It was okay and I didn’t get hurt but it took me such a long time to feel loose. I’ll never skip out on stretching again.
  3. Licking my lips. I didn’t apply any lip gloss or chapstick before I headed out for my run. Not smart. I decided it’d be a good idea to lick my lips periodically to moisten them (even though I knew it was an idiotic idea). Dumb move. I had some super dry red lips by the end of my run. I plastered lip gloss on my lips as soon as I reached my car.
  4. Running without water. I’ve been bringing water on 5+ mile runs but I guess I was half asleep this morning because I left the house without any water. I can’t stand running without water on long runs now. My mouth gets super dry and I just can’t take that feeling. I missed my water like crazy this morning. Who needs to hydrate, anyway?
  5. Using my breathe to warm my hands. My poor hands were super red and so frozen so I decided I’d do what I could to keep them warm. Um, let’s just say I needed to focus on breathing rather than wasting my warm breathe on my hands. I’m sure exhaling large amounts of breathe during a long run didn’t do me one bit of good.
  6. Using a slow stubby man as my pacer.This subsequently made me feel like an animal stalking its pray.  I felt like the lioness on discovery channel that stalks her pray only to attack it moments later. It felt so creepy to run five feet behind the guy for 3 miles. I’m not even sure he knew I was behind him until I decided to pass him. This was a blunder largely because my pace was 30 seconds slower per mile when I was following him. I should’ve passed him as soon as I caught up to him and all this stalker stuff could have been avoided.
  7. Returning to a car stocked with nuun but no water to mix it with. Now that’s a fail. I love my nuun.

Surprisingly, I had a decent run this morning despite all my epic fails. I ran seven miles in 1:04:47. My goal is to run my first half marathon in 2:10 so it looks like I’m on target to accomplish my goal. Only time will tell!

On a somewhat unrelated side note, all the running I’ve been doing on the greenway is making me have major puppy/dog envy. I’d say half the people I see on the greenway have a cute little furry pal. I’m dying to have a dog but I know I couldn’t care for one right now so I’ll have to wait until the time is right.

Lately I’ve been obsessing over bernese mountain dogs and I saw one on my run this morning! He was so cute and for a brief moment I forgot I was freezing. I didn’t snap a picture because I was already feeling like a creeper on the greenway, but here’s a picture of a bernese mountain puppy having a playdate with my boyfriend’s family’s golden retriever puppy. Which one is cuter!?! It’s so hard to choose!

What running mistakes have you made?

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