Winter can be your reason to have to recommit to your fitness or it can be your springboard to a better summer than you could have imagined. The choice is yours.
Winter sucks for almost everyone. Cold weather, being stuck inside, snow, ice, treacherous footing, cold feet and frozen boogers. I hate it beyond words. Sure skiing is fun and that takes some of the ‘suck’ out of it, but for the most part I see winter as one big pain in my tuckus. When I started running, somewhere around 2002, I would run through the winter without skipping a beat. After several years of that I grew tired of it. I’ve always been ok with everything but the first couple of warmup miles – oh how I hate starting out when it’s below freezing. About five years ago I started hibernating for a week or two at a time. I’d grow itchy, missing my endorphin fix, and force myself out for a couple of weeks before turning back to hibernation again. The inevitable would happen… The gut would come back, then the love handles. By the time spring rolled around I would have ten or fifteen pounds to lose again before summer so I could comfortably run around without a shirt on again. This was my choice and I hated it.
Two years ago I bought a bike and started training for triathlons. Nothing big, just Olympic length…and I found out that I love cycling – and that was enough to make me want to stay honest through the winter. No longer was fighting back to lose that fifteen pounds every spring going to work for me because I don’t want to lose that four weeks it takes to get back down to my proper weight. This winter I’m going two steps further by doubling my time on the trainer and running even farther than my normal seven miles on Saturday. I’ve committed to going into this spring in better shape than I’ve ever been – even better than last year (which is really something, considering). The first step was to increase my winter training time… The second was to actually work to get faster now rather than mark time till spring…
In the end, it all comes down to a choice… Do I want to fight back, wasting time on dropping extra weight, or do I want to slip back into my routine without missing a beat when the snow clears? Let’s just say hate having to fight back more than I hate a little snow. Besides, running outside in the cold makes you feel tough – you’re out getting it your miles in when most people won’t open the door. I start believing that I’m a lot tougher than I give myself credit for – once that sets in, Katie bar the door.
A very good friend I mine made the statement at the running club on Saturday that “you can’t outrun a cheeseburger”.
Really? Maybe you can’t but I surely can. In fact, I’d argue virtually anyone can…
You just can’t outrun two.
There’s a wide definition to the word “abuse”. Some people take the definition to the extreme… “Allowing one cheeseburger to enter your gullet is to abuse food – to eat beyond that which cannot possibly be burned off”. To each his or her own, but I certainly don’t live by any such strict guidelines. In fact, I need a good cheeseburger at least once a week in season or I’ll waste away to skin and bones. Last summer when I realized that I had a lack of food problem I was down to 150 pounds (with my cycling clothes on). I was just six pounds over professional cycling’s mountain climber weight (if I could only ride like one – it’s 2 pounds per inch tall). To turn this around, I started eating lunch at McDonald’s once a week (a Fish-O-Filet medium meal with a Coke and a Four pc. Chicken McNuggets) and after my Tuesday night group ride (every other Tuesday) I’d eat a Whopper combo and a Classic Chicken Combo. In addition, I ate about 25% larger portions at dinner time. That balanced me out at 155 (though my wife would have preferred 160).
But here’s where we get into semantics… I can’t outrun that much food – my legs won’t recover fast enough to run that much (though with the proper training I’m sure I could get there, the question is would I want to). With riding daily and running once or twice a week with a few good 25-35 mile efforts plus a regular barrage of centuries, I can exercise that off. Allow me to illustrate: In August I would burn, on average, about 9,000 calories a week on my bike. For me to do that running, that’s 74 miles per week (approximately 121 calories per mile) or a little more than ten miles a day. Not only can I not run that much in a week, I wouldn’t want to. That’s a minimum of 10-1/2 hours a week running. On the other hand, that works out to 165 miles on the bike – and a savings of more about 2 hours – and with the reduced impact, riding on a daily basis isn’t a problem. Recovery from a hard ride takes me less than 12 hours. There’s no way I could do that with running (nor would I want to – I don’t like running that much).
So there is the illustration of the semantics – can I outrun a bad diet? No. On the other hand, can I outrun a cheeseburger? Absolutely, as long as most of that happens on a bike.
The trick is the definition of “bad” multiplied by the definition of “outrun” then divided by ‘x’: frequency.
PS: There is one thing that must be taken into account here: Food addiction. This is not a problem that I’m equipped to handle so I’ll punt to those who are. I can say that I can relate, being a recovered drunk, but fo me abstinence works. When it comes to food, ya gotta eat so different rules apply.