12 Gym Days of Christmas

For a couple months now I've been toying with the idea of registering for this half marathon in Indianapolis in May 2012. My good friend Carla will be running and has offered to run the actual race with me - an opportunity I don't want to pass up. But I have some reservations about it, and I wanted to write a pros and cons list here (because, you know, my amateur running hobby is endlessly fascinating). If, after reading this, you have some wisdom to share, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Winter running is fun, especially when the long runs are only 5 miles.

- Could get advice and support from Carla and other running friends while I train.
- Could run the race with her, so I wouldn't be bored.
- Running that much would mean I would get to eat more, especially dessert, and that's fun.
- Sense of accomplishment.
- General badassness.

- Huge blister issue that I have yet to resolve. I've done all the things people suggest (non-cotton socks, changed shoes, used bandages, used body glide or similar product), but they are pretty God awful. I'm not sure if I could actually run further than 7 miles with them that way.
- Long runs take a long time, even if I stayed at only 3 runs per week. The long run would kill a major part of the day, and I feel busy as it is.
- Related to that last one, my big task for next term is to write my dissertation proposal, and I want to devote as much time to that as possible. Between the funding and immigration issues that effect my timeline for the rest of the degree (topics for another post), I don't want to add anything to my schedule that would inhibit my progress. Not that I'm going to quit running and become a (even bigger) hermit, but a half marathon would require a lot more training than I'm used to.
- Adding more mileage than I ever have in the dead of winter, lots of miles in the snow or on the treadmill (which I try to avoid for anything longer than 4 miles, for various reasons, my motion sickness being the main one).
- More running requires more of the things that running demands: stretching, foam rolling, strength training and cross training. It's not that I don't enjoy those things (although yoga and pilates are off the table because of motion sickness), but it's all more time. It's not just the run.

In general, I feel the cons outweigh the pros. My plan instead will probably be to train for a 10K in the spring, such as the Forest City Road Race, or even the Really Chilly 10K in February. I think with that much time I could try to break my current PR for the 10K and go below 60 minutes, while increasing my mileage more gradually. Then maybe I could consider the Fort For Fitness half-marathon in Fort Wayne next September. That might be an easier one to train for, since Ontario summers are running-friendly.

Having said all that, I do feel the need to sort of shake up my routine ever so slightly for the rest of the calendar year. With no more races ahead of me until 2012, it can be a little hard to want get out the door to run.

Enter: The 12 Days of Gym Christmas.

My good friend and UWO colleague, Djillian, created the 12 Days of Gym Christmas as a way to stay motivated for working out as Christmas approaches and the opportunities to indulge in fatty/sugary (re: awesome) food are more abundant than ever. The goal is to work out in some form (gym and cardio not required) 12 days between Dec.1-24; no more than one session per day can count, but it's up to each individual to define what that session will be. Djillian gives a 12 Days of Gym Christmas button to whoever completes it! Win win (win). My plan is to record my weekly progress here as part of my normal once-a-week posting routine. Twelve workouts in that span of time is fairly normal for me, but it is nice to have a little extra enthusiasm to work out at the end of the term and during the holidays, since if I'm going to skip a work out, this is the time of year I'd do it. And I'm hoping to more than just run during that period, so I may try things like the stationary bike, elliptical, or strength training that I'm normally not good about doing.

I know it's only November, but Happy Early Christmas Season! If you have any thoughts on holiday workouts or distance running, please hit me up in the comments!


  1. I was thinking about you and the snow and the training, and I thought, "Wow, that would be hard." I think aiming for Fall 2012 sounds like a good plan!

  2. Yeah, I think it would be more manageable for my schedule and for the weather. Plus if I'm in Fort Wayne then my parents can feed me afterward!