A Summer-Like Fall for Runners

The weather outside is so far from frightful, it’s not even funny. In fact, I’d call it downright delicious. 75 and sunny in November? As a runner, I can’t get enough.

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 10.57.51 AM

While my legs have definitely been feeling it, I’ve been running pretty much every morning for the last couple of weeks. There’s a part of me that feels as though I have to take advantage of these unseasonably warm days and lighter mornings even if I wake up tired or grumpy. Even if I have work to accomplish at 6am. Even if I instinctively don’t want to run.

Of course, once outside, it’s blissful. No hats or gloves. No triple layer tops. No ski socks. Just me, the warm air, the fall flora, and the sun.

From the Schuylkill…

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 10.58.25 AM

…to the Delaware…

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 10.58.08 AM

….it may look like fall, but it feels a whole lot more like late summer.

To uplift my mornings even further, I’ve been totally digging a bunch of new running songs released over the last few months:

If we’re being honest though, I could probably just run to Adele the entire time. I couldn’t be more excited for her new album to drop at the end of the month and plan on running to it through all of winter. Bring on the emo workouts. If you need me, you can find me bundled up in winter-wear, weeping tears of joy along the banks of the Schuylkill river.

The only downside to these beautiful mornings is that I’ve been skipping out on all that juicy complementary stuff that helps strengthen me as a runner. I had been hitting up yoga once a week, for example, to combat dark mornings. Or, I’d set up a chair in my living room, grab the five pounders, and make my way through a few barre videos. The variety is healthy, and I’m definitely missing out on that now.

But of course, it can’t stay 75 and sunny in Philadelphia forever. I know the mornings will get darker. The air will get colder. And as winter approaches, I will inevitably get lazier. So, we take what we can get, we live in the moment, and we enjoy it while we have it. In the words of Scott Jurek, “Rational assessments too often led to rational surrenders.” As it gets colder, I recommend that we all think a little less rationally.

Is this not the warmest November ever? Has the weather been unseasonably warm by you too? How do you transition to fall and winter running?

Not being able to work out is hard.

Being sick is hard work. But if the nose-blowing, eye wiping, snot dripping, hot tea drinking (all day long), Sudafed-taking lifestyle isn’t hard enough, for a chronic health nut, it can be even more challenging. And for more than one reason.

Not being able to work out is hard. 

I mentioned a book I recently completed, The Power of Habit, earlier last week. The book itself is quite simply about how people form habits — why they form and how to change them. Note, there really isn’t a way to break a habit, but you certainly can change them by understanding what sets you off (i.e. the cue) and what makes you come back for more (i.e. the reward).

When sick, obviously, working out is a no-go. But no matter how terrible I feel, and no matter how ludicrous the idea of getting into nylon and sneakers and heading out into the cold winter air sounds, I will always have that little sense of burning desire lurking in the back of my habit-driven mind. I’ve developed the cues and rewards. After seven years, there’s no way around them. I miss these mornings like woah.


This is the longest stretch  I’ve gone in a while without lifting a finger — since last Saturday, to be precise.

On Friday, I had a lovely run in the cold. There were flurries around me. I veered off path at times to take in new views and new paths on what was otherwise generally the same old morning run. That I came home like this probably didn’t help.


By Saturday morning, I knew something was wrong. But my close friend from childhood was getting engaged and neither rain, snow, or sore throat was going to stand in my way of celebrating with her in person on the night it all went down.

So, I traveled to New York.

I drank too many margaritas, champagne and beer.

I slept on an air mattress.

And I woke up with the feeling that I was swallowing glass.

I made my way back to Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon and was sick until pretty much yesterday – Thursday.


Finally, after days of drugs (the good kinds, people), sinus headaches, terrible throat issues, scratchy ears, and at times, coughing fits that felt like they would never end..


…I feel almost back to myself.

I even woke up on Friday with the desire to run.

Of course, though, it’s 15 degrees this morning.

Not cool, Mother Nature. (Or so cool, she’s positively frigid?)

Anyway, I can muster a cold run like a champion, but not on my first morning back from a raging sinus infection that kept me out for six whole days.

Fortunately, on mornings like this, the yoga mat and another very important Matt in my life (Lauer – duh) beckons. Truthfully, I’m just happy to be able to move and break a sweat once again. Even if it’s a very small, restorative sweat.

There will be more runs. Maybe tomorrow.