Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winter running

When you add two to three hours of structured homeschooling to your family's already pretty full daily life, something's got to give. And in my case, it's been the running. I've only run a handful of times in the past month.

Daylight only lasts about eight hours here now. Running at night is really not a realistic option. We're in the middle of nowhere, no streetlights. When it's dark, it's truly dark. When we were in Calgary I ran at night and it felt like it was practically daytime there was so much light. Streetlights every 20 or 30 metres, plus residential lighting and headlights and that urban glow in the sky. But at home it's scary running at night. It's hard to see your feet properly, even with an LED headlamp.

So daylight is short, and with the schoolwork we're doing added to the other daytime business, there really isn't much time for running. I was making progress at getting back into the habit after my two-month injury-related hiatus, but the additional structured daytime activities with the kids is really making things tough. Somehow I'm going to have to fit it back into my life, though, because running really was making me happy when I was doing it regularly.

Lately when I do run, I love my YakTrax. I use the Pro version, which are secured by Velcro on the top and are so light and flexible that I barely feel them at all. They're fabulous in snow, slush and ice. I have some awesome gloves and just bought myself some wind pants to go over my tights for the really cold days. Along with my hat and neckwarmer and a thermal shirt or two on top, I feel really comfortable even at minus 12.


  1. Anonymous2:02 am

    I think running consistently with children requires 2 things. 1. Being selfish about the running. There will be times when it is impossible to run the frequency or the distance you would like, but you can always carve out 30-40 minutes 3 days a week. You just have to do it!

    2. You also have to plan very carefully for runs. This means that if you have very little daylight...which where I live is the same, you switch things around so you can get the run in during the day. You said you have 8 hours of daylight. Well do something at night you could do during the day, and take the daylight hours and go for a run.

    I know this seems obvious, sometimes, one needs reminding.

    Also try and get your husband's support. Mine is always working and traveling, but on the weekends, he knows the kids are his for a few hours each day. And he is fine with he knows I am a much happier person if I am running!!!

  2. My kids are older, so supervising them isn't the issue. They can be left home alone any time. The problem is that my days are heavily scheduled with things like work (5 hours today at the clinic), the kids' music lessons and rehearsals and sports stuff, driving to out-of-town lessons (16 hours over the past few days) my own Suzuki teaching, dropping my eldest off at work and/or school and picking her up (no buses) ... and now three or four hours each morning of structured schooling. Careful planning allows us to fit all this in a day but there just aren't enough daylight hours for the running right now.

    If you read this blog regularly you'll understand how new and crucial this morning schooling is to the whole family dynamic. It simply can't be moved, at least not for the next while. And the other stuff, well, I can't move my work and my Suzuki teaching, or the kids' lessons and rehearsals and sports to the evenings. I've done what I can to create little windows of time, but right now there's just no wiggle room.

  3. Anonymous8:01 am

    Ok sorry, just thought I would suggest things that work for me. I have 3 children and my life is very hectic, with sports, music lessons ect... but I simply think being selfish and creating time for ourselves even if it is 20 minutes 3 days a week for a run (or anything one enjoys) is really important to the well being of a busy mom. We deserve it!! Good luck to you in finding the balance!

  4. Anonymous12:18 pm

    Sorry I don't think I posted my comment it xmas eve:-) Anyway, sorry about my comments. Just posting ideas about what has worked for me...a busy mom of 3 who has worked out how to keep running in the chaos of family life and very busy children. I do think as mothers we do need to have something that is strictly "ours" and judging by your post on your blog, running was that for you. I just hope you can find 20 minutes 3 days a week at some point...we mothers need some time to ourselves! Certainly with a little tweaking here and there, you will find the time you need. Good luck with finding your balance!

  5. Anonymous1:24 pm

    I find that getting up at 6:00 in the morning and meeting my friend who has a busy life at least two to three times a week, keeps me motivated and I get some runs in.

    Don't be too hard on yourself, winter in the kootenays can sometimes put a damper on outside activites do whatever you can and don't sweat the big stuff.
    I enjoy reading your blog, and absoutely love the area that you live in its my favourite part of B.C, wish I lived closer instead of the three hour drive with the ferry to boot.
    Merry Christmas!!!

  6. Six a.m. used to be my running time, but it's still dark until 7:15, and by then the girls are up and schooling. Still, the days are getting longer ...

    I'm confident that eventually I'll find a way to squeeze in running. However right now it's worth a lot to my mental health to maintain the improvements in family harmony we've achieved. I'm willing to partially sacrifice running for a while for that because family harmony pays me big dividends too.

  7. Anonymous5:26 pm

    I agree, the only reason i drag my sorry self out of bed at 6:00 is to not lend my friend down, she is a doctor and has to squeeze in runs whenever she can. I understand about the darkness especially where you live!! But your right the days are getting longer and soon it will be spring and the running can begin in earnest!
    Family harmony is very important, before you know it you'll have plenty of time to run and do the things that you want to.
    Happy New Year!

  8. Oh, it is hard to find the daylight hours in the short days of winter. I cannot run anymore with back stuff, but have been wanting the yaktrax to just keep me from slipping around when walking. What is the difference between the pro and standard versions?

  9. Denise, I think the main difference is that the Pro version has a velcro strap that goes over the top of the foot to prevent the device from slipping off during really active stuff.

  10. Anonymous10:34 am

    I have run with the regular one and had no difficulties. Its great for those icy conditions, no excuses not to exercise!!!

  11. Thanks! I ordered this morning - with the strap. :)

  12. Anonymous10:41 am

    Those YakTrax look fantastic. We had a long and heavy unusual snowfall last year and it really played havoc with my running. Wish I'd know about those back then. So far no snow this year, but I'll put those on my list for when/if we get some!


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