Whenever I find myself hesitating about going for a run in wind or rain, I always think of Ben’s middle school cross country coach.
Scott Steffen is a former all-state Norwell cross country runner and one of the most upbeat people you’ll ever meet. The weird thing is, he seems to be at his most enthusiastic whenever the weather’s at its worst. What kind of a mindset does that take, to embrace the wind and the rain?
Here’s what Scott had to say — exclamation points and all:
“You know, so much of running is MENTAL, so I try to turn anything into a positive and/or advantage!!!” he wrote in an e-mail. “(This is) probably even more important for younger kids (MS and HS). It might be just the knowledge that they have worked on or through something (i.e. hills, cold, rain, wind…) or knowing they are just plain tougher than everyone else. 🙂
“But there are specific thoughts on running in bad weather. I kind of think of running into wind like running up a hill. My advice on hill running is shorter strides, lean a little forward, try to keep the same cadence or stride rate and try to keep the same effort level. In addition to these ideas, in the wind, try to draft off someone in-front of you whenever possible. If running with a friend, alternate running in front.
“But mainly,” he said, “it comes down to just having fun with it. In competition, it is the same for everyone, so you can either ‘hate it’ or embrace it to your advantage!”
That’s all well and good for high school cross country runners. But what about us adults? Does he feel like he has to set a good example for his son, Noah, an up-and-coming eighth-grader? Or does he truly embrace the elements?
“It is a challenge to get out in bad weather, wind, rain, snow, heat,” Scott acknowledged. “But I try to remember how I feel after I finish compared to the ‘guilty’ feeling when I give in and don’t get out.
“Sometimes it also help to schedule a race, then you have something to work towards. Also, I’m not sure if you keep a running log, but that might help as well. I use http://www.running2win.com/. It is kind of nice.”