Thursday, February 9, 2012

Holiday Challenges Wrap-Up

Right after Thanksgiving I committed to some fitness challenges for over the holidays.  I participated in the Holiday Booty Buster Challenge over at Run to the Finish, Coach Jenny Hadfield's Winter Running Challenge, and the local Frozen Tundra 100.  The first two finished at the start of the new year, but the Frozen Tundra just ended on February 1st.
So how did everything go?  I think it went pretty darn well!  The three challenges all coincided perfectly.  They all motivated me to get out there to run or workout because I knew I had to record my workouts for everyone to see.  Plus, I didn't want to bail out on a good challenge.
The goal of the HBBC was to stay active during the holiday season.  I recorded my workouts on Daily Mile and translated that to points on the group Google Spreadsheet.  There were weekly updates, posts, and prizes.  On days I didn't really feel like working out, knowing that I was three miles away from my point goal was motivation to get out there.  Of course, once I finished the workout I was always glad I did it.  I don't think I've ever finished a run or workout and not felt good! 

For Coach Jenny's Holiday Challenge I set a goal to run 12-18 miles a week.  Coach Jenny sent out weekly emails with motivation, tips, and weekly giveaways.  I posted my weekly mileage on her Facebook page.  I didn't win any prizes, but my mom, who also participated, ended up winning a medal hanger!  She really needed it because all of her medals were just hanging on a hook in the hallway.  Now she has a beautiful medal display to show off her eleven medals.  This challenge was just another great way for me to keep up with my running.  Coach Jenny is always answering reader questions and has tons of great advice and recommendations.  I used her training plan for my first half marathon and plan on using her plan again (with a few tweaks) for my first full marathon in October.  If you aren't already you should be following her on either Twitter and/or Facebook!

My final holiday challenge was started by a fellow FF Cheer member.  This winter was forecasted to be pretty bad so we were challenged to still keep up with our running outdoors through December and January by getting in 100 miles and logging them on Daily Mile.  Running in the cold was new to me, since I only started running about a year and half ago and was in Florida.  After these past few months I have discovered I really like running in colder weather.  According to many people this winter has been pretty mild, which was fine with me, although there were a few very cold days.  
I ran through the snow for the first time which was exhilarating.  Running in the heat is really draining sometimes, so the cooler weather has led to lots of great runs and even a faster pace.  

I attended a cold weather running seminar at Fleet Feet which was chock full of advice that has helped me this winter.  Layering is definitely the key to cold weather running.  My aunt got me some awesome Athleta running tights, which are fleece lined and are great for cold runs.  On top it has usually been a long sleeve tech shirt and then a fleece jacket.  A hat and gloves are also really good for chilly runs.  The hat, which covers my ears, is great and definitely helps keep my temperature regulated.  Before the season I also invested in Smart Wool socks which are my new favorite.  They keep my feet blister free and warm.  I purchased some YaxTrax, but have yet to use them since it hasn't been very snowy.  They are meant for use on packed snow or ice to help prevent slipping.  

I finished both December and January with 51 miles each for a total of 102 miles!  All of them were outside, since I do not belong to a gym.  About four runs were in Orlando, but the rest were all in Chicago.  Having the challenge was great motivation to make 50 miles happen each month.  

All of the challenges were fun to participate in and a great way for me to add some extra motivation to my workouts.  I liked recording my progress along with others.  Daily Mile is such an awesome tool for recording miles and workouts.  I only started it at the end of August, but I love it!  If you aren't on Daily Mile, get to it! 

If you participated in any Holiday/Winter Challenges, how did it go?