{Motivation Monday-Winter Miles Challenge}

Winter Miles Challenge
We all know winter running is a challenge, so why not make a challenge out of it. With snow, ice, wind, and wind chill warnings in my area, we need all the support and encouragement we can get from each other. Run with Jess knows this so she created this amazing challenge that will keep you sticking to your running goals, and give you the chance to win awesome running prizes each week you reach your goal. Click the button on the bottom of my sidebar anytime to get more information or click the link here (http://www.runwithjess.com/2013/12/winter-miles-challenge-2014.html#.Usb6Cij440M).

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The winter miles challenge lets you set your own goal based on your current level of fitness. Maybe you are new to running or just coming back from an injury, then ten miles a week would be a great goal. Maybe you are in ultra marathon running shape and 50 miles a week is your goal. The point is YOU decide how far you want to push yourself during the weeks of January 6th-March 2 (often the most challenging times to stay motivated in the midwest). Sign up to run at least 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 miles a week. Each week you will post your mileage. If you reach your goal you will be entered to win that weeks running related prize. Prizes include things like Yak Traks, compression socks, jewelry, and more!

I signed up last Friday! Will you join me? You have nothing to lose. Come on and let’s run some winter miles with Run with Jess! How to dress for those miles? Check out my post about what to wear on winter runs .

Happy Monday!

{Wisconsin Marathon Training-Week 1}


It is only week one so you would think it would be easy peasy to get all of our runs done. Throw in a holiday and some really cold temps and that doesn’t make life so easy. Before I outline our first week training I’ll share a bit about the training plan we are following.

Ryan is following the below plan to gear up to run his first marathon. The plan is not the easiest plan as Ryan has run four half marathons in the past couple years without much training. By not much training I mean running only two longer runs leading up to the halves. It is not an advanced plan by any means either because Ryan’s previous training cycles were not really what I would call training and low in miles. He has never ran this kind of mileage so I do not want him to over do it and risk injuring himself. We are approaching the plan knowing when we get to the upper 30 and 40 mile weeks that we may need to make adjustments to his plan. You do not need to run 40 miles a week to finish a marathon. If your body can handle the mileage though it will usually make you better prepared (i.e. the marathon will be easier–no easy though) and you have a better chance of finishing in less time.
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When choosing a plan be realistic about your past and current fitness level. Choosing a plan that is too high in mileage will leave you injured, burnt out, or both. Choosing a plan that is too easy may not be as rewarding or allow you to see the results you hope to see. More details about training plans can be found in this previous post-Training Plans.

This week we completed the following as our prep begins for the Wisconsin Marathon.

Day 1-Monday (3 miles easy)


Thursday (5 miles easy)
We ran separately this day.

Friday (3 miles easy)




Saturday (8 miles-long run)
Both of us had tight muscles with all the cold weather running. After a few warmup miles (this is important runners) our muscles relaxed a bit. Having temperatures in the low 30’s (wind chills in mid20’s) was like a heat wave. We both overdressed and had to ditch some layers after our first 5 mile loop. The last 3 miles were on a paved trail, which gave our legs a nice finish to our first long run of the marathon training.
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Towards the end of the run Ryan felt hungry. Fueling properly can be one of the biggest learning curves of training for your first long distance race. Once you get more accustomed to running longer distances you will know what to eat, how much, and when. Ryan learned that a small bowl of oatmeal may not be enough before longer runs.  More on fueling right in a future post.
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Bowls of fruit post-run had our hangry selves in a much happier state. Remember, just because you are running more does not mean you can eat everything in sight. Well, I guess you could, but that isn’t going to help things much. Neither of us are training to specifically lose weight, but we each have a few pounds to lose. With proper fueling and training that shouldn’t be a problem.

We missed a 5 mile run this week with our busy schedules and the cold weather, so we made our 3 milers a little longer to make up for it. These are totally excuses, BUT since both Ryan and I increased our mileage a fair amount, we decided this would also be the bet choice to stay injury free.

In the past month I have only been running 15 miles max a week in an effort to rest after a busy November of racing a 5k (PR’d), 5 mile, half marathon (PR’d) and a challenging marathon. Ryan had been running about 15 miles a week on top of lifting at the gym two to three times a week.

Week 1 Total-19.83 miles

Ryan’s Tip of the Week-Be sure to dress in layers for cold weather runs.  If you put on too many layers you can always take them off.  When dressed appropriately for winter, running outside in the cold isn’t too bad.  When you don’t wear enough layers your appendages can get very cold (especially your male parts)!

Happy Running!

{Christmas Winter Wonderland Run}


Visiting family across the state or country is the perfect opportunity to explore new territory, run new routes, and enjoy nature’s wonder in a new way. So I did just that on Christmas morning. It was one of those perfect winter mornings…freshly falling snow, temperatures in the twenties, no wind. I was all prepped to rock out to my holiday music mix on my iPod shuffle from 2006. Of course I also had to show my holiday spirit by donning my holiday Pro Compression socks.

This would also be the first time I got to try out my Christmas gift from the husband. It was really all I wanted from him as a gift and he delivered! I’d have loved the Garmin 620, but just couldn’t justify spending $450 on a watch. The 220 has the important features I’ll use the most and didn’t totally break the bank, so it was the one I requested. Plus purple is awesome; you’ll be hearing more about my thoughts on this watch as I become an expert on its features.

We headed out for our run and passed by this festive street seeing more snowblowers than vehicles.


Then it we headed towards Lake Michigan for some scenic winter views.

This run was just so beautiful. The trees heavy with fresh, glistening snow. The crunch of untouched snow underfoot. Holiday tunes playing in the earbuds. The changing landscape so in contrast to the warm weather sights.



There is always something I’ve loved about winter that is hard to put into words. The world is blanketed in snow, yet so desolate, exposed, and vulnerable. It’s the perfect time to take comfort in small things that make you cozy, toasty, and warm.

You can hear winter’s song on these winter runs or at night with the moon reflecting off sparkling snow. There is a certain sound to it only heard in the winter months. These are the winter runs I love so much.









Winter runs also go perfect with a warm cup of Starbucks or mug of hot chocolate.

Get out and enjoys winter’s song.