A Bird Pooped On My Shoulder: Musings About Winter Workouts

Yesterday I was running hill repeats, and halfway through a bird pooped on my shoulder.

I like to tell myself that it’s good luck, but in reality, I just got shat on.

It’s like nature was saying “Go back inside, it’s cold, you nitwit!” But I beg to differ. Yes, it’s gotten quite cold lately, and although it’s still fall (and today is weirdly balmy), it’s almost winter in Boston for sure. I have a very strong love/hate relationship with winter.  I love the first snow, but hate when it starts to get dirty on the sides of the street (like 10 minutes after it snows). I love the cool, crisp air and being able to dress in cozy sweaters and boots, but I hate the chapped lips, runny noses, and frozen toes that happen so often. I love snowboarding, but hate shoveling almost more than anything, especially in the city.

But there is one thing that I didn’t realize I love about cold weather until last winter when I first started training with November Project: I love training outside in the cold. Yes, there’s a fair chance that you’ll end up with snot freezing on your face (attractive), or you’ll overcompensate with layers so much that you’ll actually overheat, but there’s something about it that just feels bad ass. Raw. Kind of against the rules.

No, I didn’t enjoy it when my toes were numb, red, swollen and eventually painful for half of the day after last week’s stadium session (25 degrees with a 6 mile bike ride there and back will do that to ya), but I did feel inexplicably excited about what I had done. Last year, we ran stadiums while it was actively snowing. We ran stadiums when there were only three sections of the stadium that weren’t covered in ice. We skipped the stadium and ran snow sprints when the steps were literally covered in so much snow and ice that you couldn’t see them. But we were still out there in the snow and the cold, and I loved it.

I may have said I hated it at the time, but I loved it.

I just want to remind people that working out outside in the winter is not against the rules. It may make you a little bit uncomfortable at first, but if you layer up properly and surround yourself with the right crowd, it can be downright exciting. Yesterday when I was running hills, I could have gone home because I was cold and a bird shit on my shoulder. But I looked down at that little pile of poo and kept running my sprints until the set was over. Why? Because for some weird reason, I like to workout when it’s cold, and aint no bird poop gonna stop me from finishing my repeats! 

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be training outside at least one day per week. My lungs will scream, my face will go numb, and the tips of my fingers will ache when I return home and the blood can again circulate to the very ends of my extremities. I’ll curse at the cold weather, I’ll gasp for air and pray for some warm air to soothe the knives in my throat, but when it’s all over, I’ll be proud of myself for sticking it out.

I challenge you to take your workouts outside as well! Go ahead, switch up your routine and go run some hills when it’s cold enough to see your breath. Layer up, bring out your inner badass, and just go. Head to the stadium when you have to layer up so much that you almost can’t move normally.  But whatever you do, don’t slip on any ice. A broken tail bone doesn’t look good on anyone. Although if you did injure yourself, at least you could say that you did it being awesome, instead of doing something lame like shoveling.

sweatersuitOr I guess you could skip the workouts and just do this. Whatever floats your boat. 

Readers: Do you workout outside when it’s cold out? Would you be willing to give it a try this winter? 

30 thoughts on “A Bird Pooped On My Shoulder: Musings About Winter Workouts

  1. LOL I run in the morning because the Army makes me wake up at 0445 and form up at 0600. ;o) I do actually run because – hell I’m UP lets do this. And I cattle prod my running partner – so yea I guess I’m bad ass ;) Love the visuals! Happy monday!

    1. You sure are bad ass, but we didn’t need this comment to prove it! Hope you’re having a great week!

  2. I like running in the cold. I push harder, run faster and don’t stop and walk because then I would be cold. The snot is an issue but hey that’s what sleeves are for. right?

    1. That is exactly what sleeves are for! I find myself spitting a lot more when I exercise in the cold too, not sure what that’s about.

  3. Ooooor you could just move to Florida where “cold” is 50 degrees. 🙂

    1. Ha! I really don’t think I could tolerate the summers in Florida! And as much as I complain about the winter, I really do love it 🙂

  4. Consider yourself blessed!! I used to be able to just walk a mile or so a day, but now my feet are in so much pain when I’m done, it’s not worth it. I can’t even do it any more. I have a huge bunion on my right foot, and can’t get walking shoes wide enough to fit right! Enjoy it!! I loved walking in the cold!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your foot issues! Have you considered surgery to correct your bunion? An extreme option, but worth it in some cases!

      1. I did get surgery, but it didn’t help unfortunately. The pain actually comes from arthritis in my foot also.

  5. Oh yeah, I forgot to say….a seagull pooped on my foot when I was lying on the beach at Santa Cruz, CA. It was pretty gross. Fortunately, all I had to do was wash it off in the ocean! 😉

    1. The beach is probably the most perfect place to get pooped on if you have to… The problem when I was running was that I didn’t want to touch it to wipe it off, so it stayed right there on my shoulder for the rest of my run!

      1. I wouldn’t have touched it either! 😉

  6. Your blog is terrific…it really is. But I have clicked it open about 9 extra times today just to see that hilarious picture. I think I want one of those.

    1. Oh my goodness, don’t you love that picture? I would love one of those things! And thanks for your kind words 🙂

  7. I am enjoying my cold weather workouts too – I completely agree with your comment about it being bad ass. I feel tough when I’ve been out in the cold – like I am all the stronger for it (mentally and physically.)

    1. I’m glad people agree with me on this one, because I don’t really have a good explanation for it! I agree though, it does make me feel mentally stronger for sure.

  8. I can do this during strongman training, but not for sprints. I will take the first excuse I can find to stop running!!! One memorable evening of event training included pushing sleds in the pouring rain and repeatedly falling on my ass in the mud. By the end of it, my clothes were ruined and I looked like I’d been mud wrestling haha.

    1. I absolutely love training outside in the rain (as long as it’s warm rain)!! There is something about a grueling workout while getting drenched and muddy that feels extra badass.

  9. I do workout outside year round. However I’m less of a bad ass, because I live in Florida so at the coldest I still only need one or two layers (maybe). I do love colder weather running over heat though! Also I’m going to DC in February and planning to tough it out for a couple of runs while I’m there. Any advice on clothing or otherwise? Maybe a future post about winter running gear….?

    1. I could definitely do a post on that! Quickly though, I would recommend a good quality pair of running tights, a warm pair of tall socks to layer over them , and at least 2-3 layers on top, more if it’s colder! Definitely have a layer on top that is a wind barrier… and make sure to cover those ears!

      1. Great! Thanks!! I forgot about needing something for the ears!

  10. I’ve been running since I was 14 and have run outside in all kinds of cold places. I used to live in Fairbanks, Alaska. Running at -20F was pretty interesting!

    1. Wow! I’m not sure that I could go that cold!! Impressive 🙂

  11. I really hate working out outside when it’s cold and I avoid it at all costs. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll try it this winter. 😉

    1. But you’re Canadian! Haha, really though, I used to hate it too. After doing it so often last winter though, I really got used to it. Give it a try!

  12. I keep up with my outdoor runs during the winter, however I haven’t done any other types of workouts. I’ll give it a shot!

    1. Give it a try! I really find the cold energizing, even though the first few minutes can really be torture.

      1. Haha I can imagine! I will try it out and let you know how it goes 🙂

  13. I am running a Turkey Trot next week and have been running outside in 24 degree weather. It has been surprisingly awesome. It takes more willpower to put on the layers and pysch myself up for heading out into the cold.

    1. So glad you agree! I would definitely agree that the biggest hurdle is just getting up on a cold morning and getting out the door!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close