The rains are here. In other parts of the world fall sets in differently. Here, we scramble to get the things we have left outside for seven months under some overhang or into the garage. The air gets damp, and the temperature drops just at sundown. There are stunning autumn sunsets with the azure blue of the bay and hills against a bright orange, excited sky. The days may be getting shorter, but the energy is anticipatory—puffy clouds filled with who knows what, glossy wet roads with people getting places, holiday lights beginning to twinkle around each corner.
As an athlete, this makes me crave two things, hibernation and cross-training. All the energy I had earlier in the year to go explore and soak in the sky gets diverted into two camps—what can I make to eat that fits this weather and what can I do to get a sweat in.
First, cooking. Traditionally this season is for storing away the crops from the summer in order to make it through the winter. Equally important is the shift from being outside to coming indoors. My favorite indoor pastime is cooking for people I love. It also serves my physical pursuits. Taking this season to slow down and make crock-pot stocks, bake all the pumpkin things, and can jars of apple butter does actually restore and rebuild an otherwise taxed body. I would even argue it’s good for the mind. Less pushing, more being right here. For any athlete, rest is key, why not take it when it’s cold and rainy? Put your holiday mix on and mix it up. This too helps us heal after a long year.
Second, cross-training. Equal to the desire to cozy up is a desire to shake it out. Some folks who are ending their running year with a race in December, like CIM (California International Marathon), are still committed to mileage. Those who have their sights set on a March or April event are just starting to build. And most of us, with no plan at all, just want to maintain something over the next few months. If you are still finishing the year strong, keep trucking. If you are in the other camps, why not add some strength and mobility with great indoor activities. This is not to say a slow jog under a slow rain isn’t wonderful and necessary. But so is slow yoga and stretching, time in a hot tub or sauna (bathtub works too), or a spin class or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
These other modes not only break up the monotony of miles but they make you stronger in all the places running may not. For example, HIIT peaks your heart rate like a sprint workout but equally taxes core and muscle fatigue all over the body. Yoga and pilates get into those places we are good at ignoring—tight hip flexors, disengaged obliques. Perhaps the best part is that someone else is telling you what to do. I don’t know about you, but after a year of self motivation, just following the flow of a class feels mentally relaxing to me.
Top tips for now:
- Fuel your body. This is the time to really replenish. I am not saying make cookies every night, but slowing down to really feed the whole self is what the season is made for. Happy to share cooking inspirations.
- Bladium turned into The Hub. I love this place! It is a reasonable price and includes all open gym areas and a wide variety of fitness classes. It is perfect for mixing it up and getting out of the weather.
- I recommend the Breathing Room. They have a wide variety of classes and a very calming studio.