State’s winter weather challenges motivation of year-round runners, walkers – Norfolk Daily News

Posted: November 12, 2020 at 5:55 pm


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This time of year the leaves change colors, the sun sets earlier and the temperature continues to drop.

People make adjustments from enjoying their time outside to moving the enjoyment inside their cozy homes.

But there are people who enjoy the great outdoors year-round.

Those people include runners and walkers.

Aaron Arens, a field tech supervisor at Sparklight in Norfolk, has been running for 30 years and enjoys everything about the activity of running.

"It's a stress reliever all-around mental and physical health, it makes me feel better," Arens said.

Arens loves being outside, whether it involves mountain biking, four-wheeling, camping, hiking or swimming.

"I'm a big outdoor activity type person. I think of what I can do outside because I can't stand sitting still," Arens said.

All of the outdoor activities help when Arens decides he wants to go out for a run no matter what weather conditions are thrown at him.

"I love the extreme weather. The only thing that keeps me from running outside is that I hate it when it is really windy or raining," Arens said. "If it is 105 degrees or a blizzard with downpouring snow, I'm like 'Oh man, I've got to go run in this.'

Arens said people who like to run like the change of scenery and the different elements that are thrown their way.

"I like doing stuff normal people don't do," he said. "I just love the feeling of it all; the winter air really feels fresh."

John Boeshart, another avid outdoor runner in Norfolk, said he enjoys going for runs and walks six to seven days a week during this time of year.

"My limit for not going outside is 0 degrees," Boeshart said. "The coldest I've ever run in was negative 14, and I don't think I'll ever do that again."

Boeshart, a custodian at Bel-Air Elementary School, said he walks around 9 miles at work and usually another 3 to 4 miles later in the day.

This means he is walking a half marathon basically every day.

"It's crazy," Boeshart said with a laugh.

While there are a few people who enjoy running outside year-round, not all local runners enjoy running in freezing weather conditions.

Jason Busch, an insurance agent at the Jason Busch Agency, American Family Insurance in Norfolk, considers himself a summer runner and would rather run in the spring and fall months.

"If it's 90 degrees out there and I have to run 6 miles, I just see it as an extra challenge, but I enjoy that," Busch said. "When it gets down to 20 or 30 degrees, I don't even want to go outside. I don't have that motivation to go out there."

When it gets cold, runners come up with different alternatives and ways of getting in the miles.

They will go to the YMCA or other gyms to find a track or treadmill to run on. They also might get into other ways of fitness such as cross-fit, lifting weights and other kinds of workouts to stay active.

"I'll go as high as 15 or 16 mph on the treadmill," Busch said. "I know most runners will slow down in the winter, but my ideal time to race is in the fall. If you are talking winter or the summer, I'll take the summer over the winter any day."

Busch in his lifetime has run in four marathons and nine half marathons, along with several 10K and 5K races. He finds his motivation through his family, including his wife and three children.

"I like to see myself be active in whatever or anything I am doing. I encourage and I really try to motivate them (his kids). So when I go out and do something, I push as hard as I expect them to push for me," Busch said. "It's a good time to unwind and to get away from the stress of daily life."

Even though he has found a love for running, Busch understands that it is an activity that isn't made for everyone.

"If running isn't your thing then find what is as long as you're being active and staying healthy, then I'll support it. I just like to see people be active and involved," Busch said.

Courtney Maas, a passionate runner in Wayne, has asthma so it can be difficult to go out for runs, and she finds it difficult to get motivated during the winter.

"I enjoy it if I can feel my fingers and toes. Beyond that, it's not enjoyable for me," Maas said. "I like cool, fall weather."

Like Busch, Maas looks for different ways to get workouts in during the winter months and will usually have to turn to the "dreadmill."

"I am very fortunate to have a nice dreadmill, bike, free weights and other in-home equipment, she said. During the winter months, I do my best to mix it up so I'm not always just running. I trained for a marathon during a bad winter and did a lot of my mileage on the dreadmill. I have a love/hate relationship with it.

Despite that love/hate relationship, the treadmill helps when I need a good stress-relieving run or I'm trying to build base mileage," Maas said.

"But, if I have to do super long runs and it's forced to do it on there, it's a struggle. I have found that if I start a good movie, I enjoy it much more because I just continue running throughout the movie. I like to do some HIIT workouts or just lift some free-weights, too."

Maas, a former cross country runner for O'Neill St. Mary's, coaches the Wayne girls junior high and high school cross country teams. Maas has been around the sport nearly her whole life and always looks for motivation year-around to get her to go out for runs and walks.

"Find someone to hold you accountable. I have three friends that I have a Snapchat group with and we are always snapping each other before, after or during our workouts, Maas said. It helps motivate and support each other. We don't always get to train together because we are at different fitness levels and all four of us have very crazy schedules, but just pushing each other, empathizing with one another, and giving words of advice or encouragement is so helpful.

"Also, just knowing that you are having a fit lifestyle is motivation to work out. Be fit for yourself, your spouse, your children and to teach others the importance of a healthy lifestyle. I guarantee you'll feel better about yourself."

Running isn't made for anybody, but there is plenty of advice from those who enjoy the activity.

"It's one of the cheapest forms of exercise you can do; it's one of the best ones for you and you can do it anywhere, at anytime," Arens said. "It's one of the easiest things you can do and you just need a pair of tennis shoes."

The Norfolk Run Club is an active running group in the area, meeting a few times a week nowadays, and the club is always welcoming in new people.

"It's open to all levels. We've got people that are more walkers and not even runners, we've got those who run lots of miles, but we've got the whole gamut of people," Busch said. "Everyone is welcome, and everyone encourages each other."

Despite the change in weather conditions over the next couple of months, runners around the area will find a way to get their weekly runs in.

"I try to run every day as much as I can, Arens said. Running outside makes it a lot more challenging, but I love it.

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State's winter weather challenges motivation of year-round runners, walkers - Norfolk Daily News

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November 12th, 2020 at 5:55 pm

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