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The Beauty of the (Steaming Hot) Post-Run Shower

post-run shower

by Cathy Engstrom

November is here, which means 3 things when it comes to my running: it’s cold, it’s dark, and I’m tired.

The average morning temps here in my part of Colorado hover in the teens. Not as bad as January, but I can’t say I’ve acclimated yet.

The daylight hours have waned. Even though we set the clocks back and there’s a bit more light in the morning, the shorter days make it feel like the walls are closing in on me.

And I’m tired. What is it about the sun setting at 4:50 pm that makes me want to eat copious amounts of macaroni and cheese and then crawl under the covers and sleep?

This is the time of year when the temptation to hit snooze and ignore the workout clothes laid out next to my bed is stronger than Dimity’s thighs pedaling up steep mountains.

Normally, the famous AMR mantra “Don’t think, just go” is all I need to get out the door and begin my run. But November feels like I’ve turned a page into a more difficult season.

So I wanted to share the one thing that sets me up for success: a post-run hot shower.

Often, the greatest reward I can give myself after a chilly run is a hot shower. (I will also take a hot chocolate with marshmallows if you’re offering one, but sans liquid sugar, my toasty shower will suffice.) 

When I check the weather forecast and see frigid temps and snow for my morning workout, I promise myself it will be worth it once I’m basking in that hot shower. If I’m sitting in my car at the lonely trailhead and the freezing wind is whistling past the windows, I think about the glorious hot shower I will get to take when my run is over.  When I’m only halfway through my run and my thighs are numb and my fingertips are cold, I envision myself warm and toasty in a cloud of steam.

Obviously, our water heater is cranked to high, because this mama in NOT taking sloppy seconds with hot water. The sound of shower curtain rings sliding across the shower rod when I first turn the water on is the sound of victory. Hot water feels like liquid gold, and I would buy stock in it if that were an option.

Like Pavlov’s dog, I salivate at the chance to get warm, ride the high of post-workout endorphins, and recover from the elements. If I want to extend that me-time, I’ll get ambitious and run a razor over my legs. I’m fancy like that.

Not everyone needs to love a hot shower the way I do. Figure out what works for you. If you’re really stumped, you can find some additional motivation here.  

But as we get closer to winter and (don’t hate me) the holidays, the fragile boundaries of 2020 that we’ve desperately cobbled together will get stretched even thinner.

You’ve got to figure out how to carve out that time to take care of your body and keep prioritizing yourself. Dark mornings and cold weather don’t need to stop you, especially when there's a shower waiting for you.

What do you most look forward to after a cold, dark winter run?

6 responses to “The Beauty of the (Steaming Hot) Post-Run Shower

  1. I am so with you! When I run at night (I love the late night runs!), my motivation is the image of a hot cup of tea, a steamy shower and crawling into a warm bed! That will get me home quick. While running in the cold and dark can be challenging, I prefer that over heat and humidity for sure! Thanks for sharing, now I can’t wait to get out there too!

  2. Same! There is nothing better than a hot shower after a run, any run. It is truly my favorite “first world” invention. Followed by ice cubes, because they have the opposite effect when my runs are HOT!

  3. I love the hot shower as well as my coffee! I drink a few piping hot sips before my early morning runs and keep it ready post run in a thermal mug. My BRFs can attest of my constant mentioning about that glorious cup of Joe waiting for me after our long runs. The hot shower is a close second though. My husband and kids know that when I walk in the door the shoes are getting kicked off and it’s a quick sprint to the bathroom to get the hot water running ASAP!

  4. I was just thinking about this yesterday after a cold afternoon run. I stepped into the shower and sighed “there’s nothing like a hot steamy shower after a crisp cold run!” It’s like stepping into the tropics for one moment and getting away from the cold temps of Michigan.

  5. Agree 100%! It’s a balm for creaky muscles and a sanctuary (at least for a moment) from 4 rambunctious kids. And I can sing and sound half good. My happy place!

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