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Fire and Ice, the diametrically opposed opposites, represent elements that frequently are not thought to blend well: fire and frozen water. After all, fire can burn us, wound us, kill us. And ice causes different but similar outcomes.

The fire fills us with the burning desire to succeed, to face down every challenge, and to rise every time we fall. If stoked properly within us, it can burn for a long time. But what if there is too much fire?

Then we need something to chill it. Ice comes to mind. Athletes must be able to relax to maximize and optimize their performance. We must have “ice in our veins”. Not literally but metaphorically. If we can be relaxed enough to have that ice in our veins and have a properly stoked fire inside, now THAT is a powerful combination.

In winter, we must sometimes run with fire to burn through the cold and mentally brush it aside. I had to do this today. Suddenly the temperature is 25 degrees on March 1. WHAT?!? And the wind was cold and northerly. So I bravely took Misty out for a run and we decided to punch the cold in the face with a FAST tempo run. It was so fast that my Garmin died. (Actually I think it was the cold. Why does my Garmin Forerunner 620 keep dying in the cold?). So I tell myself: run with fire, run with fire. It’s a powerful repeatable mantra. And it goes with music. Think: Burning Heart by Survivor, one of my very favorite songs. I can’t and won’t deny that I’m a fiery person and coach. That’s my personality. The fire to succeed and more importantly, to help others to succeed, burns within me. And I must find ways to unleash it productively.

So after this fiery 5k tempo run, I took Misty inside for a treadmill run. She’s to the point where she will watch me run on the treadmill without a problem and without licking the treadmill. So I rotated the dial for possible virtual locations and up popped Iceland. PERFECT! And I started thinking: WOW! Fire and Ice! They can be combined usefully and creatively in such a way that we can boost our endurance and performance.

Because the tempo run was high velocity (slightly too fast but dang it was C-O-L-D and the pup was not happy about that), the Iceland run was slow by design. Slow sauntering conversational pace, almost slow enough to be my MAF training pace (my MAF pace is about 13:00 miles).

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So 5.15 miles for runstreak day 834. Hot and cold. Fire and ice. It works. Split your run in half and run one half faster and the other one slower. Usually I recommend the slower one first to properly warm up but the weather forced the issue today.

Train yourself to use the fiery streaks when you need them and cool off with an icy approach to get that ice in your veins to relax and keep your “run on a leash” at the proper pace, which is more often than not, conversational pace. Can you talk and sing “Happy Birthday” or other short song of your choice once without losing your breath? That’s a good test for conversational pace. Speaking without struggling to breathe.

But I can’t let the ice go unbalanced and unchecked by fire because the fire is closer to my personality. Ice your fiery spirit when needed to keep your runs on a leash running them at the proper pace. But let’s get fired up and blast through the quick few remaining weeks of winter. Run with fire!