Winter Warrior Training
We have had cold wet weather including snow the past few days. There are cold weather options; you can substitute your workouts with cross training, run on a treadmill or run outside at an easy pace. You can complete your easy runs on snow but it is a little more difficult to do tempo runs or speed-work unless the streets are clear or salted. Trail shoes add extra grip in icy and snowy conditions. If they are gore-tex shoes they will keep your feet much warmer. The other option is substituting workouts with indoor training.
Another reason to cross train is you may be able to improve your fitness without the risk of increasing weekly mileage. Our training program includes running three times per week but you may want to do a little more. You can swim, cycle, stair machine or pool run.
As we build up the distance of our Saturday runs you may begin to experience some aches and pains. It could be regular training pains or the start of something more serious. If your hamstring is aching, knee is beginning to get sore you may want to try cross training. If you think you are developing an injury don’t run for six days, let it get better before it gets worse and meet us the next Saturday. You won’t lose any fitness cross training and may even be better off by balancing off your muscular strength. (If you are experiencing any pain please talk to me).
Some runners feel cross training will not help their running because they don’t think it is specific to running. Many top athletes have improved their fitness through cross training and have had stellar results. Running three times per week is all the running you need for a marathon or half marathon. In fact if you are running a long run once a week, combined with cross training, you are getting enough specific training to complete the race. (The speedwork and tempo runs give you faster times.) It helps to keep a positive approach about your running, which includes cross training. It does not matter how you get to the start and finish lines as long as you do. (Running drills, stretching and strength exercises can be considered cross training and will help reduce the risk of injury.)
How can you cross train? Try running in the pool; which is very specific to running. Stationary biking allows you to do an intense work-out and can be used on speed-work days by doing repeats on the bike. During the winter cross country skiing and snow shoeing are another fun activity that can elevate your fitness.
Start out with a shorter 20 minute cross training session to get used to the new activity and then increase the time by 5 or 10 minutes each session. Usually I can train indoors for about 45 minutes at most but you may want to work-out for up to an hour. I also like to mix cross training sessions; stationary biking 15 minutes, elliptical 15 minutes and stationary biking 15 minutes to break up the workout.
If you are skipping a run because of an ache or pain you can continue to follow your training schedule by substituting the tempo runs and speedwork with cross training. You could do the tempo runs by increasing the intensity of your stationary bike or elliptical session for the same amount of time. A 5km tempo run could turn into a 25 minute high intensity elliptical session. For speedwork on a stationary bike, you can pedal for the same time as the repeats and rest; ex. 5 x 3minutes fast with a 3 minute rest.
Running indoors is warmer and you need to dress as if you are running in the heat of the summer. Stay hydrated. You may want to set you treadmill at a slight incline to equate to running outdoors because the treadmill does some of the work. An incline will make the difficulty level same as outdoors. To add variety, you can mix your treadmill runs with outdoor running. Run the first 2/3 of the distance outside and the final 1/3 on the treadmill at a faster pace. Forerunners speed workouts are scheduled in minutes which converts easy to treadmill running. Tomorrow’s speedwork is 6×3 minutes (10km pace)[1 minute rest].
Enjoy the cooler weather by running easy in the snow. A week of easy pace running will not significantly impact your race fitness and will allow you to recover and rest-up for faster training in the week ahead.