Running through the winter is a necessity in order to be in prime shape for spring races. Winter running can vary greatly depending on where you live. For a Midwest runner, winter can mean snow, ice, and wind (sometimes all at once). This can present a tricky situation for those who desire a routine. During the winter months it isn't as simple as setting up a week of training. Just because a 10 mile tempo is on the schedule for Tuesday does not mean that 7-9 inch snowstorm is going to hold off. Here are a few tips I try to use during the winter season to make sure I get the most I can out of my training plan.
- Plan flexibility: Scratching a speed session because it is nasty outside doesn't mean the workout is completely lost. When planning intensity training sessions in winter try to pick the intensity sessions desired for a 10-14 day cycle. Make a point to note that these are the key elements to your 10-14 day cycle, and that completing them is priority number one. The rest of your running can be filled in around them. Once you know which intensity sessions you are going to do be ready to do them on a variety of days. Maybe Monday is sunny and dry. Be flexible enough to drop in one of the more intense sessions. Maybe Thursday there is 30 mph winds and hail. Push the workout off to a different day.
- Have a plan: Think ahead a bit. Check the weather. Have a few options locked and loaded, so no matter what the weather has in store a feasible workout is available to you.
- Know your routes: Get to know which routes are shoveled or cleared more quickly. Some areas seem to take days to be cleared, while others seem to be shoveled once the first flake hits the ground. Be familiar with your training grounds.
- Effort not distance: On the real sketchy days run based on effort. Listen to your body rather than staring at your pace per mile. It’s to be expected that pace will be slower if terrain is severe. Focus on listening to your body to gage how much running to do.
- Keep an open mind: Embrace the weather! Just because there is 6 inches of snow on the ground doesn’t mean you can’t run. It means running might be different. View it as a change of pace. Often times trudging through rough snow covered paths can really mimic a technical trail. Embrace this opportunity to make you a stronger runner.
Last but not least, always remember when it comes to winter running the worst days seem to stay fresh in mind. There will always be a host of gorgeous running weather even in January and February. Looking forward to the sunny, calm, 30 degree days where you can cruise for hours with out a sip of water share these mo