How hard is it for you to stay motivated thru the winter? If you have a spring marathon on the calendar like the Garmin Marathon or the Flying Pig Marathon, then you don’t have many options other than to keep yourself moving. But that doesn’t mean you have to pound out the same hard miles, in the same hard way that you would do in the spring and summer months. Maybe change it up a bit and try something new? Something that might get you out of the cold and onto the treadmill or indoor track when the wind chill slips below zero or the snow is flying so hard that those oncoming cars can’t even make out your reflective vest?
Don’t get me wrong, I love my snowy runs but I can’t run a quality workout when I have to worry about my footing. So I save my easy, fun, social runs for outdoors when the snow is flying. Then I take my hard, fast runs inside where it’s safer. I also shorten my training cycle and lower the number of days I run each week. I focus on power and speed and strength. This does a few things. 1) Helps me to avoid burnout. 2) Makes me FOCUS on the runs that I have on the schedule each week. 3) Allows me some free time for cross training and/or weight work. Winter workouts are important. This is the time to work on the areas of your fitness that need extra attention. Strength? I need more of this and it’s definitely something I’ll be focusing on this winter. My goal is 2 strength workouts each week.
Nutrition? How is this going for you? I was doing GREAT before the holidays. I had lost 12#s, then I got sick, did the holidays, ran a 50K & a couple marathons, now I’ve gained 5 of those lbs back and am facing down 16#s which I need to lose before I crush the Garmin Marathon in April. So part of my winter marathon training is focusing on my nutrition AND making sure I am getting adequate water intake each and every day. Lean proteins. Fruits & veggies. Healthy fats. Whole grains. Water.
Rest? You betcha! I’ll be honest; I’m tired. So freaking tired. I know I’ve ran a lot of miles lately but I’m also just a poor sleeper. And I’ve been sick. I’m definitely run down in more than one way. I’m good about getting my vitamin c and other vitamins that help strengthen my immune system but nothing makes up for sleep. Maybe the winter nights are longer for a reason? Take advantage of the darkness and get some extra shuteye. Sleep repairs your muscles, helps build your immune system and makes you feel better! Don’t skip the sleep or you’ll pay for it later. This week I’m dragging. Do I need to swim in the mornings? Yes. Do I need to rest more than I need to swim this week? Yes. So I’m sleeping in and I’ll worry about how fast (or slow) I swim next week. Priorities.
Marathon training is about so much more than the miles you log. As you age, you may also notice that your body just can’t take the pounding that was once the norm. That’s when you start to develop aches and pains that lead to injuries OR you can shuffle the deck and change the way you train. Change can be for the better. I’m mixing things up this winter. I’m going to step back on my miles a bit and focus more on quality. One long run, one tempo, one speed. I’ve mentioned it before but I use the FIRST Run Less Run Faster app on my iPhone to plan my workouts. It was a $2.99 download but I’ve used the program so many times that it’s paid for itself. This certainly won’t replace a coach if you can afford one but a coach isn’t in my budget, a $2.99 app I can justify. I’m looking forward to picking up the pace this winter. It’s always hard for me when I start this plan. I can never hit the numbers initially but as I build strength, speed and confidence, I’m always amazed at where it can take me.
** Happy Running, All! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz