Marathon Training IN THE WINTER …..

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?

  Kara Roy (black jacket) and Jennifer Lee (blue jacket) run down Mountain Avenue in a snowstorm.

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.

kettlebells-rope

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.

salad & protein  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. 

sleep

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.  Smile  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

Trust Your Training Plan

A lot of my friends & F’N Runners are currently in the midst of the heavy training miles for the 2012 Chicago Marathon.  Everyone is hitting their miles and making amazing progress yet their confidence is not boosted with the completion of each long run.  Instead they are filled with doubt.  They are doubtful they will finish, doubtful they are running enough, doubtful they will be fast enough to make the cut-off, doubtful that they can even make it thru next week’s run because the run this week went so poorly. 

I’m want ALL OF YOU to know that you will make it thru the next run, and the one after that, and the 20 miler.  We will get your nutrition in check and find out what works for YOU in order to get you to the start line with nervous excitement rather than doubtful dread.

chicago-marathon

You are certainly not alone when you look around and wonder if you are going to make it thru the training.  This is absolutely normal!  At this point, you are starting to hit the high miles and it’s not easy.  I remember getting back into my car after many a long run wondering how I could possibly get thru the next bump in miles.  Yet, I did it, each and every time.  It doesn’t get easier when  you have more marathons under your belt, you just know to trust the training plan.  Trust the training plan YOU picked.  Think about it for a minute, you picked a plan for a variety of reasons but basically because you thought it was “somewhat” manageable for your life.  You probably downloaded it from the internet, right?  How many other people have used that same plan before you?  You probably downloaded a plan from a well know website, right?  How do you think that person or that website got so popular?  Well, it wasn’t because the people who ran the plan before you didn’t make it thru the training,  couldn’t manage the next bump in mileage, didn’t finish their race.  They did finish and so will you!

So take a deep breath, stop panicking and trust in your training plan.  Here are a few things to consider:

  1. If you are having excessive soreness & fatigue after the long run, consider an ice bath.  Nobody wants to take one but they do help.  It is the fastest way to cool the muscles and decrease swelling.  Everyone does it differently but I sit in the empty tub, start the cold water, plug the tub and immediately dump in the ice.  I use a lot of ice, a heaping full 8×8 pan, no less.  Let the tub fill to the top of your hip bones and sit for as long as you can.  I usually shoot for 15 minutes between fill time & sit time.  I take my phone, check Facebook, brag about my AWESOME long run, let everyone know I didn’t die, send out a few tweets about how my training partners totally ROCKED THE RUN, etc.  Basically be prepared to distract yourself from the cold water.
  2. Don’t forget to use a Post Workout Recovery Drink that helps you get back your lost nutrients immediately after the run.
  3. If your “on the run” nutrition plan is not working, change it.  Now is the time to nail down what works for you.  Remember that what works for Suzy may not work for you, so talk to several people to get various ideas.  Keep trying, you’ll figure it out!  If all else fails, keep things very bland both the night before and the morning of the long run.  I like to keep it simple with a bland pasta dish with very little protein or fiber the night before, then a banana in the morning of the run.
  4. Consider getting up a few minutes early to drink a cup of coffee or have an energy drink that will get your blood and intestines “flowing” pre-run.  This could help avert an awkward run into the bushes for an emergency pit stop!
  5. Weather makes a difference!  By this point in the summer, you have probably realized that when it’s really hot out, its just not safe to run your normal pace.  In addition to adjusting pace, you will need to adjust your fluid intake.  Consider a hydration belt, handheld or hydro pack and plan ahead to drop water along your route.  Buddy up for the water drop and run so that you will have various places where you can expect icy cold water without having to do all the drops yourself!  I would also recommend dropping more than you need in case another runner, who is not as well prepared, needs to “borrow” some of your supply.   If you see this cooler on the trail, help yourself; I always bring extra!cooler
  6. Know that the higher temps and high humidity will result in more sweating.  The sweat flushes salt out of your system so go a little heavier on the salty foods the day before the long run.  Consider salty snacks, salt tabs, electrolyte drinks or a salt packet on long runs/race day to put a little salt back in your body to avoid water poisoning.
  7. Know that you and Suzy probably aren’t using the same training plan, so don’t go out and run 10 miles with her because that is what she has on her schedule.  Commit to the plan you picked and DO NOT feel guilty.  You will both be standing in front of the same finishers screen wearing the same shiny new medal!

image

Don’t stress; “You’ve Totally Got This”!

Do you  have a specific training issue/question?  If so, comment below and the readers will try to help you out! 

If you have any training tips that can help calm the nerves of our beginner marathoners, I’d appreciate your sharing!

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** amanda@tootallfritz.com