Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ready, Set, Snow?

January 16th is an important day.  It marks the beginning of the 18 week training period for the Cleveland Marathon.  To date our winter has been a runner's dream.  Temps have hovered in the 40's and it has been surprisingly dry.  As this big day approaches, Mother Nature has sought revenge by dumping snow on us all weekend and dropping the temps to single digits.

I faced a tough decision this morning.  Do I brave the cold or spend my time on the treadmill?  The temp here was 6 degrees and I do not even want to know what the windchill was.  I made the decision that just a few miles outside would still be better than a treadmill run.  I lucked out as it wasn't too bad and still got my planned 6 miles in and at a faster pace than was planned to boot!

During my run.  I started thinking about some things I learned through last year's training that I thought I would share:

I am a huge supporter of outside runs over treadmill runs.  I know there are a lot of treadmill supporters out there, but its not for me.  I think I get more benefit out of road running.  My goal this year is to do my long run each week outdoors.  Last year, I did my long runs on a treadmill for the first couple months and had built a base of up to 18 miles.  On my first long run outdoors, I struggled to reach 13 miles.  I had felt really good about my training until that point, but that run made me realize.  I was behind.  I never ran indoors again during last year's training and spent the following month trying to catch up.  This year I don't want to make the same mistake again.

So, in 2012 I will be doing the following differently.

  1. Long runs will be done outside. 
  2. I will try to run my weekly runs outside whenever possible.
  3. When I am left with no other choice.  I will run the treadmill with a varying incline between .5% and 2% to closely mimic wind and road conditions. 
I think these guidelines will help me in this year's race and the base we build during the winter months of January and February will pay dividends on race day.  I also want to do a much better job this year with my diet.  One of my goals this year is to run the race about 35 pounds lighter than I ran it last year.  

One of the biggest joys of running this race is the journey to race day.  I hope what I have learned will help you with your training.  Also, don't worry about the cold.  With the right clothing, you will stay warm.  Even with its 6 degrees out. 

 I invite everyone to share any tips they may have in the comment section.  Other runners are a great source of information and I know I still have lots to learn.  

Good luck everyone with your training!!



inspirunning said...

The incline on the treadmill is key!!! I think when it's snowy and the conditions are bad, throw time out the window and just go for mileage. That's what I do. I just get too frustrated when sloshing through the snow and I am looking at my time and it's not where I want it to be. You put in a lot of effort in those conditions, so I think it will pay off. Just like the training in the heat does in the summer. and most importantly go into it with a positive attitude!

Way to get out there this wkend! I'm getting excited!!

Ryan said...

I agree with Kristy that you put in a lot of effort in the snow, and it really does pay off. Two years ago I did not do much snow running, and my race times in February and March were exactly what you would expect: slow. I did not do much speed work either, so that obviously played a role. However, last year, I ran a ton through the snow (still didn't do speed work) and my February and March race times almost picked up where December left off. I attribute that to my legs being stronger from a lot of runs where I had to trudge through the snow. I may be completely wrong about everything I just said, but something definitely helped me last year and I have to think it was the snow. Get some Yaktrax and do it up!

Matty O said...

Always Always ALWAYS have incline on the tread mill :)

Actually had an issue yesterday... at about 1.5hrs in on our run, my fingers got really cold. I was pretty bummed, I have never had an issue in these gloves. The only issue I have is that I sweat from being so bundled up... base layers must be moisture wicking to prevent moisture on my skin.

Keep up the good work. Jan and Feb are the coldest months, they will go by very fast. Just suit up and go do it!

Anonymous said...

Nice post Beal. I agree with you 100%. I ran outside yesterday for 5 miles at a nice easy pace and found it to be enjoyable. Matt o was right in that 6 weeks from now, the weather will be more ideal.

Kirstie said...

Great post! No matter the temperature, go outside! TM running is for the birds and should only be used when there is thunderstorms in my book. I'm quite proud to say I've done all my long runs outside and even did a 20 miler last Feb in a freakin' blizzard! As long as you layer properly (which I've never had an issue with) the temperatures won't affect you or your runs.

So does this mean you are doing the full in Cleveland?

Colleen said...

First, yay for the journey! I think it's going to be an amazing one.

Second, kudos for getting it done. It's hard to run when it's 6 degrees, but getting out the door is usually the hardest part!