Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Winter Training Plans

I have to admit that I'm the worst at staying active in the winter.  Between holiday parties, traveling, holiday cookies/food/drinks, and cold weather, it's really hard for me to keep my motivation and get out for runs.  Isn't that what baggy sweaters and leggings are for?!

Since I'll be running a full marathon in April (the Gettysburg Marathon for those of you who asked), I need to train through the winter.  That is going to be a real challenge for me!  I'll be sharing more about my training in the next few weeks, but today I wanted to share a few tricks that I'll be using to stay in shape and train during the coldest months of the year :

- More cross training
Now is definitely the time to spend more time in the gym for me!  In the spring, summer and fall, it's easy to want to stay outside all the time to enjoy the warm weather.  I definitely neglected cross training while training for my previous races, so I want to make that a priority this time around.


My plan is to swim at least once a week (my swimming day will be Thursday, which is my running rest day).  I also want to continue to rock climb to strengthen my back, shoulders, arms, and core, and do yoga for recovery.  If you're interested in trying my favorite swim workout:

- Take it Indoors
I hate to run indoors, but sometimes the weather just doesn't cooperate.  I'm not as hard core as Jennifer, who runs outdoors 365 days a year, so some days I'll be running inside.  My gym has an indoor track, so if conditions are really icy or cold, I'll do my speed work there.  It's not ideal, but I pulled a hamstring in high school doing sprints in the cold and I don't want that to happen again! (PSA- make sure you warm up before picking up the speed in the cold!)

My goal is to do all of my other runs outdoors, but I would rather run on a treadmill than skip a workout.  Let's just hope Pittsburgh doesn't get hit with a storm when I have 20 miles on my schedule!


- Run with a Group
I loved running with the True Runner Run Club all summer and fall, and now I'm joining them for more group runs!  This winter, they're hosting a Winter Warrior track series once a week, and then starting a training program for the Pittsburgh half and full.  (The program is completely free if you're interested in joining!)


I think that I'll be much more likely to get outside in the freezing weather if there's a group running.  Plus, I won't have to worry about planning out long routes or running alone.  Peer pressure for the win!


- Layer up
Wearing the right clothes is so important when it's cold out.  The saying goes that it's never too cold to run if you have the correct gear, which is why I invested in the Lululemon Toasty Tech Tights.  They may be pricey, but they're super warm and will give me reason to stay outside when it gets below freezing!  I'll be sharing more layering ideas and tips in an upcoming post!



- Accessorize
True story- I used to be terrified of running in the winter, because I have a fear of ice.  I would always skip running in the winter just because I was afraid of slipping and falling- so much that I would avoid going to the gym because it meant I had to walk outside.  In order to "face" my fear, I bought Yak Trax last year!  I have a full review here, and I highly recommend buying them if you're also afraid of winter runs!


In addition to Yak Trax, I also make sure to have a pair of gloves and hat.  When my head is warm, my entire body feels comfortable.  This may vary for your, so find out what area of your body needs the most warmth, and make sure you cover that before you head out.


- Sign up for Training Races
My marathon is at the end of April, which seems like forever away.  I like to schedule races during training cycles to stay on track, and this will be even more important this time around.  Luckily, there are a lot of options in my area for people training for the Pittsburgh Marathon.

Right now, I'm planning on racing a 5 miler in January, 10 or 15 miler in February, and 30k (18.6 miles) in March.  All of these fit perfectly with my training schedule, so I can be sure that I'm staying on track! (for all you Pittsburghers out there, these races are all organized by Elite Runners and Walkers and take place at North Park)


- Suck it up!
Yes, there will be a lot of tough love for me this winter!  I have a real problem with motivating myself to get outside when it's cold out, but once I start running, I don't want to stop.  The snow is always beautiful, I get the runner's high, and I feel better overall.


I need to make myself stick to my training plan like a contract, and I'm hoping that all of you will help me stay accountable!  If I start slacking, I give you permission to yell at me, call me a wuss, tweet me mean things, and taunt me on dailymile.

How are you planning on staying in shape this winter?
Is anyone else signing up for a spring marathon?
What's your favorite way to cross train?

linking up with Tuesdays on the Run  
Wild Workout Wednesday and Jill

50 comments:

  1. I don't have any indoor running options so I either have to suck it up or use my elliptical or rowing machine. Most of the time I suck it up and only once regretted it. I have been doing more cross training with weights and my kettle bell and some yoga. Sounds like you have a sound plan! I have Yak Trax but I have to admit I rarely wear them unless it is icy, but they are handy to have.

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    1. When I think about it, I can never say that I've ever regretted going out for a run in the winter. I'll have to remember that! If I didn't have any other option I would definitely do it more, so it can be a good thing you don't have a choice!

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  2. I'm three days out from my marathon and I'm already toying with the idea of of another in the spring, but for the winter right now I want to go to the gym more and I love swimming so I might get back into that! Memphis doesn't have a climbing gym, which is probably it's biggest downfall for me so I can only go when I go home to Nashville for the weekend, which has like 4. I hate to run indoors too but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!

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    1. You have marathon racing brain!! Happens to me after every race over 10 miles. Memphis doesn't seem to have anything..no Trader Joes and no climbing...waah :(

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  3. i think the swimming idea is a great one for colder months. genius tip!

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    1. Thank you Elle! It'll feel good to be in a warm pool when it's chilly!

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  4. Last year was my first year running in the winter - & it is SO much easier w/ a group! I am training w/ Elite again this year & will be happy for the motivation to get out there - after reading your review of YakTrax I am highly considering buying them.. the winters are brutal out here & I cancelled my gym membership! Hmm... think I'll check out Amazon today on my lunch break... ! :)

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    1. I hope you do buy them! They're not that expensive (especially on Amazon) and definitely worth it for me. I hope that a group will get me out more :)

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  5. Yes, I'm right there with you with a spring marathon in April! I've noticed I have to bundle up more than most for these runs.. but hey, whatever keeps you warm and not hurt. Cross training is going to come down to more strength training (my friend teaches a Les Mills Body Pump Class!), and the elliptical. If it's nice out (hopefully El Nino doesn't hit..), I'll go for a hike.

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    1. Body Pump is so great! I have a similar class at my gym that I haven't been to in so long..I think it's time for me to go back!

      What marathon are you running? Good luck training!

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    2. Definitely!! It's worth it! Gotta love fitness classes.

      I am running the Milan Marathon in Italy! Figured if I'm there for my first time ever, it would be a great way to see the city :) (Plus, realistically, it looks like a flat and fast course :P)

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    3. That's amazing!!! I can't wait to see pictures :)

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  6. I like rock climbing. It is a great upper body workout. I am not a big fan of the cold so I am thankful to have my treadmill. I want to start trying to run outside more though. Just have to get the right winter attire.

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    1. It really is a great upper body workout!

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  7. I love swimming, but forget about it, so this is a good reminder.

    I love to hope on the spin bike & since the gym has a whole room of them, they're never all taken in the mornings.

    I'm running the PGH Half, but toying around with running another a few weeks earlier as a goal race.

    The JASR 30K is great prep for the PGH full. I ran it both times before I did the full & there are pace groups which are super helpful too.

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    1. I should start spinning again! I did it so much last year and now I've been slacking on it.

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  8. I'll second the warm up before speed in the cold. I pulled my hip flexor in 2011 because I didn't warm up, and it took me months to figure out exactly which muscle group in the hip flexor that I pulled.

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  9. Yes, what is with the lack of indoor running options that are NOT treadmills in PGH?! It was really tough for me when I moved here, because I was used to being able to work out at the base gym which was in an old hangar and had a 1/4 mile track!! I don't do much winter running--I don't mind the cold so much as the ice/snow. Winter is definitely a season of warm and hot yoga classes for me! I joined the yoga hive on an unlimited membership so that's where you'll find me most evenings. :)

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    1. Wow that sounds really nice! My indoor track is like 20 laps for a mile, so it's really tiny! I'll have to start taking hot yoga again. Sounds nice on a cold day!

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  10. I have a half coming up in January but not sure about the spring. It's tough some morning in the winter to change out of my pajamas and get moving but I always know I feel better once I am out there and especially after my workout. That's probably my biggest motivation!

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    1. I'll have to keep that in mind as well. The first step is the toughest, but then it's fun!

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  11. We used to get so much snow here. I remember being a kid and having like 3 feet of snow, our pool would be frozen solid and we'd play on top of it in the snow! Now we don't get any. Like, literally zero snow stuck to the ground last year. I personally hate snow so I'm okay with it. I wouldn't run in it. I'd just run on the treadmill instead!

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    1. Wow, that's crazy! I feel like we used to get a lot more snow in the past, but now there's so many more snow days so maybe it just seemed like more since I was smaller. I love snow, but ice and sleet and slush are gross.

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  12. i really enjoy running with a group for my long runs, we dont talk much but there is something to be said about running with other people that makes it not so lonely. running in the snow, in my head sounds fun, but in real life is probably a little dangerous for the accident inclined. luckily we dont have any snow where i am :)

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    1. I don't think I've ever run with a group for long runs! I've done speed work and easy runs, but never long. Hopefully it'll help motivate me!

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  13. That's so nice that you have an indoor track you can use! Usually in winter I stick to the treadmill when it's icy or snowy, but I'm hoping that now I can do most of my runs outside since snow is a foreign concept in Seattle. I have a half coming up in early March and training starts next week.

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    1. To be honest I didn't know that Seattle didn't get snow! That's crazy to me. Can't wait to follow your training :)

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  14. My favorite way to cross train is to do HIIT workouts, spin class, or strength training. I asked for some winter running gear for Christmas so hopefully that will make me just suck it up when I don't want to run in the cold! Haha

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    1. That's a great idea! Plus then you don't have to worry about spending all that money :) Win/Win!

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  15. Suck it up. YEP. I call it the "plunge": take a deep breath, open the door and exhale as you step into the freezing. Then start moving. Also, find a place where your garmin can get signal (outside) while you stay warm inside, doing your dynamic stretches. But don't let it get stolen while you are doing this. I had that happen.

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    1. Ohh I like that idea a lot! Thankfully my neighborhood is pretty small and safe with lots of wooded areas that I can safely hide my Garmin. Usually I'll just sync it by my window before I head out!

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  16. That is really cool you have an indoor track and wall climbing available. I've rock climbed once and it was so hard, it just tires you out everywhere.. I'm choosing what races I'm going to do next year pretty soon, as then it's easier to motivate myself. Like you say, it's like having a contract.. :)

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    1. It is really hard! I hope that it helps to make me stronger, because right now it just hurts a lot. Can't wait to hear what races you choose!

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  17. i am the worst at staying active over winter as well. i might have to try those yak thingys, though to be honest, i'd probably still fall over. i am so clumsy i have fallen 20 thousand (give or take a few) times in the winter since i moved here. i used to hate the treadmill, but i quite like it now, if only because it means i won't fall on my ass / face and because i feel safe lol. i signed up for a race next april (or may? i can't remember when it is) that i need to train for, i'm excited!

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    1. Nice Kristen!! I can't wait to hear how your training goes! Hopefully you can stay upright :)

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  18. Lol! Thanks for the shout out, but the real reason I only run outdoors is because I'm too cheap to join a gym. :) I'm also scared of ice! I had to deal with it so much last winter--not just running, but dog walking too--that even when it got really warm in spring, I still stepped tentatively on wet spots because I was afraid of ice! I'm definitely going to invest in those Yax Trax. I did those 3 winter races last year and really like them. I'm not sure I'll be doing the 5-miler this year but will be there for the others!

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    1. That's a good reason! I think once we move I won't join another gym, unless I can find a really good/cheap one within walking or biking distance. I think you'll love the Yak Trax, specifically for the river trail! There's always ice and snow there in the winter.

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  19. I am signed up for Big Sur marathon in April! I have only done one marathon before and it was a fall marathon so summer training. Now I moved to Minnesota and signed up for a spring marathon. Yikes! What was I thinking??! LOL.

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    1. That's going to be rough, but you'll be so proud when you finish the marathon! You can do it :)

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  20. In the years I trained for Boston, I ran outside as much as possible but used the mill for speedwork if it was too icy out. My crosstraining was 2 yoga days, 2 strength days and 1 spin day. Just look at your training as non-negotiable. SKipping is not an option. All the best with it and thanks for linking up! I'm totally trying that swim workout. Pinned!

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    1. I definitely have to tell myself that my training plan is my contract and I can't skip out. I love how much cross training you incorporated and I definitely have to step my game up!

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  21. Honestly, I have no shame about treadmill/indoor track running! If it's safer for me to do it indoors I'll do it that way. I bought YakTrax a few years ago and I love them, but since moving to Alaska I've gotten my shoes studded (my running store does it, but you can easily do it at home with a drill and some screws) and it's made a huge difference in my winter running. Good luck with training for Gettysburg - that sounds like such a cool race!

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    1. You're absolutely right Kristen! Do whatever works for you. I just hate the treadmill and always take it really easy (like running at 5.5 when my normal pace outdoors is 7.0). Some people love it, so no shame at all :)Thank you Kristen!!

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  22. Winter is definitely the hardest, especially when it's dark in the morning and your bed is so cozy! But you can do it! I think these are great plans!

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  23. You've got a great plan for the winter! Last year was my first time training in the winter and it was a doozy, but such an amazing experience! I've never used YakTraks but they should definitely be a help if we get another really snowy winter!

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  24. I've been doing a lot of cross training with the elliptical and some free weights. I'm trying to decide if I can live without a treadmill this winter...

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  25. These are all great tips for staying active throughout the winter while training. I trained for a half marathon last winter and since the weather was brutal nearly every run was inside. Hopefully it will be different this year!

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  26. I can only imagine how good it will feel (afterwards) to swim once a week. I did that for about three weeks (haha) and felt awesome, but hated it during. I'm sure my form is terrible!

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