Friday, January 7, 2011

Uggghhh-da running in the winter in MN

The perfect storm has settled in on me against getting my deserved miles: My travel schedule to warm climates is at a standstill and this winter has been absolutely miserable. I actually dont mind the cold... it's the blistering wind that chaps my face in seconds and ice all over the road. I end up running slow, risking injury and not enjoying one minute of my run.

Fortunately, I've been able to successfully move it indoors. It wasnt easy, but I've found some hidden benefits:

1) Company. All year I try to make it a habit to plan runs with a partner, especially long runs. You're less likely to miss a run and you're more likely to stick it out to the end. Running on the treadmill gives you the advantage of running alongside runners that you otherwise would not be able to. I run with a Boston qualified fella that has a tendency to push me when I need it. He can run 7 minute miles while I'm running 9:00 and he never pulls ahead. It also gives you a chance to pay it back a little as well. I see beginners that could use encouragement all the time... It wasn't too long ago when I was struggling to make a mile in 12 minutes.

2) Hill training. Last year when I was training for the twin cities marathon, I was doing quite a bit of work in Seattle. Every run was a hill run. This year I'm in MN where the highest elevetion is the freeway overpass. A treadmill gives you the unique advantage of setting a fixed percentage of your run going up and (if its a good treadmill) a fixed percent coming down. I find that even running a few miles with eleveation at 1 is helpful in  adding endurance.

So I'll continue indoors until the weather warms up a little. At least until the roads a little less trecherous. I have 3 weeks before I start my Grandmas marathon training which I intend to do entirely outdoors!!

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