Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Joys of Winter Training

The Holidays are done, and its a start of a new decade, a new year and a new month.....and the motivation is running high among athletes, myself included. Along with the big gear up towards more training has come more snow and frigid cold making training interesting. My coach has loaded me up with some good training hours and workouts. He is "down under" right now where they are having a heat wave which must have gotten to him when he wrote my schedule...(ha j/k), so I have been using my creativity getting the training in. This is not my favorite time of year. I don't mind snow but despite frigid cold, and no the sun being out doesn't help, when it negative 20 out. But I'm not going to whine about the cold and living in Chicago in the winter this time. Instead....here, in no particular order are a few of the good things about winter training while living in the Midwest.

Indoor biking: you won't be burned out on the usual "bike routes" by the time your first race comes around. Months of riding indoors will give you a break from the outdoor scene and you will have the joy of that first outdoor ride to look forward to.

Tempo runs on the treadmill: when the tempo run appears on the schedule and the roads are covered with snow/ice and its -15 out, the treadmill is not a bad option. I am not a treadmill lover, I'd rather be outside any day, but reverting to the treadmill does allow you to set a pace higher than you would out in the snow and cold. The treadmill is also good for foot speed, and turnover, which may slow down when outside in the cold

The long run: the day the long run shows up on the schedule and it is again, -20, and snow and ice are down, this is an even tougher choice. What option can I come up with here to make this the best workout possible. This is way to long on the treadmill, just to go easy. My option this past week was snow shoe running along the trail. It is wooded and more sheltered from the cold. Plus it is hard. I went off the trail, and around the Campton cyclocross course, plowing my own way through shin deep snow...yes still running. I wasn't sure I would last the duration of my scheduled long run, but was having so much fun the time flew by. When I was done, I felt like I had run through the mountains of Colorado, because my legs were so tired.

Swimming: this one is good for those with swim limiters! No excuses, because the pool temp is always the same no matter what its like outside, and if your cold going to and from the pool, there is always the hot tub and sauna to help. Splish, Speedo and TYR also get to cash in keeping me going to the pool when its cold. New suits always make it more fun to swim!

New music: I listen to my ipod more than usual while during during the winter months. In the summer and outside, biking and running I seem to forget about it, but I am not a t.v. watcher when training indoors, so coming up with new and motivating songs to keep me going for several hours can be fun. My playlists have old forgotten and new never heard of music of all different categories to make the time go by.

More likely to make it to end of season in 1 piece: training outside year round might lead to more burnout and injury, while cold and nasty weather might keep you under control through part of the season and keep you from over training. Midwesterners might not be in top form at the first race of the season, but potentially less burned out and less injured come the late season races.

Destination training: living in the cold gives you the excuse to plan some get away camps and training trips to escape the cold. Traveling to Arizona, California, or wherever the warm spot may be is a motivation in itself to keep the winter training going. Knowing you will be climbing Mt. Lemmon one day soon can keep you on the taininer a little longer. Plus, while away, you are for the most part able to focus more on training and recovery when there are, with fewer distractions of work and day to day chores that face you at home.

Stay Warm!

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