Wow! It’s over halfway through January already. That means two things to me; we are in the middle of winter in Ohio AND we should be settling into our Cap City training routine. Those two things are often at odds however, because as much as we intend to follow the training schedule it can be downright impossible to run outside when the air temperature tops out at -5 degrees! It is possible to stick to your training and build your base even during this crazy weather!
Early consistent miles are our base for the rest of the program. It may seem like a 2 or 3 mile run isn’t all that important, but the weekly miles are the building blocks for the longer miles later in the program. If you only do the long runs you will be stressing your body each weekend without having enough build miles during the week. However, this time of year with the talk of a polar vortex every other week it can be difficult or even dangerous to run outside. Sooooo, what do we do?
First choice – run as scheduled
Obviously, if we had a choice we’d be outside running our miles in sunny warm weather or even in dark 40 degree weather. Not always possible. A little creativity can go a long way though. Often the weekday miles are short enough that you can sneak them in during lunch when it is warmer. The boss may not love that idea, so next best option is to run on a treadmill or track. I know that a treadmill can be downright boring, but find something to keep you entertained during those miles. It could be music, a TV show, a movie, or tune into how you feel, whatever gets you through the workout.
Second choice – shift the schedule around within reason
The schedules are set up on specific days for a reason. However, mainly it is that I don’t want too many running days in a row when the miles get high OR when there is a speed workout involved (for the intermediate plans). The quality workouts have not started yet, so the speed workouts are not an issue yet. So right now, meaning January, you can adjust the weekday miles. Don’t move a weekday workout to Sunday (the day after your long run). Try not to cram all your runs together in a 4 day span. You can move a workout here or there though. If for example, you can’t run on Thursday this week you can move it to Friday. Realize though, that you are now running the day before your long run and you may feel more tired during your long run the next day. So take that into consideration and slow down if necessary on your long run. If you have specific questions, email me and we can figure it out. Sometimes we may decide that a particular workout is better left undone, while others we might want to fit in somehow. Ask me, that’s why I’m here!
Third choice – skip a workout but do not make a habit of it
Sometimes you simply cannot make it happen. That’s ok. Truly, one or two workouts missed will not derail your training. I’d much rather you skip a workout than try to cram 4 of them together, only to tire yourself out for the next week. This is a progression that happens over months, not days. Life (and weather) get in the way sometimes and that’s normal. We all want to be working toward lifelong healthy living so we have to make our workouts work FOR us on our terms. If you honestly cannot get your workout in, don’t sweat it as long as you don’t miss them regularly.
On a positive note, can you tell that we are in fact gaining sunlight now? I noticed that at 5:15pm it was still light outside! It’s not 9pm, but we’re heading in that direction now. My running partner at OSU Professor Greg always reminds me that on average this time of year is the coldest and once we make it through this part, it can only get better. I personally am looking forward to those crisp April mornings and warm afternoons, so that’s what I’ll be thinking about on my treadmill tonight! Happy training!