Thursday, January 13, 2011
Snow and Marathon Training
Today would be day four of not only TONS of snow everywhere (which is lovely, but more challenging to run in), but extremely cold temperatures. Below freezing with windchills of even further below freezing. Now, I know it is January, but this is also the SOUTH! We are not equipped for this (except for Jason, who has the most awesome down coat ever).
I know I should not complain. We received two days off this week because of the snow, and I enjoyed those days immensely. I have enjoyed the beauty of the snow, the building of Runnie the snowman, and even the snowy running adventures alone and with Julia. But now...I just want to run. Down the road. Free of any obstacles or slippery surfaces.
I set out yesterday after work planning for 6 miles and I gave up after 3. It was cold and windy, and although I was dressed for it, I was not in the mood for it. When I came across an entire road that was still iced over, I had to stop and I lost my momentum. I finished that last mile and headed home.
Today I drove to work amazed at all the snow that still remains covering everything. I had already decided today I would not brave the elements again. Jane 3, Snow 1. I think I will hit the treadmill at lunch and then go to my cycling class after work. Good exercise, good cross training, and warmth.
On a brighter (and warmer) note, the weather is supposed to start warming up so that it will be in the balmy 40s and 50s by the weekend. That is perfect for another hard and fast long run or two. Last weekend I knew this weather was coming, and since I've decided to do another marathon in Feb (yes, I know I said I was taking time off from marathoning...I changed my mind) I knew I'd better get in some good training.
By good training, I mean I've got to do some things differently if I want a PR marathon. I think I have endurance down - especially after the 50 mile and more recently being a marathon pacer for Rocket City. It is the speed I lack and the ability to hold it. I've done some reading, consulted Jason, and come up with a few things to try. He uploaded two workouts onto my Garmin and I've decided to do my long runs solo. This is because I focus more on running fast when I am not running my mouth.
Last weekend I did a 15 miler at an average pace of 8:44 per mile. I think I could have done a bit better but I had an amazing headwind to contend with. The next day I knew the weather was coming, so I went for a 6 miler and tried to push the pace. My last two miles were under 8 minutes, giving me an average of 8:16 per mile.
Then came the snow. And maybe it was good to have some slower, more restful days of running before hitting the weekend miles hard again. This weekend I'm going to do another fast (hopefully) 17 or 18 miler on Saturday and then a 10 miler with a friend on Sunday. On Monday we have the day off and so I hope to hit it hard again with a shorter (6-8 miles) run where I push the pace, or do one of the workouts on my watch. I am clustering these runs together in order to train tired limbs to run fast despite the fatigue. It is a bit of shortened ultra training plan (long runs back to back) with more speedwork (trying to push the pace down). I've also incorporated some cross training twice a week with a kick boxing class and a cycling class at the gym. It is not exactly the most ideal cross training, but it is what I can do with the time I have.
All in all it is a mish mash of plans I've read about, plans I've used in my own training and an analysis of my current strengths and weaknesses as a runner. I am hopeful and excited. I think this mind and body are ready to approach and run another marathon. And while the snow may be starting to get on my nerves a bit, I think overall, it has fit into my training schedule perfectly.