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.


  1. I'm so impressed by this. My first reaction when I woke up and saw all the snow on Monday was "I can justify my laziness this week! Woot woot!" And you wrap your feet in plastic and take off running.
    You're my inspirational Jane Fonda of the 21st century, Jane Renau. ;-)

  2. Ha ha ha, you are so funny. You know, the first two days it was in the 30s and not bad, so it was like a little adventure. That third day (and today) it was just plain cold and not as fun.

    And today's gym run got nixed because I forgot my shoes. So my lunch break was spent going to get them so I could cycle tonight. But at least all of that is INSIDE! :)

  3. I am ready to see some runnable (is that a word?) roads as well! I am tired of the snow and have gotten in some treadmill, but please!! I did 6 boring miles today but at least it's done. I plan on swimming a little tomorrow and maybe a few more miles then looking forward to running on Sunday! Good job on the speedy runs...excellent times! Excited for your upcoming marathon and can't wait to see how you do (and stand at the finish cheering for you) Well, I may be sitting after running the half, but you know what I mean, ha!!

  4. You are nicer about the snow than I am...I am ready for it to be gone! I haven't run outside all week long and I need to very badly. I cant believe you were able to get three in. I don't know if I will ever get to run steps again being that they are covered in ice as well. Welcome....spring!

  5. Most Australian's just can't comprehend the idea of snow running...although our recent weather means we are all doing a little wet weather running. I take my hat off to anybody who steps out the in the snow ready for a run!!!

  6. Good job trying to run in the snow...I have been inside all week! And I think your focus on speed is a good one. The 8:44 15-miler is a great long run when you are shooting for an 8:23 (is that right?) pace for the marathon.

  7. Emily, hang in there! It is supposed to warm up this weekend and I'm hoping this stuff will melt!

    Scott, we southerners don't know what to do with all of this snow either! I am originally from Florida, so I'm not used to it at all. It was fun and adventurous for a while...then just annoying. ;)

    Thanks, Katie. I'm thinking (hoping) for something around an 8:30ish pace for the seems so beyond what I can do but I would've said that about the we shall see. I'm excited about trying.

  8. GO JANE!! Sounds like a great plan! Good job getting out at all in this mess.

  9. I'm training for an April marathon and have a 16 mile run on schedule for Sunday. With 8 inches of fresh snow on the trail and bitter temps forecasted I'm not looking forward to it. I was looking for some inspiration but I'm not sure I found it, though it is comforting to know there are others out there as insane as I am.

  10. Tanner, snow and cold running weather is hard, but doable. If you have a marathon in April, it sounds like you've got plenty of time to get in the mileage you need, despite the weather lately. GOOD LUCK!