Winter running plans: check!

winter-running-kickYesterday after our Sunday slow 10K Anita and I sat down at our favourite diner and laid out our training plan for the Key West Half Marathon that we’re doing with Rebecca in January.

Well, we didn’t map out the entire plan. Just the long runs that we’re doing together between now and when I leave for Christmas on December 24th (fingers crossed that there are no travel delays!).

If we stick to it perfectly every weekend between now and December 23rd, increasing 1K per week starting with 12K on Sunday, we can do a 21K together just before I leave. Then we just need to find two more days a week to get in shorter runs: a tempo and some speed work.

No problem, right?  There’s something so reassuring about putting a plan down on paper. But right away, as we waited for our breakfast, we started to see the potential for a break down in the plan.

First of all, there are weekends that one or another of us is going to be traveling. That’s not so bad in these early days, but when we start getting above 15K, running alone in an unfamiliar place gets more challenging.

Then there’s the minor issue of the taper coming a bit sooner than is ideal. I mean, race day isn’t until January 15th. So we need to sneak in at least one, perhaps two, longish runs after our 21K on December 23rd.

And also, as Anita pointed out, it’s cold and flu season. What if one of us gets sick?

Lately I’ve gravitated toward the 80-20 thing. I know there are all sorts of applications of this–from “20% of the people do 80% of the work” to Matt Fitzgerald’s “80% of your training should be at a low intensity, 20% at high”. But my application is even simpler: if I have a plan, I’m perfectly satisfied if I hit 80% of it in any given week.

So between the 3 runs, 2 swims as my cross training, 2 sessions with my personal trainer, a yoga class, and my round trip 10K walking commute 3 times a week, there is no tragedy in missing a couple of those things. My only qualification is that I can’t miss the same thing too many weeks in a row. And I definitely do not want to be missing out on my long runs more than a couple of times even if it means doing the same out and back or loop because I’m in a strange place.

So that’s training for the Key West Half.

I’ve also signed up for Around the Bay again. It’s on March 26th. Granted, the 2015 Around the Bay 30K was not my best moment. This time I’m doing the two-person relay with Julie. Only 15K each instead of 30K. Not nearly as daunting, and I think I’ll sign up for the training clinic anyway since that will keep me going through the winter.

I know winter running might not sound appealing to everyone, what with the cold and the snow and the ice and the wind. But with the right gear and when the pavement is reasonably clear, it’s easier than summer running. I’ve encountered more prohibitive conditions on hot and humid summer days than on most winter days. So I’m pretty excited about the winter plan.

Not that I’m in a rush to get through this latest warm spell we’re having in October. But with a couple of winter goals and a plan, I feel kind of excited about the months to come.

What about you? Do you have a winter plan yet?

10 thoughts on “Winter running plans: check!

  1. You’re right that putting things down on paper helps clarify what you’re doing and helps commitment. I’m planning on winter riding this year, depending on snow and ice and clear roads. A racing friend just had knee surgery, so she’ll be starting on-road recovery in about 8 weeks. So this will be perfect for me– I can ride with her at a slow pace (for her), and get the motivation and companionship of a riding buddy. And yoga is on the books for 2x a week. Plus xc skiing, but it’s so weather-dependent I can’t count on it as a steady part of my activity week. I’ve been thinking about strength training– will blog about any progress I make. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

    1. Sounds like a good combo of things (when you mentioned cross-country skiing I thought back to your winter a couple of years ago: be careful what you wish for!). I love strength training. What’s great about it is that you definitely see regular results if you do it consistently. The reps get easier and then it’s time to raise the weight to make it hard again, and so on. I find that really satisfying. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Putting plans on paper is extremely satisfying and further helps in executing plans either perfectly or flexibly. 🙂 I hope everything works out for you greatly. Best wishes.

  3. Sounds good. Glad you’ve come around my “plan lots and do most it, without guilt” method of training! Also, the walk sounds impressive in kilometres like that. That’s a lot of walking. Question: Are you bike commuting at all these days? Or are you close enough that walking feels better. I know some days I think my ride isn’t long enough to give me the mental space I need between work and home….these days it’s such a lovely commute with all the colours.

    1. I really fell in love with the walk over the summer, so lately that’s what I’m doing on the days I don’t need to drive. I find it more relaxing than the bike, which goes by too quickly and also, for some reason, gets me into more of a hurry mode rather than a leisure mode.

  4. Winter running has always been easier for me too. Just debating if I’m going to do 530am runs this winter or keep trying to push the jogger all winter? Best of luck on your at least 80% goal!

  5. Inspiring. I am training for the Bataan Death March Memorial Marathon in Alamogordo coming up in March and you’ve inspired me to write down a plan. Many people hike or march it with a 35 pound pack. I’ll be carrying a lighter pack. We’ll be walking on desert trails, in hiking boots, so it’s easy to think, heck that should be easy to train for. However, I’ve heard from others that its a tougher course than you’d think. Thanks for the reminder to plan ahead.

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