Oh hey there Mostly Fitness-ers! Let me introduce myself. I’m Erin and I blog over at Running Tall. I’m SUPER pumped to be guest posting for my fellow Saskie, Lils!
Repping the Saskatchewan Roughriders. FYI for everyone out there, I’ve just now officially dubbed “Saskie” as a new term, meaning “awesome people who live in Saskatchewan”. Spread it around.
If there’s one thing us Saskies are more than familiar with its
shotgunning beer at a Rider game brutal winters.
Snow that stays for months on end, wind chill warnings, and temperatures dipping into the sub 40s Celsius. So what did I do? I signed up a half marathon in February 2012. Specifically, the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Florida!
This meant I would be training during Saskatchewan’s peak winter months – December, January and February. Obviously, I was a bit off my rocker when I signed up.
In the end I made it work and had an amazing race and the time of my life.
So now that I have one half marathon under my belt, I’m pretty much the world expert on running. I’m so surprised the Canadian track team wasn’t banging down my door begging me to be on their team. There’s always 2016! Rio De Janeiro, watch yo back.
But for real, training for a half in Canadian winter wasn’t too difficult. Here are a few tips for those of you facing this dilemma.
1. Meet your new BFF.
I did 99% of my training on the treadmill since I scored a wicked cheap Gold’s Gym membership. Another option would be to get a pass at your local track facility and make use of the track. Running outside could be an option in locations where the winters are milder, but I have zero experience with that. I know that there are grips you can put on the bottom of your running shoes that help you grip the ice and other tools. But honestly? I will take running on a treadmill in a heated gym over running outside during Saskatchewan winters ANY DAY.
To be honest, I was ready to sledgehammer the treadmill after my first few training runs.
What the treadmill felt like to me at first.
After the first mile, I was INSANELY bored and would get distracted very easily by all the activity around me. To combat this, I schedule my runs during my favorite TV shows. Knocking out 4.5 miles was easy peasy thanks to Four Weddings, New Girl, and Cougar Town. My long runs fell on Sundays and I could usually count on a Criminal Minds or Storage Wars marathon, or at least a decent movie to keep me occupied.
Oh Derek Morgan. How you saved my life on dreadful long runs.
2. Mimic a road: Since it’s always best to train on the terrain you’re running on and I obviously wasn’t, I always put the incline up to 1 to resemble the resistance of the road.
Keeping up my half marathon training in Panama! No excuses. The treadmill is your friend.
This trick worked! I didn’t feel anymore fatigued during the half than I did on my long runs. Success!
3. Get localized. Get to your race location a few days ahead of time to get familiar with the change in temperature, humidity, altitude, etc. Try to get in at least 1 taper run done in the environment you’ll be racing in. In my case, I made a vacation out of it, or a “racecation” and enjoyed the Florida sun for a week.
Just one of the many glorious pictures taken at DisneyWorld
In between roller coasters and sun tanning, I squeezed in 2 taper runs in the heat and humidity. I was glad I did since I was mentally prepared for the possible high temperatures on race day (although it was a cool and overcast morning the day of the half – perfect running weather!).
4. Find a training plan you love. This is a tip for training for a race in general, but it doesn’t hurt to have a fantastic training plan that you look forward to doing! It’s difficult enough to get bundled up and drive to the gym in the middle winter, make sure you’re excited to complete your training!
I started with Self magazine’s training plan, but decided to switch it up halfway through my training. I wasn’t excited to do my runs and I just wasn’t jiving with the plan. So I turned to Hal Higdon! His plans worked really well with my full time work schedule and my running style in general. I loved his plan so much – I did the Novice 1 plan – that I’m using his intermediate plan for my upcoming September half!
So those are my amazing tips for training for a race in the heart of winter. I promise, you won’t go insane on the treadmill. But you know what? Even if you do go cray cray, crossing that finish line and that glorious racecation in a place that’s NOT a winter wasteland will be worth it!
Just call me ridiculously photogenic girl.
Feel free to come see me at Running Tall if you want to talk running, food, or whatever you want! We can talk about how horrible winters are and bond over less than attractive race photos among other super cool things.
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