Confession time, folks. 

With the arrival of December came all kinds of tweets and facebook posts regarding winter training, all asking some variety of the question "Do you train outside when it's cold?"  I proudly responded that I run and bike outside all winter.  I get a kick out of running in crappy weather, and I particularly love running in the snow.  While those things are true, I have to admit that over the past few weeks they don't tell the full story.

First of all, while winter is great mountain biking weather because sub-freezing temperatures mean predictably rideable trails and proper gear allows you to be comfortable even when it's cold, you won't catch me on my road bike in the cold.  Yeah, yeah...I know that there's no bad weather, just bad gear...but I'm honestly not even interested in finding the right gear to make road riding comfortable.  In fact, I'm seriously considering selling my road bike (as anyone who's ridden or run with me lately has heard repeatedly).

Technically not running, but taken during a run...and I like the picture. :)

As for running, I've enjoyed some really great cold-weather long runs, including a couple in the snow.  That said, I have to add a caveat to my winter running.  I love running in the snow, and I don't mind running in the cold...but I'm afraid to try to run fast in the cold and dark.  Now that I'm actually following a training plan (!! I know, right?), the only opportunities to do my weekday runs are before/after work.  That leaves me in the dark, and after a couple of bad nighttime sidewalk falls I'm just not interested in running anything faster than an easy jog if it's dark and/or icy.  Treadmill it is.  In fact, treadmill it's been for every single non-weekend run.  I'm not nearly as tough as I like to think I am.a

Here's what the training looks like so far:

Monday, Jan 7.:
Scheduled: 2 mi easy run at 10:48 pace
Actual: 3 miles--1 mi easy warmup, 1 mi at 8:00 pace, 1 mi easy cooldown; overall pace 10:36.  Basically just wanted to see if I could run an 8 min/mile in the hopes of stringing together three of them in April.  Run on the treadmill because I wanted to be able to time that fast mile.

Tuesday, Jan. 8
Scheduled: rest or cross train
Actual: 4 nighttime miles on muddy trails at 13:50 pace.  I don't like to run two days in a row, but this was my only opportunity to hit trails before Saturday's SHITR half marathon, and I wanted to audition my new trail shoes rather than wear them for the first time in a long race.

Wednesday, Jan. 9
Scheduled: 5 mi speedwork: 1 mi w/u, 3x800 in 4:07 with 400 jogs, 1 mi c/d plus finish out the 5th mile
Actual: Did this after my workout with the trainer, which wasn't optimal, but at least it was an arms/abs day.  I was running short on time, so I abbreviated it a bit.  .75 mi easy w/u, 800 @3:50, 400 recovery jog, 800 @ 3:55, 400 recovery jog, started last speedwork interval at 8 min/mi pace and couldn't hold it, so I just ran .25 mi easy c/d and then headed home.  When I first started talking about going for a 5K PR, Rose said something along the lines of "Be prepared to hurt", and this was the run that reminded me what hurting felt like...and I gave in.  A) I was overreaching on pace, but B) I'm going to need to work on endurance in pushing myself rather than just endurance in dragging myself.

Thursday, Jan 10
Scheduled: Easy 2 miles
Actual: nope. Nothing.

Saturday, Jan. 12
Scheduled: Long run, 7 mi @ 10:48
Actual: 13.1 miles of muddy nighttime trails @ 12:58 at the SHivering Icy Trail Run

**So, basically, though I'm "following a training plan", I haven't done a single workout as directed.  And then I wonder why I don't do better.  That said, I've been running at least once a week since before Christmas.  I know that hardly qualifies as regular training, but it means that I went into Saturday's race, a very informal event put together by friends, better trained than for any race since last February's Castlewood Cup.  While I ended up limping the last 3 miles of the SHITR thanks to my stupid hip, the 4.5 miles my Garmin registered before the battery died showed a 10:xx pace.  That was primarily on fairly smooth doubletrack, but it's still mighty encouraging.  Score one for the plan.

Monday, Jan. 14
Scheduled: 3 mi easy run @ 10:48
Actual: 2 treadmill miles @ 10:58.  Probably should have skipped this run because my hip was still pretty unhappy from the half marathon. 

Wednesday, Jan. 16
Scheduled: 5 mi tempo run: 1 mi w/u, 3 mi @ 9:12, 1 mi c/d
Actual: 1 mi w/u, 3 mi at mostly 9:12 with about a half mile at a faster pace, .5 mi c/d.  Hip was ok, but knee was stiff.  I sound like someone's grandma.

Thursday, Jan. 17
Scheduled: 2 mi at 10:48
Actual: Nothing.  And I don't intend to run these, either.  My body just does better with a day off between runs.

Saturday, Jan. 19
Scheduled: 7 mi @ 10:48
Actual: 9 mile mountain bike ride on Berryman trail.  Ran 8.3 trail miles Sunday @ 12:53

Mountain biking on a seriously beautiful day

Monday, Jan. 21
Scheduled: 3 mi @ 10:48
Actual: 4.8 miles on the mountain bike.  Very nice to have the day off (thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr.) and the freedom to hit the trails, even if my time was limited since my son needed my car.  I may try and substitute a 30 min trainer ride for those Thursday runs. 

Wednesday, Jan. 23
Scheduled: 5 mi speedwork: 1 mi w/u, 2 x 1600 in 8:41 with 800 jogs, c/d
Actual:  We'll see...but it'll be on a treadmill...


  1. I just wanted to take another opportunity to tell you that you're awesome.

    Cause you are.

  2. I think training plans are open to interpretation to some extent. You are so not a poser.

  3. I couldn't scroll past all that training stuff fast enough. Good for you though. A mile on the treadmill is still a mile and you beat everyone on the couch. Blah blah blah. Rock on Kate! I feel obligated to inspire you to run fast in the dark at night though.

  4. At least you are working out consistently - regargless if according to a perfect plan or not. You are a rock star!

  5. It's so rare that i follow a plan exactly as written. They're just guides.

    That you don't follow it to the letter means you have a life. Not that you are a poser.

    And you are way too cool to be a poser :)

  6. You are definitely not a poser or at least I hope not because I am the same way. I don't mind running slow in the dark and cold, but I HATE running fast when I know I might slip--in fact, I can't do it. So if it's speedwork and it's icy, I retreat to the treadmill too.

  7. you are so not a poser....
    come on now...

    I tend to follow the plan...and freak out if something happens and causes me to not follow...
    that is not good...

    also whay Bobbie said...way too cool

  8. I always train outside but we don't have the type of weather you have in winter. I'm impressed Kate! Your training looks awesome!

  9. Total poser, but even if you're not following the plan, it sounds like you're training is going well.

  10. Aren't training plans simply decorative anyway? Seriously... My soon to be patented Don't Run, Run Faster plan is pretty killer ;-)

  11. I run in the gym (treadmill) during the week and outside on weekends. We are running twins.
    It's strange. I will run in almost any temperature on the weekends if I go out first thing. But if I go out later in the day it seems much colder to me and I have no desire to be outside. Hence the treadmill works well.
    My husband saw someone biking to work this morning at 5:30 and it was minus 12 degrees!!!!

  12. Nice solid training to kick off the new year!

    Your " I sound like someone's grandma." comment cracked me up. After bagging two runs due to an ankle issue, I told Cheryl I was really getting old even though I'm in the best shape of my life.

  13. This is why I got a coach, it was an absolute waste of my time to write myself out a plan last year because I never stuck to it ;). But now I have to turn in a log each week and whala, I'm a very strict plan doer! Regardless of my inability to function unless someone tells me what to do, you are doing great and really focused to train right now - that's what this is about, right?!? And you'll get stronger and stronger and you won't even need a plan, you'll get up daily and GO! Keep being strong, SK - you are nailing this training stuff - woohoo!

    btw, if you did a few less local races and save the cost of some entry races, you could make it to Colorado for the Silver Rush. :)

    Love ya!

  14. consistency - you might not be following the plan to a T but you aren't slacking.

    I'm paying big bucks to the guy writing my training plan - I figured he knows what's he's doing more than I do - so I'm cranking all lots of boring slow miles and trusting what he's telling me. We'll see... :)

    Keep it up!

  15. I noticed you didn't workout on the 22nd - WUSS!


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