Training for a spring marathon means winter running. Plain and simple. There’s no way around it. For me, this normally has meant many hours on the treadmill. While it's got the job done, I’m confident my performance would be better if I took more runs, particularly my long runs, outside. This year I plan to change that. I know that winter running, especially for those of us in blistery cities (Ottawa most definitely being one of them), is no easy task. Unlike a treadmill run, gearing up for 35km in -25ºC temperatures requires a bit more planning and prep. That is why I wanted to share my top 5 things to support your winter training and spring marathon goals:
1. Gear up.
Know what your up against and prepare for it. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This means a good water proof and wind resistant coat and 1-2 underlayers depending on the temps. Some of my favs include: Saucony Wascal Cap, Saucony Run Mitt, Helly Hansen base layer and my Mountain Hardwear all-weather jacket.
2. Wear proper shoes.
For me, this means tucking my beloved Cliftons away and pulling out trail shoes. Ice stinks to run on, period. Find a shoe that gives you a little more traction than your regular running shoe. With that said, don’t jeopardize your running form just for the hottest new gortex shoe. Having had plantar facitis in the past, I’m picky about the fit of shoes. That’s why I’m sticking with Hoka One One’s and planning to try their trail Challenger ATR out this season.
With that said, know when to stay inside on an indoor track or treadmill. No matter how much fancy gear and shoes you have, slick roads are not your friend.
3. Register for a race.
Let’s face it, motivation is a very important factor in training for a spring race. You have to have a good reason to get out of bed on those dark cold mornings. For me, having a race in the not-so-distant future really helps the training process. I know that spring and summer PBs are made in the snowy winters. On my agenda, I have Run for Reach half marathon planned for early April, which I will use a training race for the Ottawa Marathon.
4. Make yourself accountable.
Weather that’s joining a running group, training with a coach or writing a blog, put things in place to keep you chasing after it. I used to keep my goals and plans pretty low-key, because of my fear of disappointment. I’ve realized that nothing really comes of that. Putting your goals out there, whether on social media or in conversation with friends and family, allows you to engage in a dialogue and ultimately keeps you accountable for your training.
5. Build a support network.
Related to accountability, it makes a world of difference if your family, friends and network are supportive of your goals. I’m lucky to have a family who runs and understands my crazy endeavors. I really do not know how I would do it without their support. If you find yourself without this support, reach out to networks such as #RunChat on Twitter and Instagram, and if your local, #RunOttawa2016.