workouts

Why I don’t hate winter

As the middle of February approaches, the days are short and the treadmill runs are long. Was it just a few short months ago I was running outside in shorts? As easy as it is to dislike the many challenges of winter, as a runner I've come to enjoy this part of the year. It's a different season of running for me for many reasons.

Increased time on the treadmill 

In 2012 I moved into a building that had a great gym and a treadmill. I've never left. This little basement gym has been a saving grace and has played a big role in my last three spring marathons (Ottawa 2013, Toronto 2015, Ottawa 2016).

With my mornings starting at dark-o-clock, with temperatures -10ºC and below, I often rely on my treadmill for workouts. Not only does this eliminate the risk of icy footing, it allows me to hit paces that I would otherwise have difficulties running in the snow + ice conditions. It also allows me to hoover in high-weekly-mileage territory, with less impact on my legs. After my Achilles injury this summer, I've been paying extra attention to my body while running higher mileage weeks.

That said, the one challenge I do have is getting to the treadmill before anyone else. I know I know, this may sound selfish. But hey. We're marathon training here! And, let's be honest. It's really only one person I compete with (if you watch my instagram stories, you'll understand).

Mental strength 

Treadmill running can be a mental challenge. There’s no change in the scenery, and you're staring at the same place in the wall/out the window for unimaginable amounts of time. Last week, I actually felt a little fuzzy after staring out at the bright white snow for 2.5 hours (32K). Over the years, I’ve managed this by watching movies, listening to podcasts, playing with the speed/incline to keep things interesting.

I also do a lot of thinking on the mill. It’s hard to ignore that voice inside your head when you’re running in the same spot for hours. My thoughts wander from day-to-day things (what am I going to put in my post-run shake, what will I wear today), to deeper things depending on what’s going on at the time. Other times I tune out and JFR.

During these winter months, I am reminded how much progress I have made in the mental strength department. I wasn't always mentally strong. In my early running years, I frequently quit workouts or just plain ole wouldn't do them. Now, I frequently run for hours, often challenging myself with fast-for-me paces. I give a lot of credit to my ability to make my MIND RUN THE BODY.

Strength training 

In the summer I am more likely to spend time outdoors. Whether that's going for a long walk, or doing core work post-run, I find it harder to get myself down to the basement gym. This means I do less strength and cross-training! In the winter, I'm more likely to stay inside for my runs, leaving my conveniently close to the weights. I often do a 30 minute strength training routine post-run, or I'm more inclined to go downstairs for a workout on active rest days.

How do you use the winter months?

Do you run on the treadmill more in the winter?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.

Achilles update & the Graston technique

My left Achilles has been acting up a bit. It’s not a full blown injury at this point, but like any seasoned runner, I knew it was headed that way. When I couldn’t complete my track workout last Thursday, I was a bit bummed. Well, actually a lot bummed. Full disclosure, I came home and was nearly in tears to George. I gave myself one night to have a pity party. I’m in the midst of training for the Hamilton Marathon and have been seeing some strong results in my performance. Being smart and taking this week to focus on recovery is the best thing I could do for myself right now. Instead of moping around feeling sorry for myself {which could be an easy route to go}, I’ve focused on maintaining my fitness and training routine by hitting the stationary bike and elliptical daily. Like my running plan, some days are easy (e.g., steady state, moderate resistance) and some days are harder (e.g., hill intervals, longer sessions). I’ve been watching my heart rate and have been pleased that these workouts are allowing me to get some max heart rate work in.IMG_6944

As for my leg, it’s doing much better. I haven’t tried to run on it, but I can tell the total rest has paid off. Last night, I visited a chiropractor recommended to me for application of the Graston technique. It quickly became clear that I've let my legs get way to tight and need to do a better job at stretching post-run and rolling! Today (Tuesday) I will run 3K easy and see how it feels. I'm heading back for some Graston on Thursday and will see how I feel for the weekend. For now, I will be sticking to flat surfaces and keeping to my Hoka One One's.

Do you have a post-run stretching routine?

Have you tried the Graston Technique? 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

Stationary bike workouts for runners

My achilles tendon has been bothering me for the past five days. It's very hard for me to admit that, but it's true. In the peak of marathon training, it's not unimaginable that {potential} injuries surface and we start to feel niggles in our bodies and legs. On Thursday night at the track, I brought my Hoka One One's for the warm up, with plans to switch into my New Balance 1400s for the track workout (normally I would run the warm up and cool down in the New Balance). However, my left achilles has been bothering me and I didn't want to irritate it more. After about 3K into the warm up, I knew that I wasn't meant to complete the workout.

Track

As any seasoned runner knows, there is a fine line between a niggle and an injury. I'm walking that line and have had a few "real talk" moments with myself, reminding myself that I AM A SMART RUNNER. Easier said than done.

Stubbornness aside, I will be taking the next week OFF of running. Yes, TOTALLY OFF. That's hard to write, but I know that in the long run it will be for the best. I also know that my training is going really well and holding off running for a week will pay dividends vs. continuing to run and getting a full blown injury.

This does not mean that I will be taking it totally off exercising. I will be maintaining my fitness throughout the week by using the stationary bike and other low-impact workouts. I'm very lucky and happen to have a stationary bike in my building.

I find it very helpful to have a written plan for the workout. You can save the workouts below to your phone and use them yourself. By having a workout laid out, the time flies by and I ensure I hit some degree of intensity. This morning, for example, I will be completing the 1.5 hour workout on the stationary bike, in place of my planned 32K run. During the week I will do 3-4 of the 1 hour workouts.

Stationary Bike Workouts for Runners 

Stationary Bike #1

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all.-2

Let me know how it goes!! 

Jayme