Monday, March 10, 2014

The positive effect of winter training on early season running

With Premiermilen quickly approaching at the end of March, I've decided to adjust my training regimen and focus more on running this month while reducing the number of strength training sessions. Last month, I managed over 11 hours of combined weight, circuit (e.g. Tabata) and cross-training. (If you missed my post about cross-training on gymnastics rings, it's worth a look as those are some of the best exercises I've ever done for building lean muscle and balance.) But while most of my strength routines include some running intervals over short distances, I haven't been accumulating any real distances--in February I got out just four times for a total of 35 km. So starting on March 1, I began following a more aggressive running plan and already I've managed 50+ km in the first 10 days of the month.

Today I got out at lunchtime and ran a 12+ km a third of the way around Walloxen. The middle 6 km was a "tempo run" where I tried to maintain an aggressive, race-like pace. As I pushed up the final hill, I started thinking about what a difference a year can make, and having data at hand makes that easy to see. Last year in March, I was running 6 km runs once or twice a week with a pace of around 4:38 / km. Today, I covered 6 km at a pace of 4:15 / km in the middle of a 12 km run.

You can really see where the tempo run kicked in (and ended) by looking at the trace from my watch:

What are those drops in speed at 9.5 and 11 km? Well, those were some pauses to snap some great photos of the run and the fantastic scenery that we have here in Knivsta. The Ledingev├Ągen is one of my favorite routes for both running and biking and the fields leading up to Noors Slott are just fantastic. Then of course Walloxen, our local lake, is a beauty in itself and today I saw that the ice is out which maybe means that kayaking can start soon.

So running, paddling (and cycling!) are all in full swing early this year, but I'm not giving up totally on the strength training. At least 1X/week, I plan to keep doing a longer weight training session, and I've compiled all of my favorite exercises into a single routine which I hope will be good for maintenance purposes. I'll post that routine later in the week for those who are interested to maybe pick up a new move or two.

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