By Coach Lora Erickson, www.BlondeRunner.com
As a runner and triathlete for over 28 years I am a big advocate for cross training; it’s always fun to throw new things into workouts to keep them fun and fresh. Winter is the perfect opportunity to do this. Some of the things you might consider including are: snowshoeing, new gym classes, cross-country skiing, elliptical, indoor cycling, yoga, swimming, indoor surfing etc.
Outdoor Running Tips & Gear
While it’s fun to add new things; it is still important to include key workouts to maintain sport specific fitness. Running is probably one of the most important activities and can be utilized in nearly every sport. Personally I prefer to run outside even in the winter; simply I love the outdoors and running on a treadmill utilizes muscles differently than outdoor running. I believe that if I want to do well in races I need to mimic conditions I face, so outdoor running is best. However, there are several barriers when it comes to running outdoors. In the 28 years I have run and competed I have not fallen from slipping on ice, so if you are careful you can do it safely. To do this I usually try to land more flat footed and minimize my calf push-off. This gives me more surface contact, and while it might slow me down it keeps me from slipping. I often look for areas that have been plowed or shoveled or are dry. If you do run in the road you should be facing oncoming traffic and be mindful not to impede drivers or cause them to go into other lanes with oncoming traffic. When I first started running outdoors years ago we didn’t have nearly the selection of tights and gloves/hats etc that are now readily available. We now have everything we need to run out door all winter in any kind of weather. Usually I wear a pair of tights, a double layer on the top with a hat/ear warmers and gloves do the trick for me. If it’s below 30 I add a light jacket (the 3rd layer). If I am going to be running in deep snow, a great workout, I often wear gators to keep the snow out of my shoes. I also recommend using trail running shoes in the winter as they are less “airy”, more “water proof” and get better traction. Wearing reflective gear and lights are always a bonus with the reduced daylight in cold weather months and make you more visible to traffic and others.
I realize that some people, especially Moms with young children are often confined to running on a treadmill at home or in the gym while others just prefer running indoors because of the weather or inversion. If you do choose a treadmill workout, I would suggest exploring the interval workout feature on your treadmill at least once a week. This will improve your speed in races. Be sure to also do a pace workout like a tempo or steady-state run once a week. Treadmills are great for this because they give you constant feedback. It may be boring and difficult to get that long run in on the treadmill once a week, but you might consider splitting it up and doing the first part on the treadmill and then adding an extra layer and gloves and heading outdoors and finishing up your run that way. Be aware that while the temperature change may feel great at first, realize it can dissipate your heat quickly leaving you chilled, so remember to dress in layers to allow for adjustments as needed. Also, be careful when you start to run outdoors regularly after putting a lot of miles in on a treadmill over the winter. Allow your body to adjust by easing in so you don’t end up injured. Running outdoors is generally harder on your body than using a treadmill so I recommend reducing your overall mileage by 10-15% the first 2-3 weeks to allow your body to adapt. Treadmills often provide more “give” or cushion than the non-forgiving asphalt or concrete. Trail running is another great option to help you adapt quicker.
Staying motivated can also be a challenge in the winter, but one of the best ways to stay motivated is to have some units of measure that show that you are making progress. For example do a timed mile every week and try to improve it. Or do as many push-up as you can do in a minute and test yourself each week. Also, keep in mind that “summer bodies are earned in the winter.” It takes work and consistent effort to make progress. Decide in your mind that exercise and eating right will be a part of your day once-and-for-all instead of debating it with yourself every day. This way you are spending your time figuring out what works best for your schedule instead of “IF” you are going to exercise. Don’t make it a matter of “if” but “when”. Be strong in your resolve so you can surpass all those that give-up shortly after the New Year has begun. Do it for your long term health and to feel better. A little time spent in the gym now can mean more healthy time with your family in the future.
Training with others and hiring a coach that will keep you accountable is also a great way to stay motivated and make measureable progress. As a USATF certified running & triathlon coach for over 18 years I have seen huge improvement with my athletes that would otherwise struggle to go at it alone and did for some time with disappointing results. With coaching help they were able to exceed their goals and reach new levels of success and achievement. As I always like to say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Becoming informed is more than just reading books and searching the internet. You can’t replace experience and in-person support. A coach can really open your eyes to new ways of training and push you to your own true potential. Coaches are often the needed cheerleader to provide the support on your health journey needs. You don’t have to be an advanced athlete to hire a coach; many “average non-athletes” have become elite athletes because of coaching help. Beginners should be encouraged to seek out coaching assistance. Come join one of my classes or coach team training programs and get the information and training you need to stay motivated and excel.
Live Well & Stay Healthy,
Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner is a USATF certified running coach and nationally ranked triathlete. She loves the opportunity to work with athletes to help them reach their true potential. She has swimming, running, triathlon and nutrition classes and programs available. To learn more about how you can get involved in her classes or services visit www.BlondeRunner.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Upcoming Blonde Runner Classes: http://blonderunner.com/2014/01/upcoming-blonde-runner-classes-4/
Upcoming Blonde Runner Classes:
Small Group Swimming Class: Jan. 15, 9:15 p.m. Pre-reg required. Limited Spots. **Message Coach Lora at email@example.com to learn how to reserve a spot**
This swimming class is now FULL. If you’d like to be involved in the next one please message firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be contacted with the next date when it has been set.
Triathlon Training Class: Feb. 11, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Limited spots. Learn more
Endurance Nutrition Class: March 18, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Limited spots. Learn more
Running Form Class: Date and time TBD.
5K/10K Training Class: Learn more
Kids Triathlon Training Class: TBD
If you are interested in any class please message me to get on the interest list and/or reserve a spot.
By Coach Lora Erickson, BlondeRunner.com
As a coach and triathlete/runner for over 28 years I am often asked these questions. As you might have guessed, the answers vary depending on each person’s needs but I think it is helpful to offer some general guidelines that can help you make better racing and training plans.
How much time do I need to train?
The answer to this question is different for everyone depending on experience, fitness level and race length. As a general rule I would suggest a person with average fitness following a good plan at least 6-8 weeks to train for a 5K (walk-run to finish), 7-12 weeks for a 10K, 4-6 months to train for a half marathon and 6 months or more for a marathon (longer for a first, or shorter for those with more experience). As for a triathlon, that depends very much on your experience with each discipline, but it’s reasonable to complete a first-time sprint distance event within 8-12 weeks with good coaching.
How much time do I need to train each week?
Most people can get really fit in 7-12 hours per week if they are doing the right things. That is about one to two hours most days of the week. More hours are needed to prepare for longer distances (ie. Marathon, 70.3, Ultra or Ironman events).
What Do I Do?
This question can be tricky to answer and as a coach, much of my time is spend designing specific training plans to meet individual needs which can vary drastically. In general all good training plans should include these components; Cardiovascular training (endurance), Strength Training, Mental Training, Recovery, Flexibility & Nutrition.
All of these components are vastly important and interconnected. I find that athletes that get injuries repeatedly are usually missing one or more of them. Don’t let that be you. Although I will not be able to cover each area in depth in this article there are a few tips I can give you.
Cardiovascular training includes training at a lower intensity for a longer period of time (cardio). This will improve your endurance and help the body learn to process oxygen more effectively and increase blood volume. Pacing work is also essential to improve endurance running performance as well. An example of pace work would include tempo or steady-state runs. I believe cardiovascular training should consume the majority of the workout time for a runner or triathlete.
Be sure to include some resistance or strength training into your routine two or three times per week. This can toughen up joints and increase muscle mass to rev up the metabolism and shape the muscles. Your body can also withstand long workouts and this type of training can prevent injury. Be careful not to overdue weight training or you will be carrying around more muscle then you need to which can be detrimental to your overall endurance race performance.
To train yourself mentally be sure to include difficult and high intensity efforts into your training. This will help you develop more mental stamina and build your confidence as well as improve your overall fitness and ability to perform. Be careful not to overdue these types of workouts, it can lead to burn out and/or injury. One to three workouts of this type are ample per week.
Recovery Training includes things like proper rest, cryotherapy (read a recent review), ice, foam rolling, proper cool-down, etc…This should be done in some shape or form daily. Flexibility can also be included here and is often neglected which contributes to injury. As we age it becomes more important to stretch to maintain our muscles elasticity. Consistency is key to get the maximum benefits.
And last but not least proper nutrition is essential. This includes avoiding highly processed foods and eating more whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. Staying hydrated is also incredibly important and often neglected (Cellular Hydration Article). Timing is critical when it comes to properly fueling our body so be sure and pay attention to when and what you are consuming. You may even want to consider a food journal. Be sure to eat to fuel your body and integrate all these components into your training plan for a successful race season.
Coach Lora Erickson aka Blonde Runner is a USATF certified running coach and nationally ranked triathlete. She loves the opportunity to work with athletes to help them reach their true potential. To learn more about her classes or services visit www.BlondeRunner.com or contact her at email@example.com
I love to work with my hands and make crafts, especially with food. I make chocolate suckers, gift baskets, artistic fruit and vegetable garnishes, paint landscapes and work with wood and Fimo clay (wood/fimo pens, beads etc). I would like to produce some sketches, sculptures and other art to sell. I love to get my family involved in my projects too. My husband is especially good with wood and makes walking sticks, small furniture, handcrafted antler keychains/pens, custom vinyl stickers etc to sell. My son also has some great paracord projects. Special orders welcome. Message Coach Lora Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Look at some of the things we make. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CoachLorasHandicrafts/photos/
This sketch makes me laugh. Love it! Enjoy!
Coach Lora Erickson
Check out the latest Blonde Runner Newsletter update http://eepurl.com/JWpIP
This looks so yummy. I will have to give it a try.
~ Coach Lora Erickson
This looks so good and super simple. Yum!
~ Coach Lora Erickson
I am a big believer in the importance of family meal time. It is not always easy to do, but it’s fun and in our family often entertaining to sit down and eat as a family. Here’s a great article on ideas to make it easier for your family to sit down together. Read the story
~ Coach Lora Erickson
Want to learn more about healthy eating? Take my Healthy Cooking Class. To see when the next one is offered message me at email@example.com