Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter Long Run Options

I've trained through 2.5 winter seasons for marathons in the past--Green Bay in 2010, Fargo in 2011, and Brookings in 2012 (where I decided mid-March that I COULD NOT RUN ANOTHER G.D. LONG RUN IN SNOW AND FREEZING TEMPS, and let the following weekend's weather determine if I was dropping to the half or not. True story. Well that and the hardest semester of grad school smacking me in the face.

During those training cycles, the longest long run I did on the treadmill was 16 miles. I did several 2+ hour long runs. AND I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I WAS CAPABLE OF DOING THAT. One 16 miler I ran through snow halfway to my knee, at a pace two minutes per mile slower than I was typically doing.

This year, we've been lucky in that our precipation levels have been really low. We haven't had a single massive dumping of snow. We've had a lot of snow, but nothing excessive. But this has been the coldest winter in like 40 years. The temps we were seeing in December are what we're used to seeing for about 10 days in the depths of December. There have been days were only 5 minutes outside would leave you with frost bitten extremeties. Uh, nope!

Since I'm training for a few halfs this spring, instead of a full, my mileage is lower, and my training schedule is a lot easier to flip flop around based on weather. Each week I take a look at the weekly forecast to see the nicest day of the week to get my long run in. This week is as follows:

Uh... Brr.

Friday might be ok, but if there's our regular 10-20 mph winds, that 17 will feel pretty frigid, and push our windchills sub-zero pretty darn fast.

Currently my options include:

  1. Running my 13 miles outside. (yippee!)
  2. Running part outside, and then move in to the treadmill when I'm freezing to death. This would require a wardrobe change prior to the treadmill portion of the run and it may be too convenient to not leave my apartment again....
  3. Run 8-9 on the treadmill in the morning (90 minutes is probably my max sanity level on the TM) and then attempt the remaining 4-5 in the evening on the treadmill.
  4. Forego the LR for this week, split the long run in to two runs, and turn one of them in to an additional speed work for the week. For now, I'm able to do two hard runs per week with (knock on wood!) injuring myself. Long run, and speed work. If I take out the long run, I could get in two speed sessions.
Last weekend's long run was awesome the first half when the wind was at my back. I had such a sweat worked up that by the time we flipped around to head for home, the wind cut right through my coat and layers and froze me to the bone. Wearing my face mask caused condensation to build up inside, and the wind and cold were so bad the last two miles that the inside fibers of the balaclava froze to my cheek. Ouch. 

Can someone just send my 2010/2011 motivation and speediness back to me? kthx

What option would you choose and why? Am I missing something? Will you just come and keep me company on Friday's outdoor long run so I have something to think of other than being freezing? Without Jenn this past Sunday I probably would've called it quits a few miles in!

1 comment:

Lisa @ Cow Spots and Tales said...

The main thing I can say is, I hear you! It's been a frigid winter. I think I've once done 14 on the treadmill, but lately anything longer than 8 or 9 makes me crazy. If I want to avoid doing the whole run outside, I tend to do the treadmill portion first. I'll do an hour or so, then quickly change clothes and head outside. The only bad part is if you're too sweaty it can be chilly when you first start. Hope the wind is low & you can have a good outdoor run.