Winter Training Blues…




I live in Maine. It snows a lot. And it’s cold. This winter has been no exception. I can’t complain too much because I choose to live here. If I really hated the cold and the snow then I would probably move south or to California. I will admit, I’m definitely thinking south or west coast for graduate school in a few years! Wouldn’t it be fabulous if I could ride my bike year-round outside instead of spinning in place for countless hours!?

Triathlon training thus far as gone well; but, I’ll be honest; I’ve missed some workouts and/or moved some round due to weather. I’ve found that it’s hard to swim when all the pools close early due to storms! It’s hard to run on ice! And it’s hard to get out of bed in the early mornings when the temperature is -20 degrees!

Excuses, excuses! This is has been a hard winter for training. I’ve discussed this with multiple athletes and we’re all in the same boat – spending countless hours on the trainer and/or treadmill! I’m beginning to feel like a hamster – around and round on a hamster wheel I go….

I’m lucky that I live in Maine where we have miles upon miles of trails that I can cross-country ski or snowshoe on. There’s plenty of ski mountains for downhill skiing and several fabulous hot yoga studios to warm up in afterwards. You know what they say… when life gives you lemons, make lemonade…

This past Fall I was out for several months with yet another hip-related issue where I wasn’t allow to run (or really do anything). I was finally able to resume running again around Thanksgiving. Winter began early this year in Maine and I soon found the roads too snowy, icy, and cold. Okay, perhaps I’ve become a total wuss this year!

Due to my injury, I’ve been taking my run training slowly. I’ve missed quite a few runs this winter due to icy roads and have done many on the treadmill (or as I affectionately call… the dreadmill). As much as I love running outside, I’ve decided to be smart and not run if the conditions are bad. I don’t want to risk injuring myself now as I just come back from an injury. It sucks, but I hope in the long run, it will pay off. Instead, I’ve spent more time on my bike than I have in a long while during base training and also strength training.

Oh, have I missed strength training! I’ve been participating in one or two circuit classes at Zone 3 Fitness (where I teach spin classes!) and a Pilates class once a week. In just a few short weeks I have already felt a difference in strength, especially in my core and hip region.

Source (Photo by Francis Bompard/Agence/Zoom/Getty Images)

Source (Photo by Francis Bompard/Agence/Zoom/Getty Images)

Here are a few of my tips to get through this cold and snowy winter:

  • Can’t run? Try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing!
  • Feeling weak? Add strength training into your training program. You can hit the gym or try out various strength-focused classes at a gym or studio.
  • Cold? Try a hot yoga class. Your muscles will thank you and you’ll warm up fast!
  • Bored on the trainer? Try watching a movie or listen to podcasts. Also add intervals into your workout to break up the time and for a more productive workout. Check out three workouts that I posted a month ago: A Few of My Favorite Indoor Trainer Rides!
  • Tired of the same ole’ routine? Try something new. Have you always wanted to try boxing? Or martial arts? Do something to keep you motivated and moving!

Spring will be here in about 6 weeks. At least on the calendar it will. Who knows when all this snow will melt though! Sometimes you just need to embrace the “suck” of winter and stay active. Just remember, athletes are made in the winter months! It may be cold and snowy, but there are plenty of ways to get in shape for the summer season.

~ Happy Training!

Base Training: Week Three & Four (aka Slacker Roundup)

Ok, so I’ve been totally slacking on the whole blogging thing. I haven’t posted in 10 days! Yikes! However, this week was very hectic with work and my schedule got slightly off and I felt a little under the weather about mid-week.

Week 3 was mostly heart rate testing. I posted previously about my bike HR test and I did my run HR test on the Saturday in a blizzard that completely shut down Portland! Just kidding! BUT, it was snowing and there was about 2 inches of snow on the Eastern Trail where I had planned to run on so I ditched that idea and ran laps on Marginal Way. I’ve never seen traffic on Marginal Way before, but apparently it is a busy road, at least midday on a Saturday. There was also about an inch of snow of the side of the road so it made running anything fast hard. I attempted my 15 minutes of running with all I had, but it was rather hard to get up to speed without a) slipping on snow/ice, b) completely trashing my already messed up calves, and c) getting hit by a car. Before is my lovely HR test data/story! I am running the Cape Mid-Winter Classic 10 miles next Sunday so we are going to do my re-test during the race. It should be a fun time. I ran 7 miles of the course yesterday in the sunny 50 degree weather and had an awesome run! My calves have been super super tight lately and my chiropractor worked the crap out of them last Monday. I’ve been stretching extra and rolling my calves with my little massage ball and it has helped tremendously! I have absolutely NO problems with them yesterday! Yay! As Charlie Sheen would say “winning!”

Today was a busy day. I had 4 workouts (plus homework, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, etc). I started my morning with a 1:20 trainer ride followed by a 15 min transition run on the treadmill. I got lectured earlier this week about having a low cadence so I’ve been really working on keeping my cadence around 90rpm. I know that I should be pedaling around 90-95rpm, but for some reason I prefer to grind heavy gears. I was actually lectured by two people this week about it so I think it’s a sign that I need to work on my bike skills! I’m really happy that I purchased the Garmin Edge 800 because I can easily track cadence on my rides!
This afternoon I decided I should probably register for my two “A” races before they sell out. Well, apparently one of them did. The women’s age group category was full in the Patriot’s Half. F@#K! That’s what I get for putting it off. I emailed my coach to let her know that the race was full and that I would now be doing Ironman 70.3 Mooseman on June 3rd. We had talked about it earlier when I was figuring out my race schedule, but I didn’t really want to do it because it has a crazy steep descending section on the bike course and I’m afraid I might piss my pants, especially since I should have my tri bike then! I plan on doing for training rides on some hilly terrain to get ready for this race. Anyone know of any scary steep descending roads in Maine I can ride?
Week 3 Totals:
Swim: 2200 yards + ~2000 meters (So. Po kicked me out early 🙁 )
Bike: 45.2 miles
Run: 7. miles
Strength: 45 min core + 1 bootcamp + 1 trainer workout
Week 4 Totals:
Swim: 6600 yards
Bike: 70.9
Run: 17 miles
Strength: 45 min core + 1 trainer workout
First race of 2012 is next Sunday! Wahoo!