It’s getting to that time of year – frosty pavements, patches of ice, perhaps even a bit of snow. How do we deal with the elements and keep on track with our training?
Some of Team TrainAsONE live in pretty snowy climates – Natalie White and Ben Riddell are currently in Chamonix and Rebecca Hilland is in Norway – so it’s fair to say that they have some pretty good experience of this. They pull out some pretty impressive results so they prove that it’s possible to train effectively in these tricky conditions.
So what do you do? Do you power through with your training as planned and just hope you don’t slip and have to join all the pensioners in A&E with broken hips this winter?
Paul Radford and Mike Christoforou are fans of carrying on as normal, though both will hit the trails if the concrete gets too treacherous. Jane Hardacre is not a big fan of slipping and sliding on the snow and ice, so will sensibly wait until lunchtime for a bit of a thaw. Carl Hardman gets technical about ‘good’ snow and ‘bad’ snow, and we’re not talking white and yellow. Carl reckons that the fluffy stuff is fine to run on in road shoes. It’s when it’s compressed snow that it makes you risk being Bambi on ice. When it’s like that he likes to either run on the gritted roads or hit the trails or canal tow paths.
Rebecca demonstrates good snow to run on and, err, not so good snow
Lots of Team TrainAsONE will hit the treadmill to keep on track when the ice makes it tricky to get up any speed. Ben Riddell, Carl Hardman and Taz Anwar will hit the treadmill in order to make sure they’re hitting their key sessions. It seems a lot of the team are reluctant treadmill users but as Jane says ‘I hate the treadmill but I would choose that over not running!’.
What we love about the snow and ice is not just that it makes us get really creative, but it shows how committed you are! Natalie White will go out and snow shoe a route so that she can run it later! Similarly, Rebecca Hilland has been known to go down to her local track in Norway and clear one lane of snow so that she can run! Perhaps the best story we heard was about Dave Norman, gritty northerner who’s represented England and GB at the marathon and is a sub 30 minute 10k runner. Apparently when it was really snowy Dave drove to Manchester airport, where he knew there was a tunnel which would be snow-free, and did his session there! Now that’s dedication!
Being creative and committed might actually mean you do something else entirely to complement your running training. For Natalie White and Robbie Britton this means hitting the skis! Ski mountaineering is ideal for max heart rate efforts and you can build a great fitness base doing it over the winter.
But how about actually getting out of the door in the winter? That can be hard enough in itself when the heating’s on and there’s horizontal sleet flying by the window.
As Alfred Wainwright famously said ‘there’s not such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing’. We runners rarely need an excuse to buy new togs and just a few key bits of kit to keep the wind and rain off will make all the difference.
How about phoning a friend? Making a commitment to run with somebody else makes you much more likely to actually do it. Even though both of you will probably be thinking ‘I really don’t want to do this’, peer pressure can be a wonderful thing.
Lastly, having a winter goal can keep you going when everything – weather, work Christmas parties, family commitments – is trying to derail your running. Whether it’s a 5k Santa Run, a lung-busting cross country race or a January ultra, having something in the diary can help keep you on track.
And as for training over Christmas, that’s merits a whole article on its own. Coming soon!