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winter base training questions (Read 247 times)

    Hi all, I would like to ask about winter training. I hope I'm not asking too basic questions. Basically I'm not sure how to do the training in an optimal way in winter.

     

    First here's some background, I've been running for 4 years now and over the years I have figured out what works for me for the spring-autumn seasons when I'm training to get faster for races - I just do a couple fast workouts every week and a long run with fast ending and the other runs are all recovery runs. That works for me. I really enjoy that way of training and I'm ok with 35mpw and 5 runs a week with that kind of schedule... But I'm too confused about how to train in winter and also not sure how I can go sustain 40mpw or higher mileage for more than a couple of weeks without my runs being all very slow miles and without getting worn down.

     

    My goal for winter training, I would like to avoid slowing down as of course I want to actually improve my paces. I need to avoid wearing myself down yet I do want to increase mileage but I don't want to run only slow miles and don't want to overdo mileage either. I clearly managed to do exactly that mistake before in winter (and in summer base building too but nevermind that now).

     

    So I'm wary of running only slow miles. I know though that I can't really do intervals on the track in snow and very cold weather and I always read that it's supposed to be better to let go of such harder training temporarily and increase mileage to build good aerobic base instead. Though I must mention that I find I get faster for lower intensities too when I do fast workouts so that's good too to build some base IMO. I must be the kind of runner who thrives on fast workouts with enough recovery allowed between them...not the kind of runner who can just plow the slow long miles and get faster miraculously that way. Maybe I'm wrong about this and I just didn't find the right way to do this kind of training.

     

    I'll give you a few specific questions: should I keep doing some faster sessions and if so what kind of faster runs do I need to do? I certainly can't do intervals on the track, that's for sure. maybe just tempo runs and/or fartlek? And for the other runs during the week, should they all be recovery runs or should there be some slightly higher intensity runs (but not as fast as tempo runs or other speed work)? If so how many of those runs? Consider my background above, what kind of training load I can do right now, etc.

     

    Thanks so much! Cool

      Strides once or twice a week and the occasional tempo or hill workout all year. And mileage.

      Runners run.

        Speaking strictly for myself, I find lots of long slow distance helps continue building my aerobic base while at the same time makes me faster.  My personal opinion is that until a runner is knocking on he door of the age group elites, speed drills won't really provide all that much of a benefit.  Like I said, my personal opinion based upon what I have observed over the years.

         

        One thing I did discover this last winter which was a great aid to training was snowshoe racing.  Let me tell you, even long slow distance is a speed drill when you're running in snowshoes, especially after a good snowfall.


        Chasing the bus

          I don't have the experience of any of the previous posters, but I know I ran all slow all winter last, did about 6 weeks of 1-2 speed sessions/week, and ran july 5k 3 min. faster than last year (the only race I had a previous comp. for). At my level, it's all endurance (and getting to the starting line), and I know what I'm doing all winter (slow mileage building).

           

          John

          “You're either on the bus or off the bus.”
          Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

            thanks for all your replies! Smile

             

             

            @mikeymike:

            Strides once or twice a week and the occasional tempo or hill workout all year. And mileage.

             

            I see, occasional tempo, is that like once a week? and how about other intensities, surely not all mileage should be recovery runs if there is only one tempo per week? I think this is one of my biggest questions actually.

             

            so say if someone has 6:30 5K pace (ballpark for me), what kind of paces would be used for building up all the high mileage?

             

            or you can use HR percentages too if you want, I do have a HRM.

             

             

            @shipo:

            Speaking strictly for myself, I find lots of long slow distance helps continue building my aerobic base while at the same time makes me faster.  My personal opinion is that until a runner is knocking on he door of the age group elites, speed drills won't really provide all that much of a benefit.  Like I said, my personal opinion based upon what I have observed over the years.

             

            One thing I did discover this last winter which was a great aid to training was snowshoe racing.  Let me tell you, even long slow distance is a speed drill when you're running in snowshoes, especially after a good snowfall.

             

            hope you don't mind me asking, what are your PRs? Smile

             

            the long slow distance, what kind of intensity is it exactly? I don't know if you use a HR monitor, if yes you could give it in HR percentages, or if not, you could give me paces and compare it to race pace to specify training intensities

             

             

            I don't have the experience of any of the previous posters, but I know I ran all slow all winter last, did about 6 weeks of 1-2 speed sessions/week, and ran july 5k 3 min. faster than last year (the only race I had a previous comp. for). At my level, it's all endurance (and getting to the starting line), and I know what I'm doing all winter (slow mileage building).

             

            John

             

            out of curiosity, what was the july 5k time? I have the same questions to you as to poster above (shipo), thanks Smile


            Chasing the bus

               

              out of curiosity, what was the july 5k time? I have the same questions to you as to poster above (shipo), thanks Smile

               

              Slow, ok?! 25:09. But this is the guy who used to think 10mm was cooking (it was, for me!).

              “You're either on the bus or off the bus.”
              Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

                 Slow, ok?! 25:09. But this is the guy who used to think 10mm was cooking (it was, for me!).

                 

                LOL on the cooking.

                 

                I was also asking what pace or HR % you do your training at if you don't mind Smile

                 

                I think going from 28mins to 25mins is pretty cool. 12% improvement there.


                Chasing the bus

                  I've been pretty much MAFing. My MAF HR is 131. I used to push that pretty hard, anymore I just don't care. Trying to stay under. I find I can run within a few seconds per mile at 121 as at 131 anyway...sorta weird. Pace depends on conditions. Typically between 12 (treamill)-10:40mm (cool outside road, 4 miles-ish).

                  “You're either on the bus or off the bus.”
                  Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

                    I've been pretty much MAFing. My MAF HR is 131. I used to push that pretty hard, anymore I just don't care. Trying to stay under. I find I can run within a few seconds per mile at 121 as at 131 anyway...sorta weird. Pace depends on conditions. Typically between 12 (treamill)-10:40mm (cool outside road, 4 miles-ish).

                     

                    ah yeah ok, unfortunately MAF formula doesn't work for me, it puts me in recovery zone

                     

                    I know what you mean by running such an even pace Smile, I can do that too in recovery zone, if I go at higher HRs there is slight HR creep/drift over time. or maybe I misunderstood and you meant your pace at 121 HR is almost the same as at 131??


                    Chasing the bus

                       .. or maybe I misunderstood and you meant your pace at 121 HR is almost the same as at 131??

                       

                      Yes, this one, or rather, I can run at 121 for nearly ever with little drift, but if I push to 131, I find my pace soon back to where it was at 121, only my HR is now higher...

                       

                      I may be permanently in recovery when running regularly. I also (gasp!), am running Galloway, with MAF, and mostly staying injury free if I don't push the weekly mileage up too fast...but I gotta go with what works, and what works for me is running instead of convalescing.

                       

                      John

                      “You're either on the bus or off the bus.”
                      Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

                        thanks for all your replies! Smile

                         

                        @shipo:

                         

                        hope you don't mind me asking, what are your PRs? Smile

                         

                        the long slow distance, what kind of intensity is it exactly? I don't know if you use a HR monitor, if yes you could give it in HR percentages, or if not, you could give me paces and compare it to race pace to specify training intensities

                         

                         

                        First off, no, I don't use (or even believe in) a heart rate monitor.

                         

                        My PRs are a bit misleading, that said, here goes:

                         

                        Prior to this year I had only run one 5K in my life; it was a 16:20 run on a very hot and humid Atlanta morning when I was 22 back in 1979.

                         

                        This year I've run three 5Ks the first was last August, also on a hot humid day and I ran 25:21, the second was in early September on a moderate day and I ran a 23:19 (I was also ten pounds lighter than the August run).  My third 5K was the morning after I finished six legs of the Reach the Beach - NH Relay where my combined legs totalled 32.8 miles (run at about a 9 minute pace); I lined up only 20 yards shy of the start line and when the gun went off I started "running", unfortunately the "walkers" were going so fast they passed me in droves, and per the official results, it took me a whopping 35 seconds to make it those 20 yards.  My first mile went by in over 12 minutes (geez was I stiff), my second was right bang on about 8 minutes (the stiffness was easing a bit), and the final 1.1 miles went by in less than 7 minutes; my final time was something like 26:40.

                         

                        The other races I've run this year (in addition to the RTB-NH relay) include a 10-Miler run on a steamy August morning on a diabolically hilly course; I finished that in 1:25:06, and a hilly 3.66 mile race on a beautiful fall day in 27:36.

                         

                        What the above means is that my current race pace when running in the three to four mile range is right bang on about 7:30 (and I'm shooting for a 7:30 pace for the 10K Turkey Trot I'm running later this month), and yet, I almost always train at more like a 10 minute pace and haven't run even a single speed drill since, uhhh, 1979.

                         

                        What probably also needs to be said is that over the last several years I'd been working two jobs, one in Boston (mornings), and one in Concord, NH, and my running had been cut to almost nothing for months on end.  I had managed run on a somewhat regular basis between mid August 2012 and the end of December, however, the combination of snow (hence the snowshoes) and a Doctor enforced six week layoff following cataract surgery meant that by mid April I had only logged 99 miles total for the year and my weight had ballooned to over 250 pounds (I'm only 5'8").

                         

                        When I quit the Boston job at the end of March and freed up literally hours per day I found that I was only able to run maybe a mile or so at a crack.  The good news here is that in spite of all the extra weight, I did have a decent physical foundation for running and was able to add long slow miles at a pretty rapid rate and start shedding pounds almost immediately.

                          I'm going to regurgitate the simple advice I learned here in RA: "Run lots, mostly easy, sometimes fast"

                           

                          I think we probably have similar 5k times, mine is 20:12 this year. My 5k time has been dropping a couple minutes every year since I started running in 2010. I've been doing 95% just slow easy runs, and I didn't start doing a weekly interval session until a year ago. I was too lazy to even run tempo runs (I should, but I was lazy). My easy run pace in this summer was around 9:30 to 10:00/mi. In the winter it is around 8:30 to 9:00/mi. Just lots of easy slow running helped me tremendously.

                           

                          My 5k race progression

                            @shipo

                            First off, no, I don't use (or even believe in) a heart rate monitor.

                             

                            What the above means is that my current race pace when running in the three to four mile range is right bang on about 7:30 (and I'm shooting for a 7:30 pace for the 10K Turkey Trot I'm running later this month), and yet, I almost always train at more like a 10 minute pace and haven't run even a single speed drill since, uhhh, 1979.

                             

                            When I quit the Boston job at the end of March and freed up literally hours per day I found that I was only able to run maybe a mile or so at a crack.  The good news here is that in spite of all the extra weight, I did have a decent physical foundation for running and was able to add long slow miles at a pretty rapid rate and start shedding pounds almost immediately.

                             

                            ah what's your problem with HRMs? Anyway thanks for the info, hmm I've been thinking about trying runs at about 8:30-9:00, which is kind of similarly easy as what you mention here about your training. See more below if you want. And yes, lots of slow miles does make you shed pounds lolol, I noticed that myself. Though I was also told some of that is muscle loss. I don't know...

                             

                             

                            @Wing

                            I'm going to regurgitate the simple advice I learned here in RA: "Run lots, mostly easy, sometimes fast"

                             

                            I think we probably have similar 5k times, mine is 20:12 this year. My 5k time has been dropping a couple minutes every year since I started running in 2010. I've been doing 95% just slow easy runs, and I didn't start doing a weekly interval session until a year ago. I was too lazy to even run tempo runs (I should, but I was lazy). My easy run pace in this summer was around 9:30 to 10:00/mi. In the winter it is around 8:30 to 9:00/mi. Just lots of easy slow running helped me tremendously.

                             

                            My 5k race progression

                             

                            Thanks for the really specific bits of info! It helps!

                             

                            Yes I'm doing exactly that about running mostly easy and some fast during the year. Smile As I said in my initial post, I do two faster sessions and the rest is all really easy running (except for the end of the LR, I like fast finish, it helps me get stronger).

                             

                            I'm also a bit like you in that I didn't do a lot of interval stuff over the years. But when I did, I invariably found that as long as the other runs were VERY easy, it would allow me to improve really well. So I think I'm keeping that training schedule for spring/autumn training. Btw the pace for the easy recovery stuff is anywhere between 9:00-9:30, it actually used to be 9:30-10:00 not long ago just like yours but then I got better. I can probably do sub-20 5K, I just didn't have a chance to try because I was doing my first marathon instead. Smile

                             

                            My problem is about the winter training which obviously can't be the same as during spring/autumn. So thanks for the information here, I was thinking about trying 8:30-ish, similar to what you say works for you, we're clearly at a similar fitness level anyway. I also like how you actually got faster over winter based on your 5K time progression. Smile I could never do this in winter, only in spring/autumn! See, this is why I really want to figure out where I was doing it wrong with doing lots of slow mileage.

                             

                            So yeah, going between 8:30-9:00 pace would be easy enough to allow me to run a lot of it for sure, I already tried that sort of running in one of the previous winters, I'm just not sure this on its own is enough to improve without slowing much at higher intensities. I don't mean anaerobic paces, just marathon pace and half marathon pace, stuff like that.

                             

                            My experience with running a lot at that easy intensity (just above recovery intensity) was that I kept improving the pace at that intensity over a few weeks, from mid-November to end of February but when I tried some higher pace (again, I don't mean anaerobic workouts), I had a lot of problems with that. I would like to avoid that issue this winter. Though since then I got faster, fitter, stronger so maybe I would be OK now. But I still believe I need to change something in my winter training approach.

                             

                            Do please understand, I really am not claiming that running a lot at that easy pace doesn't work to build a base, because it actually does work for that in my experience too, just the way I was doing it was too one-sided I believe. It may have had an effect on half marathon-marathon paces, perhaps making those paces actually faster, but at the same time my legs just couldn't take it. If that makes sense. Heart rate would stay exceptionally low and I could definitely go longer at a certain pace than before but the muscles just broke down after a while.

                             

                            So race results from my previous winter training mostly suffered, though I did have an unbelievable good PR in HM once when my legs were not so bad yet. My heart rate was crazy low and I couldn't believe what great pace I was able to maintain throughout the race. I almost cried from the muscle pain by the end of the race though. I have to mention that I did that HM only two weeks into the winter base building. I guess I do lose "sharpness" fast. Then later in other HM's at the end of winter seasons I didn't even get good PR's because of this issue. And I wouldn't even think of doing 5K/10K in such a "slowed down" state lol. No such problems in spring/autumn training. So that's why I'm saying it's probably too one-sided training in winter... Hope I'm making sense Tongue

                             

                            So, can you tell me this, what is the 5% that's not slow running that you do in winter in addition to 8:30-9:00 paced runs? Strides, tempos, hills? Anything specific about the structure of your winter training schedule? Thanks Wink

                              @Furthur:

                               

                               

                              Yes, this one, or rather, I can run at 121 for nearly ever with little drift, but if I push to 131, I find my pace soon back to where it was at 121, only my HR is now higher...

                               

                              I may be permanently in recovery when running regularly. I also (gasp!), am running Galloway, with MAF, and mostly staying injury free if I don't push the weekly mileage up too fast...but I gotta go with what works, and what works for me is running instead of convalescing.

                               

                              John

                               

                              ah okay, I understand now what you meant about 121 vs 131. Yeah in recovery range no drift. I believe though that if you're only in recovery and never stressing your system then you wouldn't be improving so if you are improving then clearly you aren't just doing recovery. Smile Keep going, good luck! Smile

                                 

                                ah what's your problem with HRMs?

                                 

                                My personal feelings are that it is better to focus on listening to your body than an external device working against some arbitrary heart rate thresholds.

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