You win, winter. You win.
It is about 18 degrees and the wind chill is 10 degrees. Tonight, it’s going to be -5. That’s Farenheit, not Celsius. Of course, there’s snow blowing around too – because it’s March 5th – and why wouldn’t there be snow blowing around? We’ve only had a little more snow that average this year but it’s looked like this for as long as I can remember:
Well, I guess that’s not completely true. Some days, it has looked like this:
You get the idea. With the exception of a few days in January, I’ve been running on snow-covered roads and snow-covered sidewalks for three months. While I think there are some benefits to training this way (e.g. mental toughness, core strength, stabilizer strength), I believe I have maxed them out. Specifically, I have two concerns going forward:
1) I am running a 50-miler on June 1st and there’s a good chance it will be hot.
In Human Performance Physiology and Environmental Medicine at Terrestrial Extremes, Kent Pandolf and Michael Sawka made the following findings:
Most of the improvements in heart rate, core and skin temp, and sweat rate are acquired in just one week of heat exposure. Heart rate adaptations are seen in just four to five days. However, increases in sweating can take up to one month to occur.
More is gained from a one hundred minute bout of heat exposure exercise than one fifty minute bout, but adding bouts beyond one hundred minutes of exposure did not quicken adaptation.
Heat exposure adaptations have been studied to disappear as quickly as one week if the subject is not re-placed in the heat, but may last as long as three weeks in some individuals.
So what does this tell me? Since the adaptations occur fairly quickly, I still have time before I need to worry. However, at some point, I need it to get warmer and stay warmer. In the meantime, I’ve been doing a few treadmill runs. While these don’t exactly take place in a tropical climate, I’m hoping they will help a little.
2) It is still quite difficult to get in a decent speed workout.
I don’t mind doing a speed workout in the cold weather, within reason. However, not only has it been cold, it has also been snowy. The result is that roads and sidewalks are still covered in snow. That’s pretty much a deal-breaker for me as far as speed workouts go. I’ve found a couple of clear areas where I have still managed to do strides. I’ve also done a few harder workouts on the treadmill. Finally, I’ve managed to do two races and I have a third coming this weekend. It is certainly not ideal and I’m really hoping the roads and sidewalks clear up soon.
How are you surviving winter?