Adaptive Winter Training For A Spring Half Marathon

It’s never too early to think about training for a 2018 half marathon!

If you’re running an early half marathon in 2018, you’ll need to do the bulk of your running over Winter. There’s a skill to getting the most from Winter long distance training. Here’s how to get it right.

Be A Smart Winter Runner

One of the skills you’ll need to develop is adaptability. Summer training is straightforward compared to distance training over Winter months. Set a training plan, and aim to stick to it, but be prepared for a flexible approach. If weather or temperatures get extreme, make a judgement call and prioritise safety.

Plan ahead

Get into the habit of checking the weather forecast for the week ahead, and plan your weekly training runs in accordingly. This will give you the best chance of ticking off your key sessions.

Be a professional

It goes without saying that safety should be your priority for Winter running. Make sure your running kit is high vis or reflective, and wear layers of technical kit rather than one bulky layer. Stay safe, comfortable, and adaptive to changes in light, weather, and temperature. Always tell someone where you are going, how long you’ll be, and when to expect you back. Carry some form of runners’ ID.

Run smaller loops

You might not have the luxury of running long single loop training runs over Winter. Have a local loop up your sleeve for days when the weather is changeable. You can run as many loops as possible but never be too far from home.

Take it to the treadmill

Treadmills are an invaluable tool for Winter training. You can control the conditions, the incline, and the surroundings to get a perfect training run under your belt. Yes, it might be boring, but that just builds mental fortitude! You can do your regular scheduled run on the treadmill, or switch things up and do hills or intervals to boost fitness in less time. Here’s one of our favourite ways to use a treadmill:

Threshold Hills

This is a long hill session to be done on a treadmill. It will target your strength and threshold running fitness.

– 10-15 minute jog warm up

– set the treadmill to a 1.5% incline and run at half marathon pace then do this pyramid without adjusting your pace.

– 1 minute at 6% incline, 1 minute at 1.5% incline

– 2 minutes at 5.5% incline, 1 minute at 1.5% incline

– 3 minutes at 5% incline, 1 minute at 1.5% incline

– 4 minutes at 4.5% incline, 1 minute at 1.5% incline

– 5 minutes at 4% incline, 1 minute at 1.5% incline

– 4 minutes at 4.5% incline, 1 minute at 1.5% incline

– 3 minutes at 5% incline, 1 minute at 1.5% incline

– 2 minutes at 5.5% incline, 1 minute at 1.5% incline

– 1 minute at 6% incline, 1 minute at 1.5% incline

– 10-15 minute cool down

Cross train

Cross training has a place in half marathon training plans. Done properly, cross training will maintain or even boost your running fitness. And it takes the impact off your running joints and muscles. Try long walks outside, cycling, swimming, or using the rowing machine at the gym.

And if you need to miss a training session? So be it. Keep your eye on the long term overview of your total training plan. If you get 80% of your training plan done, you will be fit and strong enough to finish your Spring half marathon. So identify the most important key sessions in your plan and prioritise them, and understand which sessions you could skip if Winter weather gets too bad.

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