Monday, December 21, 2009

Motivate Me!

With the Winter Solstice behind us we have only more daylight to look forward to.  Unfortunately, it will still be a few months before the daylight will be long enough for early morning and evening runs.  The winter months often require a bit more motivation to resist the snooze button or the warm chair by the fire.  Here are some helpful tips from the Boston Running Examiner to keep you from hibernating until Spring.  Stick with it and you’ll be right on track for the Canyonlands Half Marathon.  Read the full article.

Tread the treadmill: Treadmills have received a bad rap in the past, but winter is the perfect time to embrace the "indoor road." If you approach the 'mill with a plan, you're less likely to get bored. To spice up a long run, try some random speed play throughout your session to pass the time. Tempo runs are ideal on the treadmill: 20 minute warmup, 25-30 minute tempo run, 20 minute cool down. For something a bit faster, try doing 4x1mile repeats with 5 min run rest in between--it may feel awkward at first, but you'll warm up to it. Any interval less than a mile may get tricky and inefficient, so stick with something a little longer.

Cross-train: When the snow is falling faster than the temperatures, some days it's just not realistic to run outside. Winter is a great time to take advantage of the gym and ultimately protect your body from overtraining with running. Try a Spinning class, as it combines cardiovascular upper and lower body exercise. Remember you can log more minutes cross-training than running because it's lower impact.

Get strong: For days when you aren't motivated to run outside--or run at all-- take the time to lift some weights and strengthen your core. For distance runners, it's best to do high reps and lower weight when lifting. Planks, side planks, superman's and bridges are all great core strengthening exercises that will help your form and strength. Strengthen any areas that have been bothered by lingering injuries. Even try something new like yoga to build long, lean, runner-esque muscles. For those days when you aren't up for a long run, try doing a half run and then go to the gym to lift. It'll seem like a nice break from running while being an extremely efficient and effective workout. 

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