When Luna, our 5 month old puppy, woke me up his morning with her usual “ I miss you come and see me” whining I was hoping that her internal clock was off and that it wasn’t already time to get out of bed. Until the automatic grind and brew went off and confirmed it was already 5 O’clock! I’ve always been an early riser, often times being up around 5 or 6 AM. For me, every morning I hop out of bed and have a cup of coffee. I then throw on my workout clothes and head out the door for my run. I love my morning routine; there is no better way to start off your day than to wake up early in my experience. However, last night I went to bed way passed my bedtime and this morning I wished I didn’t have to get out of bed to run in the cold I would much rather stay in bed to cuddle with my sweet hubby. Needless to say, I got up, let Luna out, drank my cup of Joe, geared up and venture outside for a quick 5 miler.
As I mentioned before it’s been a very wintery winter here in Boston, we had one storm after another; the December Blizzard, January Nor’easter, and other smaller storms in-between, to the point that there is a huge accumulation of snow and there is no place left to put it. To top it off, guess what ? This morning was snowing again! I do not like the cold weather but I am determined to do all my training outside and to not surrender to the treadmill.
Besides the fact that I think the TM is boring, there are some disadvantages of treadmill training related to the lack of specificity when training for road or track racing. There is a rule of training called the “rule of specificity” that says training should closely mimic the activity you are training for. There are very definite differences between treadmill running and free range running that violate this rule. Running on the treadmill only requires you to run up, not forward. Therefore, when you hit the roads you won’t have as much strength to push yourself forward and your stride will feel off. Also, doing the same runs on a machine can become habitual.
Part of the challenge of running, especially long distances, is dealing with the elements, the scenery, adapting to the changing terrain and training yourself to hydrate on the road. And so, there I was bracing the snow running through our winter wonderland again and the only thing I could hear was Dustin’s encouraging words. He is right, as always! Running in the snow,cold, wind will help me be prepared for any weather we might have on race day and adjust to any conditions.
I was able to do most of my run on the road since it was so early that there weren’t many cars out yet. Sidewalks and some part of the roads were a slushy and icy mess. For that, I got a little splashed here and there but I had a lot of fun! I was finally also able to incorporate some speed work in my run without even planning ahead. I basically did a fartlek run where I constantly changed pace at different distances. It was entirely intuitive (similar to tempo runs). After 5 or 10 minutes of gentle jogging at the start, I picked up the pace and surge for maybe 10 or 20 or more seconds, then jog or even walk for a near equal time until partly recovered, then surge again. I had a mix of up hills, down a hills and flat. It felt great! A great run after all!