Tag Archives: winter running

Running 101: Indoor Workout Alternatives

Winter.  Summer.  Each comes with its own set of weather based challenges.  From high temperatures to icy roads anyone can get forced into an indoor workout once in a while.  While it might seem like the dreaded treadmill is your only option there are plenty of alternative choices that are equally as effective at working you out.  As long you’re not ditching all your miles trying one of these alternatives will keep you safely inside and ensure a quality workout.

Water running.  If you have access to a pool water running can be a great option.  Frequently used as a tool for injured runners to stay in shape while the heal, running in deep water with the aid of a floatation device is a great alternative to dangerous outdoor conditions.  Pushing through the water will strengthen muscles and hip joints while still getting your cardio in.

Strength training.  Every runner needs strength training.  It provides tons of benefits from increased endurance to better form and faster times.  There are thousands of options for exercises and classes out there so find something you like.  Focus on higher intensity activities with weights on the heavier side to build running muscles.  Perform exercises that strengthen your entire body so it can support you for as long as you want to run.indoor workout

Plyometrics.  Plyometrics can fall under strength training or it can be performed on its own.  Jumping is a great way to build running power.  Whether it’s box jumps, jump rope or lateral bounds jumping around will get your heart rate up while making your quads, hamstrings, hips, knees, ankles and feet stronger.

Yoga.  With the massive variety of yoga classes available at most studios you’re sure to find something that will get your heart rate up.  Mobility is a big issue for lots of runners but having a good range of motion is incredibly important.  This indoor workout will help you stretch, open up joints and relax all at once.

Coach Meredith

3 Keys to Winter Training

Winter training is hard.  It’s dark, cold, windy, snowy or worse.  Unfortunately, working out during the bleak winter months is a must if you’re aiming for a spring race.  On the flip side, it winter trainingcan be fun to experiment and explore new avenues for staying on track with your training.  Here are three ways Team ECRP stays on track to rock their spring races.

Mix it up.  Try new things.  Crappy weather outside can force you indoors for workouts.  That doesn’t always mean the treadmill.  Try a spin class or going for a swim.  You can easily replace some of your easy aerobic runs with another activity that requires an equal effort without risking feeling like you’ve missed out.  You might even find something you really enjoy and want to stick with when the weather warms up.

Find a friend.  Or five or fifty or more.  Joining a training team or local running group can help you accomplish things you might not have ever imagined.  Running with a group can provide you with that accountability that helps you drag yourself out of bed on those dark, bone chilling (until you’ve warmed up) mornings.  A group can also help block wind while bringing laughter and memories that will keep you warm for a lifetime.

Be prepared.  Have a plan in place to deal with bad weather days.  Make sure you warm up before you head outdoors and have a dry set of clothes waiting for your return.  Most importantly, prepare your mind.  Be flexible with your winter training plan, unafraid to switch workouts to different days or perform a substitute activity.  Be sure to listen to your body but realize that pushing through a yucky run or two will only make you more prepared for race day.  You never know what you’ll face at the starting line.

Use these tips to power through your winter training and be ready when the weather’s nice to hit any goal you set.

Coach Meredith


4 Ways to Embrace Cold Weather Running

Winter has arrived in some parts of the world and is creeping up in others.  No matter if you’re already fighting cold temperatures and winter precipitation or prepping for it, cold weather running is an unavoidable part of training for a spring race.  Here are four of Team ECRP‘s tried cold weather runningand true methods for powering through those cold, dark winter training runs.

Dress up.  Cold weather running means layers.  It also means less daylight and more of a need to be seen.  Headlamps, reflective vests and brightly colored clothing are all encouraged in the dark, cold months.  Just think of all the fancy gear you can add to your collection so you’re prepared for anything nature throws at you.  Neon windbreakers, reflective striped tights and lights on your shoes make cold weather running more fun than those hot days with little to wear.

Take a friend.  Since there’s less daylight, it’s more important that you have a run buddy during winter than summer.  There’s power in numbers for lots of reasons.  Increased awareness of your surroundings, the ability to draft in the wind and body heat.  Other advantages of a running buddy or group during cold weather running include laughter, camaraderie and someone to trade fashionable reflective gear with.

Warm Up.  Get moving before you head outside.  The warmer you are before walking through the door the less you’ll notice how cold it really is.  Try jumping jacks, single leg bridges or squats.  Anything that gets your heart rate up is fair game.  It’s also nice if it your chosen exercise hits muscles that are about to work.  Think hamstrings, glutes and shoulders.  Be careful not to break a sweat, however, that will make the outdoors worse.

Ready to Finish.  Just like you warmed up before you went out, get ready to come back.  Having dry clothes to get into quickly is incredibly important.  They’ll warm you up and increase your comfort level.  Hydration is important in winter too, so having a nice warm drink at the end can be a real treat.  A tasty snack can help keep you motivated to finish a run.  Who doesn’t love a big post run slice of cake?  Make sure it contains both carbs and protein and you down it within 30 minutes.

Keep these four things in mind when the winter rolls in and your cold weather running season will fly right by.

Coach Meredith

4 Treadmill Workouts for Bad Weather

When the weather’s bad runners can be stuck inside earning their miles on the dreaded treadmill.  It can be incredibly boring to spend lots of time running in place and it’s not known to be many runner’s first choice.  Luckily, a little variety can help and as long as you don’t fall for these treadmill myths, you’ll get a good workout in regardless of where you have to do it.  Here are treadmill workoutsfour treadmill workouts to try the next time you’re not able to hit the road.

Build It.  This 30 minute pyramid workout makes a great tempo session.  After your warm-up, start running at an easy pace.  Increase your speed by a comfortable margin every 2 minutes for the first 18 minutes then decrease by the same amount every 2 minutes to finish back at an easy pace.  When it’s time to up the ante, 0.2 miles an hour is a good jump.  If you’re not comfortable with your top speed being over a mile an hour faster, cut it down to 0.1.  You’ll still get a solid session in and your time on the dreadmill will be over before you know it.

Mix it up.  Intervals can be done anywhere and that means even on a treadmill.  No need to be afraid, most treadmills can handle whatever speed your workout calls for.  Determine whether you should stand, walk or jog between speedy sections and set the treadmill to do it automatically for you.  It’s a good idea to give yourself a few extra seconds at each speed, however, because the mill takes longer than we do on the road to speed up and slow down.

Start climbing.  Build strength by running treadmill ‘hills’.  Ramp up the incline and then lower it back down at predetermined minutes or distance.  Mix up the height of your ‘hill’ while trying to maintain your speed for a challenging session.  While you won’t get practice running downhill too, you will get stronger as the time flies by.

Do something else.  Add some other exercises to your treadmill workouts.  Warm up, run a mile then hop off to do some squats or push-ups.  Repeat several times to build full body fitness while still racking up some of those needed miles.  Pick a treadmill at the end of a row and choose exercises that keep you close.  Body weight and dumbbell movements are perfect, especially upper body ones that give those hard working legs a breather.

Of course, you can always put on a favorite show and just run.  If you’re looking for a little more fun, give any one of these treadmill workouts a try.  You’ll stay on track with your training no matter what’s going on outside.

Coach Meredith

Prepare for Winter Running

Training for a spring race often means training all winter long.  Winter, for lots of people, means snow, below freezing temperatures, ice, wind and the potential for missed training days.  Even when we do our best, combating the challenges of winter running is tough.  Our bodies start to react differently when temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit whether we like it or not.  Here are Team ECRP‘s favorite ways to stay warm all season long.

Layer Up.  Wear sweat wicking layers close to your body and heavier layers on top of them.  A wind and rain or snow blocking outermost layer winter runningis ideal.  It’s always easier to remove something than put more on.  Stocking are great under running tights and wool socks are always cozy.

Grab add-ons.  Winter running requires a few more accessories than the summer does.  In addition to your usual fuel and hydration, you’ll need gloves or mittens, a hat or ear warmer and maybe some Yak Trax to help you handle the road conditions.

Warm up.  The colder you are the harder it is to warm up.  Instead of heading out like you normally do, get going indoors.  Try jumping jacks and burpees along with some intense breathing exercises to get your blood pumping, heart rate up and mind ready to tackle a chilly outing.

Dry off.  Get somewhere warm and put on dry clothes as quickly as you can post workout.  Not only will this help your body start recovering faster, you’ll be less likely to catch a cold or become ill.

Break it up.  If the weather is nasty and it’s dark out or you’re too busy to get all those miles is at once, split them up.  Do one run in the morning and one in the evening.  With the exception of your long run it’s usually OK to break things down when you need to.  Just make sure you maintain an adequate recovery window between them.

Get friendly with the treadmill.  Ah, the dreadmill.  It’s an unfortunate necessity of winter running.  Luckily when you makes friends with one you realize they aren’t so bad after all.  A treadmill can be just as effective as an outdoor workout and is, especially in poor conditions, much safer.

Coach Meredith

Watch Out! Treadmill Training Myths

Winter is coming.  For most of us that means cold weather, snow, ice and maybe some serious wind.  More important than the miserable outdoor conditions is that our spring marathon is still on the calendar.  We have to train, no matter what’s going on out there and that means hitting treadmill trainingthe treadmill.  Love it or hate it, the treadmill sometimes becomes a necessary evil.  Get the most out of your treadmill sessions this winter by ignoring the treadmill training myths.

Myth #1:  It has to be set at an incline to mirror running outside.  Not so fast!
Outside you have to push through the air and maybe a headwind.  On a stationary indoor treadmill, that resistance isn’t there.  That is what makes treadmill training runs slightly easier.  To make up for this lack of air resistance you can increase your speed.  And that might not even matter.  This study shows that incline only matters at paces of 7:09/mile or faster, leaving most of us OK to run flat.

Myth #2: Your running motion is different on a moving belt.  According to this study, and others, it’s actually not.  You might feel different because of the treadmill’s cushioning but your muscles and joints move the same way during treadmill training as they would over pavement, trail or track.  The important things to remember when you’re stuck on the treadmill are to keep your cadence high and form tight.

In the same vein is Myth #3: You take more (or fewer) steps on the treadmill per mile.  As Myth #2 proved, your motion on the treadmill is virtually identical to how you move over a stationary surface (road, track, field).  This also means your step rate (cadence) should be the same.  Winter treadmill training runs can be a great time to figure out how many steps you take per minute at a given pace.  Working on taking shorter steps at a faster rate during treadmill training is great for when you get back out on the road.

Myth #4:  Holding on doesn’t affect your workout.  Yes, it does.  Holding on or pushing yourself up with your arms does not decrease the stress on your lower half.  It completely changes your gait for the worse.  Twisting your spine and over rotating your hips are asking for injuries.  Slowing down and letting go on your next treadmill training run might just save your spring race season.

Myth #5:  The treadmill tells the truth.  They try but often fail.  The readouts for calories burned, speed, heart rate and distance can all be wrong.  Unless the machine is calibrated to your body on a regular basis it’s going to be off.  In the ballpark?  Probably.  Your best bet is to use a heart rate monitor that straps to your chest or wrist to determine exertion levels and simply run (with no incline) for your desired amount of time.

Coach Meredith