When the weather gets tough... the training gets tougher. But your goal race still looms just months ahead and you need to put the work in. Everyone faces adversity in the form of temperatures dropping, percipitation pounding, and winds blowing. We asked the pros for their tips on training through the winter:

Melissa Gacek 
Minnesota | marathon

I have been such a baby this winter, it just needs to go away. I run on the treadmill every chance I get, whether it's -17 below like it was the other day when I drove kids to school, or yesterday, a foot of snow, this winter has been relentless. 

Treadmill workout I love:
Do 4 sets of the following.
400 Meters at marathon GRP then straight into a 400 at 15K/10 mile pace then into a 400 at 5K pace. 3:00 rest between sets, jog slowly.

Kate Grace
New Jersey | middle distance


Ski Trails & Sleds
Talk to cross country skiers in your area. The trails they use are usually flat, and nicely packed snow. Strap on a pair of yak trax (or katulas for extra grip) and get going. It's not for everyone (running will be slow) but the snow is great cushion for joints, and nice stability work. If you want to make it more of a workout, go uphill. Head out on a popular hike in your area. Unless there has been crazy snow, the yak trax over sneakers is all you need. We carry light sleds up and slide down. It's a nice bonus and fun way to end.

And, the picture is a complete non sequitur, but for running in what can feel like a blizzard, glasses or goggles make the whole thing a million times more bearable. :)

Amanda Winslow 
New Jersey | middle distance

Timed Sprints
My "Go-to" Winter Workout when I can't get to a trail is one that requires only 100m of run-able space, or access to a treadmill. Its 3 sets of 10x100m strides with strength exercises and drills in between. If you're outside, measure out approximately 100m. Set your watch to 30s repeats. In the first 30s sprint 100m and use any remainder of the 30s as rest. As soon as the watch beeps, get down and do 30s of some body weight exercise (pushups, burpees, jump in place, sit-ups). Then as soon as the 30s are up you quickly get up and sprint the 100m.

This workout is super fun and very versatile. You can choose whatever exercises, and when I do this with friends we just shout out whatever exercise comes to mind and that keeps it interesting. You can also change the distance if 100m is too short, or add more intervals, or you can do this workout by hopping on and off a treadmill for 30s to a min or more.

Lauren Penney 
New Jersey | middle distance

Pool Running
The Syracuse runner in me likes to be tough, bundle up, and get outside anyway as long as I won't get hurt slipping around too much. Otherwise I like doing some combination of cross training (pool running fartlek or attempting to swim and elliptical fartlek). When pool running, you can switch it up and work a little harder by ditching the belt and/or putting your hands up and only using your legs.

Jennifer Bingham 
Pennsylvania | marathon


Fartlek Fun
I have a whole arsenal of tricks, depending on the weather conditions and how important it is to get some speed on any particular day.

I like to do a fartlek run where I sprint on the areas where the sidewalk/road is clear and jog and the icy/snowy parts. There's rarely a time where I can't find at least 30 seconds worth of sidewalk where I can sprint (think university area, sidewalks in front of businesses, even certain roads during off hours). I've been known to find a quarter mile stretch of clear path and run fast parts back and forth.

If the conditions are horrible but I still want to log some outdoor miles, I'll slip on some yaktrax or my shoes that have screws drilled into the bottom and enjoy the sights of the season. Sometimes speedwork can wait. If I need to get some speed and it's not possible outdoors, I will hit up the treadmill, turn on the news, and speed up one increment with each changing news story. 

Collier Lawrence 
Nevada | steeplechase

Stationary Bike
While I've shoveled and ice hacked lane one enough to add it to my resume; if it is cold, windy, or some sort of miserable winter combination, workouts get adapted for the bike. My coach loves the bike and I like the bike because I can catch up on the last three seasons of Girls.

Did you have a 30min tempo planned? Hop on the bike and do 30-40min hard. What about 10x400? Do 10-12x2min (and maybe 1-5x30sec for good measure) w/ 1min recovery between. Pretty much anything you had planned for the road or track can be done on a bike; except steepling, haven't figured that one out yet. Add in a warm up and cool down and your weekly mileage will still be right on target; just because the weather sucks doesn't mean your volume and intensity has to suffer.

Allison Krausen 
Colorado | marathon

Snow Pro
I have the luxury of living near a ski resort so when the snow is too deep or the road conditions are too unpredictable, I embrace it. Strap on Yaktrax Extremes or Kahtoola Microspikes and head up Vail Mountain from the Lionshead base area. I'll follow the course for the Winter Uphill and rejoice when I reach the top, and ride down on gondola for free!  For a longer workout day, I'll do two laps. 

Marci Gage 
Oregon | marathon

Treadmill & Pool
When it's impossible to run outside I head to the treadmill or the pool for deep water running. I like workouts with "phases," they are like checkpoints. Ex. Set of intervals, a tempo, and then some more intervals (3 x 2 min, 20 tempo, 3 x 2 min with 2 min recovery). Being stuck in one place is mind numbing so breaking an hour into bite size pieces keeps you engaged. Also, with the pool, you don't ever have to can a planned workout. You can duplicate any workout in the pool by converting distances to timed intervals (mile = 6 mins) and decreasing the rest intervals.
January 31, 2014 — sarah

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