winter Minnesota running

My Winter Week of Running

winter running and skiing training in Minnesota

SNAPSHOT

Opening up my Garmin Data

DIGGING DEEPER

Want to peek into another runner’s training log?

Well, this week I am opening up my pages to show you where and what I logged this week.

Since winter in Minnesota has descended on our roads and trails, I have sheltered in my local YMCA’s cardio room for use of the treadmill. The bonuses of treadmills, within a community of runners, are that we can each go our own pace and show up for partial runs together. Most of my runs were with conversations but others needed a Kindle or virtual terrain to keep my mind occupied. Then afterward I am more likely to stretch a little longer and add a few more strengthening exercises because I am not distracted by the home and kid needs.

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So this is a fairly common winter week for the month of February. I start to get my mileage up near 40 miles a week in preparation for the spring when I can run more long runs and speed workouts outdoors.

The skiing has increased this year as I am gaining in my endurance and technique. Plus my 10-year-old can last longer on the trails. I like to ski 2-3 times a week. With one of them being close to 20K. My arms and legs have become so much stronger this season. I love that I will have strong arms even before tank top season begins!

So here is the breakdown!

Monday

18K Nordic Skiing - Skate style— I was able to sneak this in before and during my sons’ JV conference ski meet at Elm Creek Park Reserve. I circled the lake twice by covering the Lake trail which joined up with the Northern Lights trail.

6 miles including 5 quarter mile hills on the treadmill — I was eager to feel the surge of endorphins since I had to take the previous days off due to illness so grabbed an hour at my local Y to run. I keep forgetting to set the minutes on the treadmill for more than the 30 preset limit and end up restarting the treadmill in order to finish out my run. This mistake instead got me thinking about mixing up elevation. I threw in five quarter mile repeats (2% incline at 7:30 pace) in the last 3 miles of the run. For recovery between the repeats, I returned back to zero elevation but kept the 7:30 pace. The result of 2% elevation and 7:30 pace put my body at an effort level above my lactate threshold and training the threshold to increase to a higher level. After pushups and downward dog, I rushed off to pick up my daughter from swimming!

Tuesday

3 miles outdoors with a friend were followed by the rest of the miles on the treadmill to reach 6 miles— Whenever a friend asks to run, I try really hard to make it happen. So out onto the snowy roads, we went. I tried my trail shoes in order to get more grab on the roads but my muscles noticed. Since three miles was all that could fit into her schedule, I drove right to the Y to finish up the run, reaching a calculated average for the day. Hint: 2019 divided by 365

Wednesday

Woodlands Skiing

5K Nordic Skate Skiing — A relaxing tour around our local ski trails with my kids. Incredible beauty lays awaits for you to discover within the woods. Go for a walk, run, snowshoe, or ski to be filled up.

1 hour of treadmill miles adding 7.3 miles — I have this favorite winter training duration. It is the hour-long run. An hour of running is long enough to aerobically and structurally challenge the body, yet it is low enough stress that it can be repeated day after day. My favorite is when I can hit exactly 7.0 miles at 1:00:00 without purposely altering my speed. I have only done it only two times in my life. On this run, I didn’t think I would make it past a daily 6 miles but small goals helped me to hit my mark.

Thursday

Lactate Threshold testing in St. Cloud in the morning — Googled and found! I was reading the Science of Running book by Magness about Fast Twitch and Slow Twitch muscles and how to find your body’s natural dominance. And so I googled and found a nearby university that would do Lactate Threshold testing. I was hoping for a bit of a different test than I received but am overall glad for the information and experience gained. I will leave the detailed description of my testing for another blog post. However, the testing of my blood lactate level along with my heart rate gave me the same data that I can feel when I am running. Interesting that my Monday workout happened to put me right at the correct level of training to push my lactate level higher. Experience can be as good as data! Listen to your body well and add up your experiences. And yes, I do plan to get retested from the FT and ST fiber levels and an updated lactate level in May.

6.2 miles in the treadmill in the evening — Well 2 miles in the morning was not enough running and a friend could do her run workout beside me so I jumped back onto the treadmill in the evening for a 10K. This winter I have set my watch to read metrically instead of imperially because well, that is what skiers do. I figure changing up my thought patterns and seeing my running distance from a new angle is advantageous, so kilometers it is! Just for the winter season though.

Valentine's Day

Friday

6 treadmill miles - A high heart rate and a tired body still made it to 6 miles on the treadmill with a friend to keep me company. After this run, I knew I needed a day off tomorrow.

Saturday

Family Skiing for 17K (daughters new record) and no running — Seriously LOVE the beauty of Nordic skiing sights!

runners wish

Sunday

Wondering around with the youth ski club for 3K classic skiing — Warms the heart to teach children

7 miles on the treadmill — Reached the 40 miles a week mark with this final run. I don’t like running on Sunday because I usually want to spend all the time with family but the kids wanted to swim play at our YMCA so I got 7 miles of guilt-free running! I didn’t have to hit 40 miles this week, but it worked out well. I did notice my heart rate back down to normal and the fatigue of the week’s training all gone. Rest days are valuable. Added extra stretch and strengthening after the run.

SOLUTION

Throughout the winter, each of my weeks looks different but usually consist of 5-6 days of running with 30-40 miles covered. I just feel right with daily runs. No long run this week but I did challenge my body twice with speed. In the spring I will mix in more race distance specific training but for the winter I just need to maintain a good base. I do wish I could have done more runs outdoors this week but the snowy roads and negative degree weather made the treadmill a better option. The sunny skis were helpful in accumulating more vitamin D from the sun!

TELL ME about YOUR training last week! What cross training do you do, are you a winter treadmill runner, what is your ideal winter weekly mileage? Comment below…