I have to admit that I tend to hibernate through November and December. I always have good intentions of keeping up my training and maintaining the fitness level that I have achieved over the summer, but it never fails that November and December are a complete failure for me running-wise.
Every spring I plan a large run, this year I have a 30k (Around the Bay 30k in March) and a half marathon (Mississauga Marathon in May), that makes me start running in January to get ready. Then I have 10ks throughout the summer which keeps me motivated through the hot weather. In the fall I plan another long race like the Toronto Marathon or the Springbank Park Half Marathon – that, along with a few fall 10ks where after all that marathon training I’m gunning for a PB, keeps me going until the end of October.
The problem occurs in November when I don’t have any local runs to plan for and when the weather gets cold, I just can’t force myself out the door. Then December gets colder and I really, really don’t want to get out. I always do the Resolution Run on January 1st, which is a lot of fun by the way – and you get a great jacket, however, since it is a fun run and there is no official time recorded, I don’t feel overly motivated to keep training. So, when January begins and I have to get my butt out the door to start my 30k training, I feel like I am starting from square one.
Well, this year I want it to be different. After reading my fellow Outrunning blogger Mandy’s “Hindering Hibernation” post I decided what to do. Mandy had some great suggestions:
1. Join a social running site such as www.strava.com. (I am on Strava and love it)
2. Sign up for an online running challenge. (I do that, but this helped my form my plan)
3. Get some new gear. (yep, got that covered – perhaps a little too well :o)
4. Plan out each week. (Okay, I don’t do this at all unless I am training for a big run)
5. Reflect on what you’ve accomplished during the last few months, and think about what races you want to do in the spring. (I want to maintain the level of fitness I’ve attained)
Mandy’s suggestions, coupled with a recent article I read in the December issue of Runner’s World magazine (A Season to Streak) helped me form a plan. I’ve decided to do a 31 day run through December challenge. I want most of my runs to be 5k, 8k and 10k, but on days when things are less than ideal, like perhaps a snow storm or feeling a bit under the weather, I’ll do at least a mile (1.6k). On days when I’m tired I’ll do the walk/run method (run 10 minutes then walk 1 minute) to help avoid injury. I’m going to take Mandy’s number 4 suggestion and work on a schedule over the next couple of weeks. It should be interesting when I’m away on holiday for a week, but I have some ideas on how to make that work too. (How about running up Smuggler’s Notch Road in Stowe Vermont – it’ll be closed for the winter season – I have that planned with my running friend Cathy.)
I’m going to keep track of how it went and write a weekly post of my progress, so check back throughout December. I hope this helps me maintain, or even increase my ability so that I can start my Around the Bay 30k training schedule more prepared than I was last year.
Who’s up for it?