This blog and workout were written by our friend Matt Orlando, The Runner Dad.
Brace yourself. Winter is coming. Are you ready? The cold, snowy weather…the stress-filled holiday shopping…the over indulgent eating…a seemingly never-ending onslaught of ways to lose your motivation and all the positive gains you made over the rest of the year. Speaking from experience, it is easy to get derailed at this time of the year. Running and fitness seem to take a back seat to all of our other competing priorities, and it usually is not until the new year rolls around that you look back and wonder where the time went. Thankfully, though, it does not have to be that way. With a little planning, a little goal setting, and a solid go-to workout that challenges your abilities you can stay on track and be race-ready when spring time finally rolls around.
If you truly want to make running a priority over these next few months, consider these tips:
- Reexamine your expectations. Winter is not always the time to set lofty mileage goals or attempt heroic PRs. During these winter months, especially during the holidays, you should focus on maintaining your overall fitness and a solid life balance…and of course, your sanity.
- Scale back. With so many competing priorities, trying to run five to seven days a week oftentimes isn’t feasible. Try to commit to three workouts (short easy run, speed/tempo run, and long run) with maybe one bonus run a week if time permits.
- Make it social. Everyone is competing for your attention during the holidays. See if you can multitask and have your friends and family join you on some runs. Who knows, you might even enjoy spending time with family!
- Challenge yourself. Focus on smaller yet rewarding goals that will keep you motivated but not add any additional stress to your life. Increasing the time or length of your long run or decreasing the number of walk breaks you need to take could be an option, or really work on refining your fueling strategy so you are ready to race come spring.
Now if you are looking for a challenging, fat-burning, heart-racing, sweat-inducing workout to get your blood pumping this winter, here is one of my favorites that keeps me fired up through the coldest of days.
Workout Name: The Need for Speed
Time: 30 – 45 minutes
Gear: Running clothes, running shoes, and a treadmill. If you’re feeling brave and heading outdoors, a GPS enabled watch and some winter running gear like Brooks LSD Thermal Running Jacket and Threshold Running Tights.
Goal: Challenge yourself, increase your speed and give yourself that confidence boosting run you need to power through the week. Your goal should be to get through all of these steps within the allotted time. If you cannot, no worries. Simply do as much as you can, remembering to allow for a cool down (Step 9), and try to complete more next time.
Note that I have included goal pace times and level of difficulty to help you determine how fast you should be running each interval. You can use this chart to determine what your goal pace should be. For this example, I will use an 8-minute mile goal pace. Intensity is scaled from 1 – 10, with 1 being as slow as possible and still running, 10 being an all-out sprint.
- Step 1: Warm up with 5 easy minutes of running. So easy that you cannot even believe you are actually running. Don’t worry, you will feel it soon.
- Step 2: Run 1 mile at your 5K goal pace. Yes, this is going to feel hard. Don’t worry…it only gets harder, and better!
- Step 3: Walk or jog slowly for 4 minutes.
- Step 4: Run 800M (half-mile) slightly faster than your 5K goal pace. Feeling it yet?
- Step 5: Walk or jog slowly for 2 minutes.
- Step 6: Run 400M (quarter-mile) at an even faster, but controlled, pace. Now you’re feeling it, but you’re smiling because you love it.
- Step 7: Walk or jog slowly for 4 minutes.
- Step 8: Repeat Steps 1-6 in reverse order (400, 800, Mile).
- Step 9: Cool down with 5 minutes of easy running. Again, so easy that you cannot believe you are actually running…because at this point you will say to yourself “why am I actually still running?”
- Step 10: Head home and reward yourself with some of those homemade chocolate chip cookies you have been staring at all day. You deserve them.
About the Author
Matt Orlando is a runner, father, and husband from New Jersey. He enjoys IT, reading, movies, travel, and being outdoors. He loves writing on a variety of topics ranging from parenting to running and everything in between! Check out his webpage here! You can also follow him on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!