It’s February here in the Northeast and we are deep into treadmill season. Despite some brief respites of days over the freezing mark, the majority of my runs over the last two months have been on the treadmill.
As a replacement for the bulk of base miles the treadmill often gets maligned, but as a training tool for specific, targeted workouts, I think it is often neglected. I wouldn’t want to run all my miles on a treadmill, but the treadmill can have a purpose in your training cycle.
It’s the dark days of February in New England which means lots of people are bundled up and running outside to train for the marathon. God bless, them. Training locally for Boston is probably the toughest and sometimes most dangerous part.
I don’t have to worry about that this year, but I’m still trying get some running in despite the snow, ice and general unpleasantness outside.
It’s a fact, runners don’t like the strength train. We’d rather be running, of course. I struggled for years with trying to stick to a workout routine. I’d be relatively consistent in the winter/off-season, but as soon as it started warming up, I’d drop the gym for the roads. With the knee diagnosis, I’m now likely paying the price for all those lopsided years of running and riding without proper strength training. Ironically, it’s only in the last year that I’ve found a strength routine that works for me. Maybe it will work for you. Trust me, it’s better than arthritis.
So, it’s January. A time where everyone dusts off their gym membership card. I have mixed feelings about the annual influx of January gym-ers. I’m happy that they are back and trying to get healthy. I’m a little annoyed they sometimes don’t know proper etiquette. But mostly I’m terrified that they are going to tear off a limb lifting weights or mangle an ankle on a cardio machine.
So many people hit the gym with the best intentions, but soon end up back on the sideline, either injured or discouraged. Getting started is the first step, the biggest step maybe, but getting started correctly will make the chances of developing fitness as a habit and seeing real, tangible results much, much higher.
As I’ve hit my forties and found my time to workout more limited, these are the five things I’ve found most helpful in making sure the time that I do workout is healthy, effective and safe.
What’s the best way to train for a 5k? Do you still need long runs? Only sprint workouts?
It’s been at least 10 years since I really focused on the 5k as a goal race. Recently, it’s been longer road races and triathlons as the goal and the 5k’s were only there to spice up the training or get in the speed work, but with my knee arthritis and the goal of building back up very slowly, 2018 is looking like the year of the 5k and the sprint triathlons.
For the last six weeks I have slowly been ramping up the running with the goal of starting the new year with a solid race. Here is what I’ve learned and put into practice as my training.
Since I started running, way back in the local Hershey youth track meets, I’ve been running after numbers. Each distance, each event was defined by a winning time, or later when it was a clear I wasn’t going to be an All-American, a personal record.
I’m highly motivated by goals and for much of my running career that goal has been to go faster. To lower those PRs. Ask any serious runner, even weekend warrior, and they will be able to tell you their PRs across distances.
My knee has been feeling a lot better in the last two weeks. So much better than I’m nervous my body is screwing with me and it’s all going to come crashing down at any moment and leave me hobbling around again and finally understanding the merits of a cane.
I don’t know what’s made the difference, which is what has me nervous, but also hopeful that at least something is working. I’m not sure if it’s the three times a week I’m doing a 20 minute simple strength routine, the daily foam rolling or the extra stretching. Maybe it’s just time and rest. Or voodoo.
It’s likely a combination of all of them. But probably voodoo.