Your Day-by-Day Guide to Train Strong Through Winter

The following is an update from Coach Patrick McCrann on how to implement your winter running in a safe and efficient manner. There are two flavors of training week: Fitness and Endurance.

The Winter Fitness Template is if you don't have a specific race goal but are looking to build some speed. The winter is a great time to build speed because you don't have any race-specific volume requirements and can spend plenty of time recovering.

The Winter Endurance Template is if you are training for an early season half or full marathon. In this case your week is centered around a longer weekend effort that will build your endurance. Consider this template week a starting point; you'll need to adjust the mileage based on your own fitness, race goals, and race proximity. And don't forget that in the last six weeks before your race, you'll want to be running almost exclusively outside.

Regardless of the version you choose, make sure that your winter is full of good sleep and hydration. Whether you work from home or you are a road warrior, there are plenty of opportunities to get sick and really face a significant setback in terms of your overall fitness. Remember that sleep is your number one weapon to stay healthy!

Winter Fitness Template

Monday

Tuesday

Wed

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Workout

Day OFF

Tempo Intervals

Skill + Strides

Incline Run

Day OFF

Tempo + Endurance

Skill + Strides

Duration

0 mins

45 mins

45 mins

45 mins

0 mins

60 mins

45 mins

Location

n/a

Outside

Treadmill

Treadmill

n/a

Outside

Treadmill

Winter Fitness Template Notes:

This template is designed for the active runner looking for a run fitness boost without a particular race goal. Doing a 5K or 10K race every now and then could certainly be a part of this cycle, so feel free to add those in.

If you can only get two sessions in a week because of travel or other commitments, then your targets should be the Tuesday and Thursday sessions. Endurance isn't really a focus in the winter, and skill runs can be made up at any time. Keep your fitness on the upward trend with the key Tempo and Incline sessions and you'll be all set!

  1. Tempo Intervals (Outside): Your target pace should be approximately Half Marathon Pace, with repeats in the 8- to 15-minute range with recoveries being 50% of the work interval time. Given that we have minimal longer running in this template, you can do your intervals as fast as fast as 10k pace. Just be sure to recover fully before the next repeat.
  2. Skill + Strides (Treadmill): This is meant to be an easy run, where you build from easy pace up to a Half Marathon Pace. Shut the run down with five minutes to go and finish with 4 to 6 repeats of strides: a fast paced run where you aim for 30 left foot strikes in 20 seconds. Walk for 40 seconds on the treadmill and then repeat.
  3. Incline Run (Treadmill): This is a challenging run, but more in terms of the cumulative effect of the running not through a single repeat or interval...this is not a hill repeat workout. After a 10 to 15 minute warm up at 1% grade, you should increase the incline to 2 percent and increase the pace to your marathon race pace plus 10 seconds per mile. After a mile you can increase the incline to 3% and increase the pace to your marathon race pace. After another mile, you can increase the incline to 4 percent and increase the pace to 10 seconds per mile faster than your goal marathon race pace. Then you can cool down. Feel free to adjust the percent incline and pacing as you need for a proper workout; just know that the point is to have the last one-third of the main set be the hard part.
  4. Tempo + Endurance: As with the regular Tempo workout, your target pace should be approximately Half Marathon Pace. This time your repeats are in the 6- to 8-minute range with recoveries being 50% of the work interval time. After you warm up, do 2 to three of these repeats, making sure to recover fully before the next repeat. After these repeats, you can then roll into an endurance run that is approximately 20 to 30 seconds slower per mile than your goal marathon pace for the remainder of the time you have.

Winter Endurance Template

Monday

Tuesday

Wed

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Workout

Skill + Strides

Tempo Intervals

Skill + Strides

Hilly Run

Skill + Strides

Endurance

Neg Split

Day OFF

Duration

45 mins

45+ mins

45 mins

45+ mins

45 mins

60+ mins

0 mins

Location

Treadmill

Outside

Treadmill

Outside

Treadmill

Outside

n/a

Winter Endurance Template Notes:

Three runs outside in this more race-specific version. We balance the workload by alternating harder sessions with skill sessions.

If you can only get two sessions in a week...

  1. Skill + Strides (Treadmill): This is meant to be an easy run, where you build from easy pace up to a Half Marathon Pace. Shut the run down with five minutes to go and finish with 4 to 6 repeats of strides: a fast paced run where you aim for 30 left foot strikes in 20 seconds. Walk for 40 seconds on the treadmill and then repeat.
  2. Tempo Intervals (Outside): Your target pace should be no more than Half Marathon Pace, with repeats in the 8- to 15-minute range with recoveries being 50% of the work interval time. Given that we do have some longer running in this template, you should not go faster than Goal Half Marathon pace. And always be sure to recover fully before the next repeat!
  3. Hilly Run (Outside): Note that I say "hilly" run and not hill repeats. With only so much time to train and with winter conditions in the way, every chance you get to be outdoors needs to be a good effort with about an hour's worth of running. Crush yourself with hill intervals and you could miss out on the next few days worth of quality workouts! So find some rolling terrain and log a steady run with equal time over, at and just under Half Marathon pace.
  4. Endurance Negative Split (Outside): This is the longer run on your weekly schedule. Given the nature of the rest of your week, we want a solid session that won't drain you too much yet builds some fitness -- enter the negative split! If you are training for a half marathon, your main set will be split between the first half at Marathon Pace and the second half at Half Marathon Pace. If you are training for a full marathon, the split is between Marathon Pace + 30 seconds per mile and Marathon Pace.
The duration of your main set is a function of how far you need to run based on the proximity of your race. The further away your race is, the shorter the main set can be and the split is close to 50 percent slower and 50 percent faster. As your race nears your main set increases in duration and the split moves to more of a 70 percent slower / 30 percent faster split. You can simply adapt the progression you have in your current training plan or create a free trial over on Marathon Nation to access one of our plans.

Marathon Nation is the home of Coach Patrick and his real-world,pace-based marathon training system. Download one of our free resources, findyour personal marathon training schedule or share your training and racing with our growing community of runners. Find more quality articles and video analysis resources online at Marathon Nation: www.marathonnation.us

Training for a marathon? Download our free PDF guide that will walk you through the most critical parts of the pre-marathon experience. You can register to download it from Marathon Nation.

Looking to improve your overall running? Download a free copy of our 29 Tips to Transform Your Running eBook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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