Don’t allow cold weather, vacation and family fun days to fade out your fitness. Winter months are ideal to rest, recover and recollect last year’s accomplishments and set attainable goals for the upcoming season. The treadmill is a great tool to keep your fitness edge honed during off season. With three quality workouts per week you will come away from the offseason tuned up for the seasons ahead.
Maintain Fitness: Endurance
Nice & Easy: Run for 30-60 minutes. Keep your heart rate low and pace slow. You should be able to hold a conversation without breathing heavy. Do one or two of these runs each week to keep your aerobic base strong.
Steady Tempo: Start with a 10-minute warmup and a steady tempo for 15-45 minutes. This workout is a little faster than Nice & Easy. You should still be able to converse, but with more effort and heavier breathing. If using a heart rate monitor, increase your HR about ten beats faster than your Nice & Easy pace. Finish with a 10-minute cool down.
Going Long: The idea of this run is to build aerobic base and run longer. Run at Nice & Easy pace or slower, taking walk breaks if required. Depending on your current long run capacity, add on five to ten minutes a week. Try to build up to a 75- to 90-minute long run.
Speed Work: Intervals
Classic Intervals: These help you nurture or increase your overall speed. Intervals also help your running economy and aerobic capacity (VO2 max). Start with a 10-minute warm up. Then do five 10×3-minute hard intervals with a three-minute recovery (easy running or walking). Finish off with a 10-minute cool down. Interval pace should be 98-100% of your HR max, but not a sprint.
Speed Pick-Ups: Objective is to learn to pace yourself and run negative splits (second half of run faster than first). Run your first kilometre at a very easy pace. Your second kilometre will be 20 seconds faster, third kilometre 20 seconds faster and so on. Finish with a Nice & Easy pace for the last couple kilometres.
Strides: These work well when you are short on time but want to add a little pep and speed to your workout. Your stride pace should be the same as your interval pace, or slightly faster. Talking at this pace should be nearly impossible. In the middle of your run, add in ten 20- to 40-second strides. Run slow for one minute in between each stride.
Strength Training: Hills
Rolling Hills: Hills or inclines on treadmills are a great way to strengthen and maintain calf strength. Start off with 0% incline and every five minutes add a hill or incline of 3% or 4% grade for two minutes. Switch back and forth for the entire run.
Walk the Hill: This is an especially good workout for trail runners: add hills into a long run to increase your hill endurance. Do a 60- to 90-minute run with steep hills throughout the run. Try 7% or 8% grade for five minutes at a time. Try walking all the hills to build up endurance.
Super Climber: This builds hill strength, endurance and mental grit. Start at 0% incline and gradually add 1% grade every kilometre. Keep climbing until you can take no more and then go back down one kilometre at a time.