The World Won’t Let Me Train!

Snow in BlackheathI’m writing this post from the comfort of my bed this week. A culmination of the cold weather, over doing it at Christmas and marathon training have resulted in a sustained period of man-flu and (eventually) two days off work.

After my doctor basically told me to stop being an idiot, stop training, take some paracetamol and go to bed, I’m now halting my marathon training until I’m back up to full strength.

It’s a tough little conundrum. Like last year, I’ve taken on a 16-week training plan for this year’s marathon. Some don’t think that’s enough but 5-6 runs a week for 4 months will do me plenty.

I’d kept up a fairly decent 10k pace before beginning my training so it wasn’t too much of a shock to the system once starting. But how in the name of all that is holy am I supposed to train in the worst snow Britain has seen for decades, not get a cold and have any chance of beating my time last year?!

For those who are abroad or have been living underground, arctic conditions brought Britain to a standstill in early 2010 as transport officials faced the perils of running out of grit. Even getting to the gym was impossible for some so treadmill running was out. When it wasn’t snowing, temperatures were so low that the icy snow held on and didn’t melt for a couple of weeks. I ventured out in the snow for a 10k to kick off the 2010 training but without a pair of running spikes it was fairly comical.

So am I missing out on vital training hours? Will I have to catch up on the missed miles? How much will my fitness level deteriorate during the time spent bed-ridden? What can I do as an alternative?

Well if you are house-bound because of the weather there’s not a lot you can do in terms of running. But here are a few ideas to get your heart rate up without having to own your own personal gym equipment:

  • Exercise DVDs
    If you don’t live in a flat and can get away with stomping on the floor a bit then try out an exercise DVD. All you need is a couple of yellow-pages and a love for celebrities.
  • Core exercises
    A strong core is a huge benefit for runners. It’ll give you a tidy running posture which will make your run far more efficient. I’ve recently experienced mild back pain as a result of not exercising my core and stretching out my back muscles after running. Try out these core strengthening exercises from Runner’s World. Remember, it’s all about control, not number of reps and luckily, you don’t need a lot of room to do them.
  • Bike Trainer
    Own a bike and have enough room to pedal indoors in front of the TV? One of these bike trainers allows you to pedal indoors and work up a sweat. TIP: put a towel underneath to catch your sweat or face the wrath of your husband/wife/mother.

If you are ill then it depends on the neck rule (check out this post from Coach Joe English). Basically if you’re symptoms are felt from the neck up (runny nosy, headache) then you’re probably alright to run. Any symptoms felt from the neck down (coughs, chest pain) then it’s a no go. I wrote a post on this just before the marathon in 2009.

Try not to worry about losing out on training time (I know it’s hard). It takes a good couple of weeks to really lose the effects of training and pushing yourself without allowing your body to recover will just mean that your body takes longer to heal.

If you have any tips on how you’ve been training during the Winter months or how to get rid of a cold quicker then do leave a comment below.

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