The winter is reserved for many as a period of rest and relaxation. Activity levels drop and nutrition levels usually stay the same and by the end of the cold weather, you are back at last year’s square one. For others, it is a time to sit in the basement and watch videos as you chew up tire after tire whilst developing a good crop of saddle sores. Whatever suits you is fine with me.
Consider a different approach:
- Review your year for ups and downs, your results, your training stats and how you felt over the year.
- Take a peak at next year and set a tentative calendar of events, putting more importance on the early ones and a little less on those later in the season. You will revisit this list later in the off season and designate key events and races.
- Evaluate your initial goals for those early events (ones that are 3-5 months away) and ask yourself if those goals are measurable and achievable.
- Verify your forecast/predictions/hopes/stretch-goals/plain-old-goals right now.
- Adjust your training plan.
Here is an example:
This winter I am focusing on getting back into running shape, with a goal event of the Chilly Half Marathon at the beginning of March. I currently train with a jogging stroller and a 25 lb baby. I have my strength and flexibility plan in place and have been spending the last 2 months just getting back into the habit of running, with good subjective results.
Tomorrow I will go out to test myself (avec pram) on a somewhat challenging 10km course to help me fine-tune my goal (and supporting training). Why 10km test for a 21.1km race? My 10km run has been a good predictor of my performance over the half marathon distance, with my 1/2 marathon pace approximately 10-15% slower than my 10km pace.
Highly probable outcomes (being honest about my conditioning):
- 1 hour for 10km, predicting a max time of about 2:15 for the 1/2 marathon
- 55 min for 10km, predicting a max time of about 2:05
- 50 min for 10, 1:55 for the half
- 45 min for 10, 1:50 for the half
- Best time ever-2006: 1:41:56 (4:48/km)
I stop at 45 minutes as it is not very likely that I will be able to run faster than that. I am pushing a stroller and though in training I have pushed my pace down to a 4 minute kilometer, I know it is not sustainable over 10km.
I still place my stretch goal at 1:40:00, a personal best time. Comparing my performance in tomorrow’s test to that stretch goal will let me know how probable it is and just how much training I need to do to make that happen. And whether or not Hugo can be along for the ride on race day.
Results and some additional advice for you tomorrow.