Increasing Running Mileage During Winter
Despite the cold and dark, Winter is an ideal time for runners to increase their training mileage. Put the work in now, and reap the rewards for Spring marathon season.
Make A Plan
Do you have a marathon or half marathon planned? Is your goal to run a certain distance non-stop, or to increase your running endurance to a certain point? Whatever your personal goal, make sure you approach your mileage increase with a structured plan. This will help you avoid injury and overtraining, but will also boost your sense of achievement. After all, if you don’t know where you’re heading, how will you know when you’ve got there?
Check Your Kit
Before you start to crank up the running miles, make sure your kit is fit for purpose. Are your running shoes still in good order? Check the soles and tread for uneven wear, cracks and signs of perishing. How old are your sportsbras? Do you have warm running tops and bottoms, and reflective running kit, to see you through the extra Winter training miles? Check out our previous articles for helpful tips on essential kit for Winter running.
Build Up Slowly
It goes without saying, but make sure you increase your running mileage steadily, with plenty of rest and recovery built in. Schedule rest days every week, and deload weeks every 4-6 weeks. This will give your muscles, nervous system, metabolism, ligaments, tendons and connective tissue a chance to recover. Your mind may feel strong and fired up, but your body will take a while to catch up (no matter how motivated you feel!)
Schedule In Rest Days
The number of rest days you need will vary from person to person, but you should take at least two full rest days a week. On your rest days, keep mobile by walking or doing some other low-impact, low-stress activity, and use a foam roller, stretch or get a light massage.
Take Recovery Seriously
It’s important to take rest and recovery as seriously as you take your actual training runs. It’s during recover that we actually make gains in fitness and strength. The body adapts to the stress of training when we allow it to rest, although we may not be able to see or feel the changes that are occurring. When you increase your running mileage, be sure to drink more water, get better quality sleep (on a more consistent basis), eat more nutrient-dense foods, and perform activities such as stretching, massage and foam rolling at home.
Finally, take some time now to create some motivational tools which will keep you going after the first burst of enthusiasm for increasing your mileage has worn off. Here at running4women we like using mood boards, motivational slogans, training diaries, training partners, running clubs, online forums and journals, and visual reminders of our goals placed around the house. What will work for you? We can’t say, but we’d love to help you stay motivated as you increase your running mileage and achieve your next fitness goal.