Training Disruptions

Posted: February 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

One of the more challenging aspects of training for a marathon is managing all the disruptions.  Some of the more common things that place demands on our training are work, family, travel, social life, aches and pains and now the weather.  The most common question I have received in the last two weeks is, “Does snow shoveling count as cross training?”

Yes, any form of physical activity counts as cross-training.  You are certainly elevating your heart rate if you’re shoveling snow.  You have to be extremely cautious when shoveling snow because it’s a relatively new activity and you’ll be using movements and muscles you normally don’t.  Bending over properly and using your legs to lift will reduce the pain you experience, particularly in your lower back, the following morning.

The second most common question that I have been asked pertains to snowshoes.  Lori, Rider, and I have had snowshoes for over 10 years and I couldn’t be a bigger fan.  They have returned me to my childhood more than even a bicycle.  Imagine not having to deal with cars and running on the roads!  Running on newly fallen snow on a trail or through a field and having a rooster tail of snow flying 10 feet in the air behind you with each stride and enjoying nature is exhilarating.

So while the weather has been a major challenge, it provides opportunity to manage the disruptions by allowing you cross-training options.  Snow removal and snowshoe running definitely count as cross training activities.  I mentioned how important variety is to your training in yesterday’s post and these activities support that contention.  I spent over an hour using a 15 foot roof rake yesterday and I could definitely feel my core being worked and challenged.

The downside of running on snow and ice-covered roads is that you use different muscles, tendons and ligaments.  This can cause aches and pains that also disrupt your training.  Erring on the side of caution and taking an extra day of cross-training or rest is highly recommended.  Too many runners rush back and make up for lost training miles too quickly which normally results in the aches and pains turning into a more chronic injury.

Training disruptions are expected and I have developed your training program with that in mind.  You still have two months to prepare for Boston.  Managing the inevitable disruptions will ensure you arrive at the starting line of the Boston Marathon excited, healthy and confident!

  1. Sheree Dunwell says:

    Thank you for this post! This has reassured me that I have done the right thing…and that is rest. Due to an overwhelming amount of shin pain over the last couple weeks, I had to make the difficult, albeit necessary, decision to rest from training. This included skipping the 14-miler, which disappointed me very much.

    I’ve incorporated low/no impact workouts over the last two weeks in place of runs. Because of that, my pain is now nearly 100% gone (which confirms no serious injury) and I feel confident enough to get back into training. I did a 3-mile and a 6-mile this week. I do plan to attend the long run tomorrow, but will base how far I go on how I am feeling…perhaps taking more walk breaks and going slower than usual will be the best approach for me! Thank you for all of your advice!


  2. Sheree,

    Managing the lows and the challenges in training is the ultimate test of your spirit and discipline. I’ve admired your spirit from the moment I met you and your discipline is unquestioned. Being disciplined in doing less is as important as the discipline required to complete a long run.

    Your Coach,


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