When do adverse conditions outdoors hinder our training?

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  • #62257

    I live and train at 8500′ in Colorado and I have had this question for YEARS….when do our training sessions outdoors build more character than endurance, and is it ever detrimental to our progression?

    Here in at our elevation in CO, the trails are icy, slick, or postholey for 4-5 months a year. It can make running slow and frustrating, because I feel like many times the conditions are slowing me down enough that I’m not actually allowed to get faster or improve because I’m having to be too careful. And its not just a winter issue, but also the rest of the year in inclement weather, or on terrain where we have to be mindful or our steps and slow down to to a pace that puts me far below AeT.

    I have a treadmill and I dont hate it…but I also dont feel comfortable relying on it for really building the strength and conditioning I need for mountain running. I use it really only if I cant get my workout in until way after dark, or if the weather/trail conditions are completely horrible.

    Is it always better to be outside training on a trail, even if we’re moving slow/below AeT, or should I be be running inside more often when trail conditions slow me down? Currently I’m training for the Leadville Marathon, so both being able to move fast enough to develop my speed is seemingly as important as conditioning my body for the mountain terrain….but these icy crappy trails right now sure aren’t making me fast! Ha!

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    Anonymous on #62265

    Hi Erica,

    It depends however for you and your goal I’d do a hybrid ( :
    If trail conditions are less than ideal it does help build really strong legs and stabilizers for the upcoming summer trail runs so keep going outside, I’d add in using trekking poles for the arms and balance so you can move a bit faster and if still not up in zone 2 carry a light pack, heavier than a race day pack, for training weight – also brilliant for gaining leg strength in the winter months. Then for the treadmill use that for maybe 2x runs a week, just to improve leg speed, stay in zone two easily, and when the time is right possibly some speed work while you’re waiting for those trails to dry up and be a bit more friendly.
    Hope this helps! ( :

    Erica on #62268

    Thank is helpful – and I wouldn’t have thought about adding the weight of a pack so thats a brilliant addition. Thank you Carolyn!

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