Post Talking Points

5 minute read

  • Outdoor Running
  • Treadmill Speed workouts
  • Tabata Training for Runners
  • Core Development
  • Training Frequency Plan

Winter is coming!

As the winter is rapidly approaching, the weather will get freezing cold outside, and the days will get shorter as the nights last longer.

Due to this, many people think that running during winter is a disaster due to the unpredictable weather and cold temperatures. Instead of just worrying about mileage and personal records, there are other factors such as the weather, daylight, and safety. And truth to be told, winter training isn’t easy and can be arduous.

However, winter is a great time to establish a solid foundation for increasing running speed and distance to give you an edge over your fellow runners when it heats up again during Spring.

Having consistent training during winter is also highly recommended by Jason Fitzgerald, USATF-certified running coach as he stresses that slacking off during winter can be a costly mistake as it prevents you from progressing and improving your fitness levels.

As your usual training patterns can be disrupted during winter periods, we have included different training regime to help you adapt to various winter conditions:

1: Find A Suitable Outdoor Location To Run

Search for a suitable location to run as not all roads will be covered in ice and snow. You probably have to drive somewhere else to search for clearer roads. However, the training will be well worth it. Include hill runs as it is the staple of every runner’s workout regimen. Hill runs help to improve endurance, strength, and speed. As you get fitter, look for challenging hills with a variety of grades and lengths.

No matter where you live, there will be places where you can go and get your runs or workout in. While running outdoors requires some mental and physical toughness, with proper planning and determination, it’s still very possible to have an effective run outside.

Reminder: While you are running outdoor during winter, make sure you have all the appropriate gear (layers, lights, reflective clothing etc).

2: Utilise Treadmill Speed Workouts

If you are not feeling that adventurous to run outside or if it snows heavily, schedule your workout at the nearest gym or at home on a treadmill. While this is not as exciting and effective as running outside, it will at least get the job done.

Speedwork on the treadmill is perfect for the winter running blues as it recruits new muscle fibers. Start with at least one percent incline and slowly bumping it up as your fitness levels improve. This will mimic and replicate outdoor hill runs.

Here’s an example of the treadmill speed workout:

Warm-up: 15-20 minutes light and easy jog

Interval: Sprint 30 seconds, recover 30 seconds with a slow jog. Repeat for 10-15 times. Aim to increase the difficulty by sprinting for 1 minute, followed by 30 seconds recovery.

Cooldown: 5-10 minutes light and easy jog

3: Perform Tabata Training

Tabata training was first introduced by Izumi Tabata, a former scientist and researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports. The Tabata training method is a form of high-intensity training cycle of 20 seconds full effort burst and followed by 10 seconds recovery. One Tabata cycle will go on repeatedly for 8 times in a 4-minute period.

So why is it so effective for running?

While your VO2max (the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in and use) is largely genetically determined, the pace you can run at VO2max can be improved. Research has shown that high-intensity exercises such as Tabata training can help to improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly, which will help improve your speed at VO2max.

Here’s a brutal and effective Tabata training:

Warm-up: 15-20 minutes light and easy jog

  • Tabata Sprint 1 (4 minutes):
  • Sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 times.
  • Tabata Sprint 2 (4 minutes):
  • Sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 times.
  • Tabata Mountain Climbers 1 (4 minutes):
  • Mountain climbers for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 times.
  • Tabata Mountain Climbers 2 (4 minutes):
  • Mountain climbers for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 times.
  • Tabata Burpees (4 minutes):
  • Do as many burpees as you can for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 times.

Cooldown: 5-10 minutes

4: Strengthen Your Leg Muscles With Compound Exercises

Your legs play a big role in increasing speed and distance. To ensure your legs muscles are stronger and faster, utilise compound movements such as barbell squats, leg press, deadlifts, and lunges. Focus on increasing the weights of these exercises over time to continuously progress.

Besides weight training, plyometrics training such as jump squats, box jumps, and hurdle jumps can also help to improve athletic performance.

5: Develop A Strong Core

By adding a series of core exercises to your running routine, you will be able to stabilise your body better while running, maintain efficient running form when you start to fatigue and prevent the risk of injuries.

Some of our recommended core exercises for runners include bicycle crunch, plank, side plank leg lift, and hip raise. Perform these core exercises 2 times a week in 5 back-to-back circuits of 30 seconds each.

Frequency of Training

Below is a guide on the frequency of your running program from day one to day seven.

Be flexible with your training routine during the winter months as Mother Nature are always conspiring against you!

Day One: Indoor Training (Treadmill) + Legs And Core Workout
Day Two: Outdoor Training (Hill Runs, Long Tempo Runs, Tabata Training)
Day Three: Rest
Day Four: Indoor Training (Treadmill) + Legs and Core Workout
Day Five: Outdoor Training (Hill Runs, Long Tempo Runs, Tabata Training)
Day Six: Rest
Day Seven: Outdoor Training (Hill Runs, Long Tempo Runs, Tabata Training)

Ideally, you will need to run at least 3-4 times per week to maintain fitness levels, and 5-6 times a week to notice increased speed and distance covered.


By following the workouts above, you will be ready to participate in a race after winter. Like other serious runners who stay discipline during winter periods, you will reap the rewards and even achieve a personal record once the winter is over. You will also develop mental toughness along the way as running in these weather and conditions requires a lot of grit and determination.

Be consistent in your training so you don’t have to catch up and spend plenty of time during spring and summer to get back in shape.

So while others are probably in hibernation mode, I urge you to go out there and run!

Over to You
Let us know in the comments below your thoughts on running during winter periods? Are you prepared and ready?

November 16, 2017 — Ben

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