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Alex Kurt Wednesday, 08 January 2014 16:48 TWEET COMMENTS 3

Taking it to the Streets

Step up your game with a winter road- and speed-training program


Photo by BigStockPhoto

It was somewhere around January, in the dead of winter, when the realization took hold—I was confined to the pavement.

It’s not that my hometown of Minneapolis lacks nearby trail access—quite the opposite. But a flash freeze had turned much of the Twin Cities’ singletrack into icy death chutes. Some hardcore trail junkies toughed it out with screws in their shoes, but faced with limited daylight and a schedule that included grad school and two jobs, I gave into the convenience of the flat, paved trails that start just blocks from my doorstep. Quickly, though, I became bored.

To mix things up, I revisited a ghost from my past: speed work. Fartleks, intervals and tempo runs became a twice-or-thrice weekly undertaking. Soon I was running faster than I had since college, and entering (cold) road races with newfound confidence. When the snow melted and I stepped back onto the trails, I still dedicated two days a week to a tempo effort on the pavement adjacent to the Mississippi River, or a 1000s session on the University of Minnesota track.

After a brief readjustment to the varying tempo and more challenging terrain, I was running trails better than ever before—all because I spent the winter running on roads.



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