By the Squannacook Runner

Welcome to the second week of our Groton Road Race Training Program. This week, we go for 2 miles! Remember your ultimate goal: to be "lean and mean" and fit enough to run the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) event at this year's Groton Road Race.

If my pep talk last week convinced you to give it a try, great! Keep it up! If you're still a charter member of the Couch Potato Club, there's still time to get involved. We'll be having fun on race day (Sunday, April 27) and want you to be part of the action.

Should temperatures drop below freezing, you won't need to hit the roads wearing a winter parka. Sure, you'll want to dress warmly, but not as though you were venturing out to the North Pole. Your body will generate a lot of heat during a run. Overdress, and you'll feel like you're jogging in a steam bath!

Check the thermometer, then dress as you normally would as if the temperature was 20 degrees warmer. On an average New England late winter day with temperatures in the mid-30s, this means light thermal underwear under a sweat suit, plus cap and gloves or mittens.

If an arctic blast drops the mercury to the teens or single digits, add a windbreaker and possibly a ski mask to protect your face. Don't attempt a run if cold and wind combine to produce a below-zero wind chill. Besides the danger from frostbite, running under such conditions just ain't fun!

Also, exercise caution when hitting the roads after a snowstorm.


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I strongly urge you to avoid well-traveled roads should we get whacked with a late-winter blizzard. Roadside snowbanks that force you out into traffic plus slippery roads can make for a fatal combination. During winter, I do my running on the quiet streets of a local housing development. When I encounter slippery, slushy conditions, I either wait until the roads are plowed and sanded or substitute a brisk walk for the run. I still get calorie-burning exercise, and I'm less likely to take a spill while walking.

The good news is that winter won't be around much longer. Before you know it, the running "uniform of the day" will be shorts and a T-shirt. Nothing beats a relaxed jog under those conditions!

Whatever the weather may be, be sure to warm up adequately before each run. This is especially true when it's cold, as muscles, tightened by contact with the chill air, are easily strained.

Training schedule

GOAL FOR THE WEEK: To increase your longest run to 2 miles. A secondary goal will be to run 1 mile at a brisk pace.

Sunday: 1-mile nonstop jog at relaxed pace. The soreness you felt last week should be all but gone by now.

Monday: 12-minute nonstop jog. This run should carry you a bit beyond 1 mile, giving you the opportunity to explore new running territory. It's the first (and definitely not the last!) time you'll need a running watch as a training aid.

Tuesday: 1-mile nonstop run. Try cranking out a brisker pace than you did last week.

Wednesday: Rest day, or a make-up day, if you missed one of the above workouts.

Thursday: 2-mile walk-and-or-jog. This is a ground-breaking run, but you may surprise yourself by going the distance without having to walk at all. Just take it slow and easy -- you're not out to set any speed records, and you don't want an injury this early in the program!

Friday: Celebrate yesterday's 2-miler with a 1-mile relaxed run.

Saturday: Rest day (or make-up day). Just think -- you've logged more than 6 miles this week! Way to go!

NEXT WEEK: I see a 3-mile run in your future!