Runners who live in cold-weather states know it can be tough to get in a good run during the winter months. Sure, the most hardcore runners will put up with any kind of weather, but it’s not always safe or practical to do so.
For runners looking for winter workout alternatives, here are five quick things to consider.
- Go Skiing
If the weather isn’t willing to adapt to your workout habits, then sometimes you have to adapt to the weather.
When it comes to skiing, you have two options — cross-country and downhill. Both work far more muscle groups than regular running does, meaning you should be in good physical shape once the weather does finally clear up.
Downhill skiing is much more intense, of course, and it will work nearly every muscle group you have. Cross-country, on the other hand, gives you a very good core workout with the option to improve stamina and cardio fitness as well.
- Hit the Treadmill
For dedicated runners, using the treadmill can be a bit like taking a shower with a raincoat on. Sure, it’s technically the same thing, but is it really?
On its face, a treadmill workout sounds boring. Who wants to stare at a wall or TV for an hour while running in place? Fortunately, there are more intense workouts you can do on the treadmill that will have you ready for spring.
One option starts with a 15-minute warm-up period during which you run easily and gradually increase your pace. You can then get into a much harder interval in which you run hard for two minutes, then go easy for a minute. Build your way up to a four-minute hard run, separated by two minutes of easy running.
Top your workout off with a 10-minute cool down, and before you’ll know it you’ll have a solid hour-long workout complete.
- Take a Dip
Yes, we know, you’re a runner, not a swimmer. But if the weather happens to be below zero, sometimes hitting the indoor pool at the gym is the best option.
Swimming has many benefits. It’s a great cardio workout that will get your blood flowing. It also carries a low injury risk, keeping your legs and feet injury-free as you gear up toward running season.
Also, similar to skiing, swimming works just about every muscle group in your body, particularly the core. This will only make you stronger for when you’re ready to begin running again.
- Practice Yoga for Runners
There are many ways for runners to stay in shape during the winter months, and yoga pays other dividends as well. A relatively simple routine can help you keep up your strength and make you less injury-prone as a runner.
Also, as anyone who has tried yoga knows, breathing is extremely important when doing a yoga workout. This is obviously the case when it comes to running as well, so yoga is a good way to keep your lungs in tip-top shape during the winter.
Yoga is also much lower impact than running, handy if your knees, feet and ankles could use a well-deserved break.
- Suck It Up
As a runner, there’s one main thing you want to do — run. So why not become one of those hardcore winter runners yourself?
There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to winter running, however:
- Warming up is key, particularly if the temperature is brutally low. If that’s the case, bundling up with the right amount of layers is important as well.
- Keep safety at the top of your mind. You don’t want to risk getting frostbite, and you also don’t want to fall on your butt when you hit an icy patch.
- Winter running is not always about speed. It’s more about maintenance, so don’t worry if you’re not keeping the same pace you might in the spring or summer.
As you can see, there are plenty of options for runners looking to stay in shape during the cold winter months. Mix and match these various workouts throughout the winter, and before you know it you’ll be back outside again in warm weather, doing what you truly love.