If you are like me then you are feeling the cold, unforgiving winter conditions that tempt us to stay inside. While staying warm and cozy in the comfort of your own home seems appealing, it’s negatively affecting necessary training time to prime you for the spring and summer adventures. Winter is a great time to rest up the body, but an even better time to cross train to keep us in pristine shape for the adventures that we wrote down on our to do list on New Years.
The following activities will help each of us overcome the dull, dreary winter months and keep us prepared for warmer adventures.
And to you southerner’s grinning from ear to ear basking in the warmth and sunlight, you may still find some value in the tips below, or maybe become jealous of our snow!
Here are 7 different winter workouts that you can do when weather tells you not to run.
1. Weights workouts – A great way to stay indoors and maximize your workout time is to get out the weights. Building up strength is critical for long-distance races where fatigue becomes an issue. You can use anything from dumbbells to more advanced strength training equipment. Muscle groups to target are your core, lower back, shoulders, lats, triceps, hamstrings, glutes, quads and calve. Staying in to get some weight workouts will help with muscular strength for the late race fatigue or when it is necessary to power up a tough hill at mile 15.
2. Backcountry skiing – A couple of years ago I was discussing with a friend my love of snowshoeing in the outdoors when he stated to me that it lacked the reward after the effort was put in. I still love to get out on snowshoes because the reward is the summit, pass or ridge, but I took his advice and started putting planks on my feet to speed down the hills. If you need some good cardio and want some amazing scenery along the way? Look no further than buying, borrowing or renting a good backcountry ski setup. This workout will provides good cardio and strengthens your core. I have found a love for finding some fresh turns in the backcountry. *Please be cautious of avalanche terrain and take and avalanche course before going out. Be sure that you are equipped and prepared for the terrain you will go on.
3. Snowshoeing – Hit the backcountry and conquer some snow-covered peaks along the way! Snowshoeing is an excellent winter adventure activity that provides you some breathtaking backcountry scenery and targets your glutes, guads and stabilizer muscles. It’s not too expensive to get into. You can purchase your own snowshoes for a reasonable price or rent them from a local outdoor retail store. However, be warned—you may fall in love with it! I still love to pull out the snowshoes and get up high in the winter. *Please be cautious of avalanche terrain and take and avalanche course before going out. Be sure that you are equipped and prepared for the terrain you will go on.
4. Yoga or Pilates – These two activities can improve flexibility, strength, balance, endurance and control of your inner self. There is plenty of available content through YouTube videos, off the shelf programs or checkout out your local yoga studio. Plus, it’s an indoor activity, which means you don’t have to brave the winter elements to stay in shape!
5. Indoor Swimming – Swimming indoors is a great cross training opportunity. You can stay inside, but get an amazing workout in a condensed amount of time. Swimming laps are great, but you can also check out the local water aerobics class (yes, it’s not just for the old ladies). Just do the aerobics workouts twice as hard. This will help you have better muscle dexterity as well as improved form. The best thing about swimming? The water offers resistance to give you an incredible workout WITHOUT the impact of running. Dive in and get stronger!
6. Rock Climbing – This seems to be a summer and fall sport, but I love climbing and bouldering in the wintertime. Unless I head south this is all done inside a gym, but it gets me in shape to climb and scramble in the summertime. I love to work a route at my local gym then I am ready for the crags when the snow melts. An excellent full body workout done out of the cold.
7. Shovel Snow – Many of us that live in snowy environments don’t find a great joy for this one, but it is amazing the workout that comes from it. It’s easy to get annoyed by shoveling your own walk, but try going around the neighborhood. Not only will you get a great core and upper body workout, but it will feel great to help our your neighbors.
Utilizing the activities above will add variety to your training and keep your body prepared for spring. Keep running, exploring and pushing yourself to new heights. I have found that the more I get out in the winter then the more fun I have through the warmer months because my body is ready to take it all on.