Quebec City is currently ensconced in very real winter conditions. It’s the version of Canada that you see on wintry post cards and in advertisements. They’re experiencing record highs in terms of cold and snow, but this isn’t preventing Quebecers from enjoying winter. In fact, this weather is exciting to lots of Quebec residents. 

Afternoon start at Pentathlon des Neiges

The Pentathlon Des Neiges is one of the biggest winter multi-sport festivals in the world. The event draws international crowds and invites participants to embrace winter like a true Quebecer. 

RELATED: PHOTO GALLERY: Pentathlon Des Neiges day 1

Many runners dread winter. They resign themselves to the treadmill and accept cold-weather defeat. While there are certain days where running outside isn’t possible because of sidewalk or road conditions, the treadmill isn’t your only other exercise option. As an avid runner myself, I had fallen into the pattern of either running outside or running on the treadmill, deciding that those were my only two options to achieve fitness. This weekend I was cross-country skiing, something that I hadn’t done for years, and was reminded of what a great workout it is. 

I had spent hours indoors this winter, listened to countless podcasts on a conveyor belt, and this whole time I could have been outside, achieving a similar level of training gain and enjoying winter. I really started to feel like I’d missed out. 

Snowshoe leg. Final 100m to finsh.

Regardless of the level of runner you are, working snow sports into your routine is a great idea for physical and mental training. By taking a break for the daily grind of treadmill or road running, you’re giving your body and mind the opportunity to reset. Better yet? Register for the Pentathlon des Neiges and give yourself a goal. If you’ve got a winter race to look forward to, motivation will likely remain higher through the dark and cold days. You live in Canada, after all. Why not work with the climate you’ve been given?

RELATED: PHOTO GALLERY: Pentathlon Des Neiges day 2

Transition zone.

After your race, you’ll have one of Canada’s coolest cities to explore. If post-race beverages are you style, there’s lots of opportunity for that. Head to the ski chalet seconds from the finish to grab a pint or clean yourself up and go downtown to Old Quebec for a drink in style. Not so into drinking? No problem. Quebec City has a ton of art and history to take in. The course is located right at the foot of the Museé des Beaux Arts, and only two kilometres from beautiful Old Quebec.  

The city also has a thriving food scene. Head down to Nektar Caféologue on Rue Saint-Joseph Est for great coffee and a snack, for lunch Bols et poké is serving up healthier options including poké and ramen, and for dinner, if you like Italian, Ciccio Café is a tiny spot with amazing pasta dishes. 

Planning a weekend in Quebec might just be what your marathon training needs–a change of scene and pace in an active and fun city. 

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