Sometimes, during the winter, running can feel like a bit of a slog. Keep your mental game fresh and your training on track by incorporating fun winter activities into your schedule (while still getting those workouts in!).
Here are some way to use typical outdoor winter activities to sneak in some winter cross-training:
Becomes: Hill workout
Remember when you were a kid and going super-fast down the hill on your sled was the best thing ever, but the trek back up to the top felt like a mountain? Well, now that you’re a runner, you probably voluntarily subject yourself to that “this hill is a mountain” feeling during your training. So why not combine the two? If you have kids, bring them along, if you don’t, borrow from a friend. Head to the local hill, sled down and then jog up. Repeat as many times as desired (if you have kids with you, be prepared for lots of reps). Guaranteed this will be the most fun you’ve ever had during a hill workout.
Activity: Nordic skiing
Becomes: Tempo workout
Nordic skiing is not only a much more affordable winter activity than downhill skiing, but it is also a much better cardiovascular session. Many provincial parks have nordic rentals and trails available. As a general rule, runners tend to make good nordic skiers, so grab a running buddy and try out a new sport while still fitting a weekly tempo session.
You know what the shape of a skating rink is awfully similar to? A track. Lace up those skates and work on bringing your heart rate up and then down with a hard lap followed by two easy laps. Repeat until desired exhaustion is achieved.
Becomes: Strength training
Shovelling, though it may not be a favourite activity for many, is an irrefutable reality for most Canadians. Anyone who has headed to the driveway after a night-long snowfall knows that shovelling can definitely count as a workout. The most important thing when shovelling, however, is to protect your lower back, as when done improperly, it is easy to injure yourself. Remember to always face the direction that you are moving snow in (i.e.: don’t throw snow over your shoulder, throw it forward), push rather than lift when you can and use an ergonomically designed shovel.