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Why you should run intervals over distance workouts in the cold

With interval training, you can focus on your output instead of hitting paces

Winter Running Injuries

As the weather gets colder across Canada and snow begins to cover our beloved running tracks and trails, it becomes harder to find places to train. If you don’t have access to a treadmill or indoor track, it’s challenging to do distance repeats outdoors.

Generally, most Canadians are not racing this time of year due to the cold weather and lack of races. But those who plan on racing in the early spring need to get in workouts to keep in touch with their speed and intensity. Instead of worrying about finding a loop to do your distance workout, do intervals or fartlek training and focus on your perceived exertion.

person running in snowy park
Photo: Unsplash/Diana Parkhouse

For example, doing 90-second intervals instead of 400m repeats won’t make too much difference physiologically, though mentally, you can focus on your output rather than hitting paces, which makes the workout more manageable. Your running pace is also bound to be slower in colder temperatures, as it’s harder for blood to circulate to your muscles and keep them warm.

At the right intensity, interval workouts are suitable for all runners, from beginners to experienced. The great thing about interval training is it can be tailored to any individual and their goals and needs, plus it’s easy to track. Research has shown that it’s the most effective way to run and will help get you to your goals faster and help you enjoy running along the way.

Winterman Marathon
Photo: Instagram/@swimbikerunkat_

Make sure you stick to plowed roads and lit-up streets with proper footing while doing intervals to ensure your safety. If you can’t get your workout in safely, it’s not the end of the world if you push it back a day or two.