Winter seems to have fiercely hit all across the country! Here in northwest Indiana, we are have the winter trifecta of lake effect snow, harsh winds, and bitingly cold temperatures. Running outside is not only less than appealing, it is also downright dangerous here! So with the running outside for the next few days (or weeks!) as not an option, I’ve been looking elsewhere for winter workouts—as I’m sure many of you have! Here are some of my favorite winter workouts.
Treadmill running is the next best thing to running outside. You’re still running, but you’re protected from the elements. I usually set my incline to 0.5%-1.5% to simulate wind resistance; oftentimes, to make up for the lack of terrain variance, I change my incline every few minutes within the range of 0% (which is like running downhill) and 4%. It’s easier in winter to do tempo and speed workouts on the treadmill instead of risking injury in the snow. Read my tips for beating treadmill boredom here, my tips for doing long runs on the treadmill here, and find some of my favorite treadmill workouts here and here.
Core strength is essential for runners—it improves your form, helps you run fast, and prevents injury and fatigue. Pilates is a workout focused on building a strong core, as it works your glutes, abdominal muscles, and back muscles. It also strengthens your hips, which can prevent many running injuries. Additionally, Pilates requires an close attention to form, which can help you create a better mind-body connection while running. Even though it’s done on a mat, it’s a difficult workout!
Yoga is a great cross-training for runners, especially during off-season or the early weeks of race training. Yoga helps increase flexibility, which can prevent muscle tightness and injury. Yoga also improves joint mobility, which will help your run smoother and with better form. Plus, a good yoga session always provides a good stretch after a hard workout!
Indoor cycling or spin classes provide a great non-running cardio workout! You will still get your heart rate up, improve your endurance and stamina, and burn calories. Spin is particularly a good choice for injury-prone runners, as it builds aerobic fitness without the same impact, thus letting you build endurance in the off-season without getting injured. Finally, indoor cycling teaches you to have a quick foot turnover, which can benefit runners looking to improve their running cadence.