Winter Challenges

Posted: December 28, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s a constant challenge to maintain your training confidence through the seemingly endless winter months. You wake up to a morning filled with cold, darkness, and ice and struggle to dress appropriately and gather the determination to exit your house!

Many runners rely heavily on the treadmill to supplement their training. I actually think the treadmill is one of the best alternatives to running in the winter. However I don’t recommend that you rely on it exclusively. Your running muscles will soon lose the memory of running outdoors and that will present a major challenge once you abandon the treadmill. You will also run the risk of muscle soreness and even injury if you don’t run outdoors at least twice a week.

Treadmills can be dreadful at times so one of the major benefits is that, if you can stay consistent on a treadmill, it improves your ability to dedicate yourself to something you absolutely despise. Treadmills can also provide a false sense of accomplishment in that the belt is helping you through your gait cycle and you’re not battling hills or wind. You should place the platform on at least a 2 degree incline to compensate for this.

Another great option for winter training is snowshoe running. I have always enjoyed snowshoe running, particularly after a freshly fallen snow, where I can explore new trails and have snow flying 10 feet behind me in the air. The first time I tried running with snowshoes I felt like I was running at altitude because of the effort required. However, the fitness return on investment of effort is incredibly significant. It is also much lower impact than running on the roads.

Lori, Rider, and I all run in Tubbs snowshoes but MSR and Atlas also make running snowshoes. I’ve read numerous positive reviews of the Atlas Run snowshoes. REI also has a rental program whereby you can try them before purchasing them.

Winter certainly places a greater degree of challenge on being consistent with your training. But with the right attitude and equipment, you can soon begin to look forward to and enjoy your training. So try to strike a balance between treadmill running, snowshoe running, and other forms of cross training in an effort to remain consistent and engaged in your training through the challenging winter months!

Comments
  1. Running during the winter is a challenge. The payoff will come in March.

  2. You are absolutely correct about that…great perspective!

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