Despite the groundhog seeing his shadow, we’re still in the 30’s and 40’s here in the DC area. Along with much of the country, we’re not seeing the warm temps just yet which can put a real damper in the Springtime workouts many of us look forward too. So, to help us get through the last bit of winter, I’ve listed a few of my favorite cold-weather workouts (some are indoors;) They are all under an hour and are actually fun!
Treadmill intervals. Now I know many runners roll their eyes when we mention treadmill and fun in the same sentence, but bear with me. A treadmill is a great way to work on both run technique and overall fitness in a very short amount of time. The challenge is that most people jump on the treadmill and just plug away at the same pace, on and on and on with no variation. Not so fun. Instead, mix things up by doing the following:
Bike trainer HIIT workout. Riding indoors can be tough. It’s hot, even with a fan blowing full blast, which causes the heart rate to climb and the sweat to flow. However, with the advent of smart trainers, and digital platforms like Zwift, and Trainer Road, long boring trainer sessions are a thing of the past. However, if you’ve just got a standard trainer , spin bike, or upright stationary bike, you can still get a great workout:
Running/Walking the stairwell. In another lifetime, I had a sales territory that spanned Northern California and Northern Nevada. When traveling for work in the wintertime, I would stay in the tallest hotel/casino in Reno just to so I could run the stairwell. It was 24 stories, and when it was too cold and icy to run outside (usually the case when I was there), I’d simply walk from my hotel room to the stairwell, drop my water bottle at my floor, and get to it. It wasn’t glamorous, but I loved the simplicity of it. Whether you live in a 4 story walk up or a 30 story high rise- it’s a great change of pace and each landing or floor is a built in rest stop if you need it. Sometimes, I’d add in some push ups or crunches on different floors to break up the workout. Get creative and feel that heart pound! Try this:
Trail running/hiking. This is a great way to change up the normal routine. When I travel home for the holidays (out to Utah), my twin brother and I go on trail runs. It’s a great time to slow down and see some beautiful views. Typically, his pace is a touch slower than mine, but at his home turf of 5,000 ft elevation he runs like a billy goat, and in that thin air I struggle a bit to keep up. When it’s been snowy, the workout is a combination of hiking and running in the snow making it more challenging but also more fun. If the trail is dry, try the following:
Cross country skiing/snowshoeing. I don’t know a single person who has tried either of these and wouldn’t do it again. If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area with snow, what a way to take advantage of a PHENOMENAL workout. It’s low impact, highly aerobic, and engages the entire body, all the while being surrounded by Mother Nature. The last time I donned the cross country skis was a few years ago at the 2002 Olympic course at Soldier Hollow. But you don’t have to go to a specific course to ski or snowshoe! The last big storm we had, there were cross-country skiers out in downtown DC on the National Mall (one of which was TFE ultra-runner and winter-sport phenom Liss Sloss:) For these incredible winter workouts, no need for structure- just grab your skis, snowshoes, and poles and have at it!
There you have it- 5 incredible workouts for when the mercury plummets. All are highly effective, creative, and less than an hour. So don’t let the cold weather put a damper on your fitness goals. Next time you need to change things up a bit, try one of my 5 Favorite Winter Workouts to burn the calories and build some cardio in the process.