5 Alternatives to Running Outdoors in Winter

Ah, winter. The season of cozy blankets, hot cocoa, and outdoor running? Well, maybe not so much. Winter is notorious for sending runners indoors for their workouts. The cold, snow, wind, and ice can make running outside feel unbearable and unsafe. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on staying in shape, especially if you’re training for the upcoming Platte River Half Marathon & Relay this spring. In this blog, we’ll explore five alternatives to running outdoors in winter that will keep you fit, strong, and ready for race day. Let’s get started!

Take the Stairs

If you live in an apartment building or have access to a decent-sized staircase, supplement your run by running up and down stairs. Stair running is a fantastic cardio and strength workout. It burns more calories per minute than jogging, increases your leg strength and power, and improves your lung capacity. You can even try a stair stepper routine at your local gym, which simulates stair climbing and will work your glutes, quads, and calves in a low-impact way.

Go for a Swim

Swimming is a great cardiovascular exercise that helps strengthen your entire body, improve endurance, and build stamina. It’s also a low-impact workout that’s easy on the joints, making it an ideal cross-training activity. Swimming can also help you improve your breathing technique, increase your lung capacity, and develop better posture. While swimming laps is a stellar workout on its own, you can shake things up by trying aqua-jogging, which involves running in place in a pool wearing a buoyancy belt.

Try Another Outdoor Activity

Just because the snow is falling doesn’t mean you can’t get outside and make the most of it. Try snowshoeing in your local park for a winter workout that burns more calories than walking or running on snow-covered paths. Snowshoeing engages your glutes, hamstrings, and calves more than regular walking or running. It also helps improve balance and stability, and since you will be walking in deep snow, you’ll get a great lower-body workout that will prepare you for your half-marathon. Cross-country skiing at a nearby golf course is another great way to get outside for a great workout as you carve through snowy terrain.

Take It Inside

Instead of running outside in the snow and ice, work other strength- and balance-building exercises into your training routine such as yoga or Pilates. Yoga can help improve your flexibility, balance, and strength, while Pilates focuses on core strength, muscle control, and alignment. Both workouts help improve your breathing technique and can prepare you for longer runs. Since these activities are low-impact, they’re also ideal for recovery days when you need a break from high-impact activities.

Strength Train with At-Home Workouts

Using an elliptical, rowing machine, or treadmill is a great way to keep up with your training routine when you can’t run outdoors. These machines provide a similar cardiovascular workout as running and can help you maintain your fitness level while adding a challenge to your normal routine. Additionally, incorporating weight lifting and resistance training can also help you build muscle and improve your overall conditioning, both of which are essential for half-marathon training. Winter training for a half-marathon can be challenging at times, but integrating these five alternative activities into your training routine can make all the difference. With consistency, a good attitude, and a willingness to try new things, you’ll be well on your way to crushing your race come spring. So, stay motivated, stay creative, and most importantly, keep moving forward!