It’s official: it’s cold outside. Below-zero cold. Not only that, we’ve got snow covering our beloved trails and ice on the roadways. Did I mention it’s also dark during our typical running hours? All things that make it harder to get out the door and go for a run. However, these are only excuses. There are so many options to cross train, strength train, run, and yes, even take some time off.
Snowshoe running. The day after the snow covered our trails, I was out there with my snowshoes. It is so much fun to get out and run on a light fresh layer of snow. When it’s not deep, it doesn’t disrupt your natural running stride. You do work harder for each step, but it is still a great way to get outside. Also, like trail running, your choices of where to go are limitless.
Nordic skiing. The Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center opened Thanksgiving weekend (as did most Tahoe ski resorts). I got out two days in a row. My glutes, shoulders, neck and back are definitely sore from lack of use, but those were two great days.
Downhill and backcountry skiing. Yes, they can provide a good amount of cardio. Also, new to me for this year will be trying ski mountaineering, aka “skimo.” This sport has been extremely popular in Europe and has yet to take hold here in the US. It is used as winter training for many great ultra runners, Kilian Jornet for one.
The great indoors. With such great options to play outside, you should feel compelled to get out the door. Alas, it is still tough to do, and you can always take that final option: exercise indoors. My answer to that is to visit our own board member Chris Cloyd over at Performance Training Center and take one of his conditioning or TRX classes, or just use the facility to build strength. All the tools to excel are there, as well as the motivation of others. Best of all the only cold part will be your walk to and from your car.
Recovery. If you’re still not convinced, it’s probably that time of year where you’ve earned a much-needed break. I, for one, am on my break. The snow has me excited so I’ve gotten out the door a few times, but for the most part, I consider the second half of November and all of December a great time of year to take a nice break from focused training. Besides, with the holidays, family visits, shopping (for those that do that), and other winter obstacles, it is tough to maintain a routine.
Come January, post-lottery season, everyone should be excited to get back on the trails and churn out the miles. Be it on snow, ice or foothill trails, 2016 is sure to bring tons of motivation.
Peter Fain coaches trail and ultra runners out of Truckee, California. He is also available for guided snowshoe runs. Learn more about his coaching services at www.runondirtcoaching.com.