Can different winter activities help my running, or can I use them to supplement my training plan?
Yes, winter activities can benefit your running! Although we would like to hibernate like bears in the winter, roasting marshmallows and staying warm with hot chocolate and blankets, winter activities can be quite beneficial to your fall and spring race schedule!
Ice skating, skiing, snow-shoeing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing can all provide benefits for improving cardiovascular fitness during the winter months. They provide great opportunities for cross-training and strengthening, as well as enjoying the outdoors. Including these exercises into your life allows other muscles to strengthen, and stabilizes muscles that running does not normally target, yet are required for optimal performance.
Keeping a workout regimen, even if it is indoors through boot-camp classes, spinning, yoga, or Pilates will maintain strength and flexibility, as well as prevent running-related injuries once the ice melts. Ramping up running in the spring can be much easier with a baseline strength and cardiovascular fitness level, and can prevent the injuries caused by doing “too much too soon.”
The key is consistency with exercise. Developing and maintaining a schedule of exercise can help keep the habit of exercise a priority in your life despite the blizzard or the freezing rain. The most important thing is staying active and healthy, no matter whether you enjoy bundling up for the outdoor adventures or staying warm inside a studio.
About the Author
Leigh-Ann Bramble received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University and her Doctorate in Education in Applied Exercise Physiology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist, a level one certified USA Track and Field Coach as well as an Ironman Certified Triathlon Coach. Her clinical interests include working with active professionals and athletes who want to get back in the game.