Working Out In The Winter

That's a lot of drifting

In a few days it’ll be Halloween. After that, it’ll be November.

While this fall has been pretty nice, it’s only a matter of time before the view out my front door resembles the photo above (which is the view out my front door after a snowstorm in 2007). For someone who loves to run outside, winter creates a number of problems for me:

  • I won’t run in the dark. I’m not a morning person, so working out after a full day at my job works the best for me. Since it gets dark around 4:30pm in the winter – when I’m leaving work – it’s completely dark by the time I get home.
  • I won’t run in temps below freezing. I have year-round allergies and running in below-freezing weather causes me no end of respiratory problems. I can handle lower aerobic activities like snowshoeing, but running is a no-no.
  • I won’t run in the snow/ice. Too slippery and I’d rather not injure myself. Plus, combined with the darkness, it’s hard to see any items that would make you trip or fall.

Because of this, I’m relegated to running on the treadmill at my gym over the winter.

As a distance runner (I think anyone who can run more than a 5k on a regular basis is a distance runner), there’s nothing more painful than transitioning from running outside to running on the treadmill. I try so many different things to distract myself from the fact that I’m running nowhere and staring at a wall while I’m doing it. I try audio books, podcasts, and music and it helps somewhat, but I just can’t help but think “am I done yet?” when I’ve barely put two miles in on the treadmill!

To help this year (inspired by Angela’s goals), I’m going to try a number of new items. First, I’m going to try transitioning to running in a minimal shoe – like a Vibram Five Fingers or a Merrell Barefoot – which will allow me to initially run a shorter distance on the treadmill and give me a goal to build up my distance. I picked up a pair of the Barefoot Pace Gloves this summer just to wear out and about and they’re quite nice, so I already have all the equipment I need to start!

Secondly, I’m going to try fartlek workouts on the treadmill. Yes, I know I just said “fart” (heh), but fartlek is Sweedish for “speed play” and it’s training that will help improve your overall speed. That’s one thing I really need to work on over the winter as I’ve lost a good minute per mile since my injury.

Finally, I’m going to try and stick to this plan of exercise throughout the winter months:

I think combining those two plans and following my structure of working out to get me through each week, I think this winter will (hopefully) go by fast!

What’s your winter workout plan?