A blog by runners. For runners.

Where to Get Your Walk On

walking in the winter

It’s a fact of fall: The mornings and evenings are only going to get darker from now on. The temperatures are going to cool to cold and the weather is going to get, at times, less than desirable, especially for plodding around on sidewalks. Whereas runners have relatively few options for Plan B jogging locations, walkers can get more creative.

Here are 6 places to take your workouts this fall/winter:

  • Walkers love marching the perimeter of the mall, especially before store hours begin. The long, flat corridors are perfect for speed and safety (no looking both ways!) — and if you need to run any errands, you’re killing two birds with one stone.
  • Along these same lines, very large box stores like Sam’s Club, Ikea, and BJ’s are good options in a pinch. They’re big enough to allow exercisers to remain relatively inconspicuous. Who knows — you may even get a free snack on sample days!
  • Indoor tracks at local universities and recreation centers are a great option for walkers and runners alike. You may be surprised to learn that a standard indoor track is 200 meters versus 400 meters — however, the size ranges depending on the floor space available at the facility. I once did repeats on a track that required 11 laps around per mile — yikes!
  • Our local high school opens its doors in winter to walkers on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Anyone can walk the hallways of the large building to work up a sweat and socialize with neighbors before starting the day. There are ample water stops (fountains) — so be sure to check around to see if this is an option in your neighborhood.
  • Obviously, the treadmill is an option if you have a gym membership or are considering getting one. Shop around now before the temps are too chilly and you might score a deal. Walking on a belt can be boring, so if you do get a membership, consider trying out new cross-training options to keep your sanity.
  • Check out walking videos and work out in your living room. It’s a slightly different workout, but for those exceptionally tough days, tossing in a walking DVD might be the best trick to get your heart rate up and marching. You need very little space to complete these sorts of workouts, so it’s suitable even if you live in a small studio apartment.

If you’d rather brave the elements, and we all need fresh air when cabin fever sets in, consider checking out maintained parks or other manicured walkways. Sidewalks can be iffy, a Wild West of sorts, especially when there’s snow and ice. Be sure to dress in smart layers with tech fabrics that don’t store sweat and create a chill. Consider investing in an inexpensive reflective vest to make yourself more visible. And slap on a hat and gloves for optimal comfort.

Take a look at WalkJogRun to find or map out a short loop around your neighborhood you can repeat so you’re never too far from home to pickup extra gear.

Where will you walk this fall/winter?