A blog by runners. For runners.

A winter running experience for all

simulating-a-winter-running-experienceWe have honestly, truly, officially entered winter running territory. Tonight I jaunted around the neighborhood in freezing temperatures — with my sleeves rolled up — and actually thought the 25 degrees felt quite balmy. We’ve had quite a bit of snow recently, and it’s surely given me some moments of grief. Our treadmill is broken, so traversing those snowy paths is all I can do right now to keep fit.

I thought it might be fun (and funny, so understand this is a lighthearted post!) to give those of you in warmer, less snowy climates a few workouts to simulate what we hardcore winter runners are experiencing these days.

At every street corner, it seems the plows have pushed the snow into these hard, wide, knee-high piles. So, also at every street corner, it’s necessary to jump a hurdle, basically turning every run into a track workout. I don’t have the best form, but my jump is getting higher and longer. I’m now able to clear these obstacles with less and less effort!

To simulate this experience,  jump ahead — as if over a hurdle — at the end of each and every street, making sure to get your body and legs up as high as possible. Tiring, isn’t it?

Two steps forward, one back:
Sometimes the snow is so soft or sludgy, it can feel like quicksand. Sometimes the wind is blowing so fast and hard, it can feel like you’re not moving forward at all. Whatever the specific conditions may be, it can truly feel like little progress is being made toward that daily mileage goal.

To simulate, you can either run in place, jump on the Jacobs Ladder, do some fervent skanking — or otherwise move your body without really going anywhere.

High Knees:  
There are clear sidewalks and icy ones. Then there are those stretches of completely virgin territory. Places where people forgot or neglected to shovel. Running in a foot or more of packed snow requires some fancy footwork to avoid wet, cold socks — and extra athletic ability to boot.

To simulate, every half mile or so, do a set of super high-knees running for around a tenth of a mile. See if THAT doesn’t get your blood pumping!

Hop Scotch: 
There are also these weird in-between areas where man-made paths are created via negative space in the snow. The footprints of those who came before, in other words. To take advantage of these mini-clearings, it’s imperative to use both balance and expert skill to jump from spot to spot.

To simulate, pretend you jumping are from stepping stone to stepping stone, bounding with ease to make each cleared spot. Land and balance on one foot. The faster you go, the better.

At least for me, my favorite routes have become unfamiliar — dangerous even. Sidewalks have eroded into an ocean of slush. I’m finding myself having to cross streets with a moment’s notice or stop dead in my tracks to avoid being hit by cars. And sometimes I just fall down on ice.

To simulate this experience, zip around in a zig-zag fashion. No rhyme or reason, just pretend that you’re encountering all sorts of random unknowns. Simulate a fall and hang your head in shame as you dash home to soak in a nice, warm shower.

Winter runners: Can you relate? My own personal speed goals are on hold until the slick stuff blows away. Instead, I’m focusing on time outdoors and on my feet. I’m trying my best to follow some safety guides to make running on snow and ice easier.

Written by  Ashley Marcin.