Winter Running in Colorado: Essential Exercises and Workouts



Don’t Let Cold Temperatures Keep You Inside

You aren’t going to stop running outside this year just because of a few snowflakes and below freezing temperatures, right? Right! With these exercises and workouts geared toward cold-weather running, you’ll be fit enough to run outside and enjoy the special winter serenity all season long.

Use winter running to practice form

When you’re feeling brave enough to tackle the frigid temperatures, try switching things up to keep your mind active and your body guessing. Hill sprints on icy roads might not be a good idea, but you can practice your form. Try running slowly while focusing on maintaining good form: short, quick strides, elbows bent 90 degrees or less, and your foot striking under your knee, for starters.

Many runners become frustrated at the slower pace they keep when it’s cold out, but don’t get discouraged. Use the varying terrain and conditions as an opportunity to improve movement basics, and you might just find that you’ve gotten faster once spring hits. If your normal training routine involves sprinting, look at winter as a prime time to work on increasing your mileage. There are races throughout the winter, so sign up for a 5K, half marathon, or full marathon if you need some incentive to continue running.

Treadmill workouts

Okay, so there will be some days when you simply can’t fathom running outside. That’s completely fine, especially when you have a few hardcore treadmill workouts to look forward to. The key to a successful treadmill workout is to vary your speed and incline to mimic conditions outside, and to keep challenging yourself. An easy way to practice sprints is to set the treadmill’s speed to the fastest setting you can run at. Run for 30-45 seconds and then grab the handles on either side to hoist your feet onto the sides of the treadmill. After 15-30 seconds of rest, carefully hop back on and sprint again.

Core exercises for runners

Since you might be running less in the winter, take the opportunity to strengthen other parts of your body. Your core is extremely important for running because it helps you maintain proper form, so consider giving those muscles some extra attention. Forget about crunches! Try planks, side twists, bicycles, and leg raises. These moves are far more effective than a crunch. See how long you can hold a plank for and try to increase your time every day. Count how many bicycle crunches you can do in a minute (with proper form), and try to beat your own time. Making these exercises fun will make it a whole lot easier to build that strong core.

Strength training for runners

After you’re done running through the snow, sprinting on the treadmill, and sculpting some strong abs, why not add some more strength training to the mix? As a runner it’s easy to neglect working your upper body. However, balanced strength is important for maintaining a healthy and balanced body.

A basic upper body workout could consist of four sets of each of the following exercises, with 10-12 repetitions:
  • Dumbbell bicep curls
  • Tricep dips
  • Shoulder press
  • Chest press
  • Pull-ups, or assisted pull-ups
Try different exercises to see what you prefer. If you don’t like lifting weights, or don’t have access to any, you can try fast-paced bodyweight exercises to build strength. There are limitless possibilities, and the key is to find something that you enjoy doing. Winter will be over before you know it, but until then, there is so much to enjoy in our beautiful winter weather.