Embrace your Inner Winter

img_5527It’s already the middle of January, and for those of us who live in a temperate climate, that means white fluffy stuff has been falling from the sky on and off for the last 6 weeks (and sometimes freezing rain or hail!). Sure snow and slush make for more challenging running conditions, and as an elite perhaps it’s not ideal training conditions. But the way I see it there are two ways to look at (which will dictate how you perceive winter); you can either embrace it or you can hate it.

For me this all goes back to which bias you let control your life. If you’re stuck living in a cold weather climate in the winter, you’re far better off figuring out how to make it work for you than fighting it each and everyday. You are the one who gets to have some control whether or not you will suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorderly).

Here are some of my tips to embrace your inner winter:

  1. Get outside: if you’re a runner, just because it snows doesn’t mean you have to be stuck on the treadmill. There are a few options to help you gain stability.
    A) Trail shoes – these often have a sole that is meant for slippery mud. Over the break I did a ton of running up in the Town of Blue Mountains in my Skechers GOTrail shoes. As long as there was no ice I had great traction and really enjoyed running in the snow.
    B) An overshoe – When things got a little deeper and slippery I threw on my Stabilicers, this awesome product that goes over your existing running shoes and has heat-treated steel cleats that attach to the bottom of your shoe. Sure they make your shoes a little heavier, but I’ll take that over falling ofullsizerendern ice!
    C) The In-between – FleshmanFlyer posted this a few weeks back on Instagram. It combines the idea of Stabilicers by sticking the cleats directly in your shoes. Do not do this with old shoes – remember you got rid of them because they were dead; putting cleats in dead shoes is a recipe for injury. If you cannot afford two pairs of shoes than I highly recommend option B, which will have no impact on your shoes and is an affordable way to use your existing shoes.
    (Note: when there is a lot of ice, I recommend going back to the treadmill, indoor track or indoor trainer)
  2. Find a new outdoor activity: Ok, maybe you’re a runner, maybe you’re a cyclist, but many of us endurance animals of the summer find the winter months challenging. We long for the warm, long summer nights where we could spend hours on the roads and the trails. Well summer’s over, time to find something to do in the snow.
    A) Snow Shoeing – This probably involves the least amount of equipment, and doesn’t require a lot of skill. Throw on some warm clothes, cosy socks, maybe figure out a way to stop the snow from going in your shoes and go explore. You also don’t necessarily need poles to get out and do this.
    B) XC Skiing – Never tried it before? Head out to your local XC resort, grab a lesson and learn to classic or skate ski. Classic will allow you to eventually explore more back country, skating definitely is a heart rate rising sport but requires more time learning a skill.
    C) Ice Skating – many local parks are making skating tracks this winter. They look like a ton of fun and a great way to get the burn going in your legs.
  3. Find an indoor activity: Sure you could take whatever activity you’re doing and bring it indoors (i.e. the dreadmill, indoor track, computrainer/kickr classes). And, yes, you may need to do that for some specificity. But you also could try something new this off-season and gain strength and endurance in a whole new area of your body, plus you avoid the cold. My boyfriend owns and operates Sport & Social Club here in Toronto. They offer a wide variety of sports (i.e. ultimate, softball, soccer, inner tube waterpolo …) every night of the week and weekends, there is something for everyone. And you can sign up as an individual so there really is no excuse. There are also a host of other classes you can try in your city including yoga, pilates, dance, etc.

If you’re stuck living somewhere with snow you can choose to love it or to hate it. No one likes to fight, so if you choose to hate it you just have a fight with yourself and Mother Nature for months at a time, which hardly seems like a good way to live!

There is something really serene and beautiful about being the only one in a park when the snow has just fallen. Don’t trust me on this, go stand in a park after the next snowfall. Listen to how loud the silence is. Take in the peacefulness. Embrace all that is winter and fall in love with a new season.

So use the hashtag #embraceyourinnerwinter and show me how you’re enjoying life.