Training Tuesdays: Let the Winter Workouts Begin!

Well, it’s not yet December but it’s clear that the holiday season is upon us. Stores are filled with all manner of seasonal decor and constant loops of Christmas tunes. You cannot escape it.

I personally love the holidays. I’ve already had my picture taken with Santa, as a group of adults with no children, because you don’t have to be a child to get in the Christmas spirit.  I have my advent calendar lined up and ready to go for Thursday. I have boxes of Christmas cards ready to write and send off the old school way, because I miss receiving mail and believe that Christmas cards are a lost art form. See? Love the holidays.

The holiday season also aligns with the return of another one of my loves: winter workouts. Though we get little snow in the city of Vancouver, we are surrounded by local mountains that make getting out in the snow easy and quick. Over the last week I’ve watched the snow line get lower and lower and I know that means it’s time to pull the snowshoes out of storage, get my traction spikes dusted off, and drag out that storage bin of base layers.


If you’re looking for some ways to bring variety to your winter workouts, here are some of my favourites:

  • Skating: There’s a couple outdoor rinks in and around Vancouver, but I’ve also been known to hit a Sunday afternoon public skate at an indoor rink. I could skate indoors year round and yet I’m only interested in it in the winter. It’s not a hard core workout by any stretch, unless you count dodging children who lack any sense of shared space, but it’s a good time and better than sipping hot chocolate all day (my usual alternative).
  • Cross-country skiiing (maybe…): Skiing combines my love of snow and mountains, and it provides a good workout particularly when skiing uphill. If only I could master the whole downhill part without looking like a deer learning to walk…If you can find solitude on skis, the quiet and stillness of a snowy forest will rejuvenate even the most tired of souls.
  • The Snow Run: This isn’t an event but rather a run in the snow, which feels sort of like an event here in Vancouver where we only get snow on the city streets maybe once or twice a season. In Alberta, this was a season long event, made torturous by frigidly cold temperatures. Here, I live for the snow run. It’s milder and running through falling snow is magical, and there is something about snow that brings a distinct quiet and calm to city streets.
  • Snowshoeing:  Fluffy, deep powder screams for snowshoes. I am generally not a huge fan of snowshoes. I find them to be clunky to walk in, even though I bought a narrow, running snowshoe (sidenote: I don’t know how anyone could successfully run in them without tripping over their own feet). But when I am headed to legit mountain territory and there is the promise of deep snow, count me in for snowshoeing and the opportunity to go off-trail.  Who needs ski touring, right?
  • Snow hiking: This is, by far, my winter activity of choice. It’s all the fun of summer hiking without the annoying loose rocks and tree roots. Quite delightfully, snow fills in all those trail hazards and leaves a nice, level surface that is much kinder on the clumsy. On a well-travelled trail, you can ditch the snowshoes and go straight for some great traction devices. You’ll move faster and with infinitely more grace.  And, since everything looks better with a blanket of snow sparkling in sunshine, you’ll see old trails through new eyes. Even better, you won’t sweat to death like some people (i.e. me) do in the summer.

And so, as the temperature drops I’m going to fight the urge to nest inside all day. Join me.  Invest in good outerwear (it really does make all the difference) and kick off the holiday season in winter sport style! See you out there!


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