For the casual runner, mounds of snow piling up on the ground is a cue to pack up the shoes and take the season off—but real athletes see this time a year as an opportunity to up their game. If you’re not sure how to manage the extra resistance that comes with running in snow here are a few exercises that’ll help you conquer the white stuff.
It sounds silly, but one of the gym’s most basic machines is a great tool to help you build endurance and strength in your legs. If you can tackle the endless upward ascent of the Stairmaster, then you’ll easily be able to surmount the snow. Spend at least 30 minutes a day on one of these beasts before winter truly sets in and you’ll find yourself primed and ready to run through a blizzard.
Hamstrings are one of the runner’s biggest assets and they need to be pumped regularly if you’re going to learn how to run in the toughest of circumstances. The slow, forward motion of the lunge actually mimics moving in snow somewhat. If you can propel yourself forward from such a low position without tiring quickly than you’ll be apt to do the same in a few inches of snow.
This one might sound too obvious, but to up your game and help you run in the snow, incorporate mountain climbers into your daily exercise regime. These nifty moves help blast your quads and prepare you for the resistance you’ll face running both uphill and in wintry conditions. The burst of energy required to complete each movement is similar to what it takes to force your body forward when running in deep snow, so use it to help you fight back against obstacles.
Floor Glute-Ham Raise
Glute-ham raises are one of the most effective exercises when it comes to creating serious power in your hamstrings and butt. You’ll need that strength to run against the extra resistance of snow, so try adding some into your next workout. The benefit of the floor glute-ham raise is that it doesn’t require equipment and can be done at home.
How to: Start on your knees with your torso straight up, then slowly lower your upper body down onto your hands without bending your hips. Then push back up. Most people need help with these the first few tries.
Bulgarian Split Squats
Bulgarian Split Squats are a powerhouse move that works similarly to a lunge but require much more effort and strength. Adding them to your exercise routine can help you build not only epic leg muscles but also upper body strength.
How to: They’re basically lunges that occur while you’re standing in one spot, with one foot placed behind you on a bench and the other in front. Slowly bend your leg forward like you would with a squat, stretch, then return to the starting position. Adding weights can help annihilate your legs and back muscles.