How Do You Stay in Shape During the Winter?

by Members of the HMRRC

Jon Lindenauer

During the winter months I wind up doing a majority of my running on the treadmill. I have a gym membership and a treadmill at my house and will typically alternate between the two, depending on what I am trying to accomplish with my run. Even during the more ideal outdoor months, I tend to run on the treadmill once or twice per week - I mostly run and train on my own and so I prefer the treadmill for most of my workouts regardless of the time of year; this maybe softens the mental / emotional blow of transitioning doing most of my runs on the treadmill. I have an aversion to running in the snow and ice due to a slip-and-fall injury I sustained in 2019, which now causes me to be overly cautious during the winter months. When I am on the treadmill I will typically listen to music, which is a sufficient distraction for me to avoid feelings of boredom / tedium that might come from running inside versus running outside, or if I am at the gym I will watch TV and listen to music simultaneously while I am running. I will always prefer running outside if conditions / weather are decent, but I have never found that I could not maintain the same level of fitness during the winter from mostly treadmill running as I could during the other seasons.

Barb Sorrell

I don’t do anything different, except add skiing (downhill and XC) and snowshoeing to my tool box. I still run every day. I grew up in the northern Adirondacks, 20 miles from the Canadian border, with lots of extremely cold winter days. I have 2 mantras: 1) There’s no such thing as bad weather; there’s only inappropriate clothing. 2) Make the season you’re in your favorite season.

Charlie Ragone

This is my January training schedule, the season goes year round.

Alyssa Risko

In addition to spring marathon training, I try to incorporate strength training at least two days a week and work on core strength whenever possible!

Dallas DeVries

I prefer running in winter over summer, actually. It's nice to not be overheated or have to carry water. You can always add layers if you need to, however you can't go the opposite way!

Kristen Hislop

I just keep going! The HMRRC Winter Series keeps me on the roads. As a triathlete I am getting back into the pool and on the bike. My main focus this winter is strength and mobility. I think the winter is THE time to work on your weaknesses.

Jake Kobrin

Winter is a great time to cross train, whether that’s cross country skiing, downhill at places like Gore or Stratton, or lifting more at the gym. I think winter is a great time to build a strong base so you can be prepared for higher mileage in the spring.

Sarah Parks

Only running. I have been saying for a while that I need to add in some type of cross training and strength training, though!

Jim Gazzale

With a lighter training load in the winter I focus on strength training, lifting weight in the gym. It’s also the perfect time to refocus on healthy eating habits after the holiday season.

Lauren Scarupa

To stay in shape during the winter, I like to run HMRRC's winter race series at the University at Albany and weight train, as well as making sure that I always have a treadmill to run on when it's too cold to run outside. I also like doing group workouts and long runs with both my ARE and Fleet Feet teammates.

Megan James

I run through the winter, regardless of the weather -- I will adjust my workout and long run days to the better-weather days of the week when possible. I also continue with strength training and yoga. I occasionally snowshoe or ski, but that's more for fun and extra time outside rather than anything fitness-related.

Joe Sullivan

I ride my indoor bike trainer and eat fewer brownies.

Janne Rand Gilligan

I keep running and following a training plan is fun because you get “tasks” for each day and it keeps you from getting bored. I also ski when I get the chance.

Tom O’Grady

After the Chicago Marathon, I decreased my mileage to about 35-40 miles per week through December. It was a nice mental break and 5-6 miles a day is enough to stay reasonably fit when you have a built up a large training base over the years. Around New Years I gradually started upping my mileage. Most of it is adding in a true long run and some distance to the mid week runs. From there I usually do one or two harder workouts a week. I also like to use the Winter Series as long runs/ supported workouts.

Alyssa Bove

I hit the gym extra hard. When the miles are down, the time spent in the gym goes up!

David Roy

I don’t have a strategy to stay in shape. I want to eat the cookies and not gain weight - so I guess I’m a slacker? I try to stay engaged and get some real miles in each week (the dreadmill is buried under boxes). I always have a new and different trail run in the works to look forward to, which is where I find my enjoyment.

Sue Nealon

I swim 1 mile at the Y 4-5 times a week. I am back to running 3 times a week outdoors just for 4 miles per run. I walk. Too, maybe 4-5 miles a day. That’s it.

David Glass

A typical day for me, exercise-wise, starts around 10 o'clock with dynamic stretching and leg swings followed by an 8-mile training run from my house on Ridge Rd. in Glenville, involving a total elevation gain/loss of 550 ft. After lunch, I read for a while, usually a short while, before I put my head down and nap for 30 to 60 minutes. Getting up at 5:30a.m., the run and lunch knock me out. After the nap and a cup of tea I read the New Yorker, the Nation, and novels I borrowed from the library. I let Mother Nature decide my training schedule in good weather and will often take a break for as long as the weather is inclement. Otherwise, it's down to the cellar where I usually do the elliptical for 3 miles. And I weight train and run the treadmill for about half an hour, depending how I feel. I often think of weight training for half an hour, elliptical for half an hour and treadmill for half an hour but have not done that yet. Also, I don’t have runner’s beer for several days before the race because I don’t want to add extra weight for the day of the race, but after…

Theresa DeLorenzo, Nutritionist and Yoga Instructor

The cold weather and icy conditions leave some of us with limited motivation to go out and get our workouts in.  I personally find it easier to run in cold vs. hot weather but, getting out the door takes a bit of effort. 

As long as the conditions are safe, layer up in the event that you need to take some clothes off as your body warms up.  Remember that your body will feel as if it’s about 20 degrees warmer than it really is so keep this in mind as you pile on the layers.  If it is windy, putting Vaseline or something similar on exposed skin to prevent wind burn.  Learn from my mistakes and be aware of black ice on trails and roads that aren’t getting as much sun as others.  (Not to mention any names Zim Smith!)

In the event that it isn’t safe to go outside, employ a treadmill if you have one or cross train. I personally do not do as much weightlifting as I should so on extremely cold days I either skip my run or shorten it and squeeze in some weights or even body weight strength training.  And of course, I incorporate more yoga to keep my mind and body sane during the long winter months.

Even though it may be sunny out, you are not getting any vitamin D between October and March.  Vitamin D helps our mood, but it also keeps our body’s inflammation under control.  If our vitamin D levels become depleted, the increase in inflammation makes it more difficult to recover and this puts us at increased risk for injury.  Milk, cheese, yogurt, fatty fish such as salmon, and shiitake mushrooms are the only significant sources of vitamin D. 

Finally, click here to check out my core challenge if you need a quick easy way to stay in shape this winter. The program gives you unlimited access to 30 core recordings to do whenever you want.

A big thank you to all who answered!

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