July 6, 2022

Alternatives to Running Outdoors

February… it’s my birth month and also a curse to my training. For the third straight February I was sidelined. This year it was because of illness and snow. I hit the ground running (literally) in January and unfortunately couldn’t keep the momentum up. I missed 2 weeks of training in February, the first due to a cold. The second week I missed, there was a snow storm so I had no choice but to work out indoors. I want to share some of my workout alternatives if you are not keen on running in icy rain, snow, or just crappy weather in general… like me.


Since indoor tracks are few and far between, inbound runners turn to the trusty treadmill. You can do any kind of workout on there, from easy runs to intervals. If you can stand running in place for x amount of minutes, you can get a great workout indoors. I turned to the treadmill several times when I did the Capra 30×30 challenge last November. It saved me from running in pouring rain. Tip: download episodes of your favourite shows on Netflix and watch them while on a 30 minute run.

Sorry I don’t keep my photos of treadmills… you know what they look like LOL


Another great workout is swimming, if you have access to a pool. This full body workout is sure to wake up muscles you didn’t realize were being underused. I definitely felt it the next day LOL. A quick poll on Instagram showed that the minimum swimming distance should be around 800 meters. Of course, if you’re not comfortable reaching that distance, only do what you can. I swam 400 meters in my first swim in a year. Under a time crunch, it was all I could complete. I was definitely breathing hard between every lap.

Workout videos on Youtube

There are tons of workout channels on YouTube so definitely take advantage of them. Some of my favourites are Blogilates, Fitness Blender, and Rich Reynolds (core). Have a look through each channel’s repertoire and I’m sure you’ll find a workout suited to your schedule and skill level. Some of the best workouts are HIIT workouts that use body weight only. That way, you only need a mat, your towel and a bottle of hydration (I recommend Nuun).

Strength workout

Incorporating a strength routine is important. Figure out where you can work out: a local gym, your amenities room, your living room or somewhere outdoors. Search for a workout based on what equipment you have available. Machines, free weights, body weight or even if you have a heavy book nearby, you can find a plan that will suit you. For me, I bought a plan from VanFitness in Motion. Ellen created a custom routine for what I wanted to improve on like my balance and running muscles. I would do the exercises every week and be amazed at the improvement each time I did them. If you’re an early riser, you can also join November Project’s free weekly boot camp style workouts. 6:29 AM at Queen Elizabeth Park (parking lot at the top). You also get free hugs!

Much needed fuel for a strength workout – Nuun and Endurance Tap

Embrace the elements

How about some snow-related activities instead? Cross-country skiing is a great workout for runners and also snowshoeing. We went up to Pump Peak last weekend and my legs are still sore. Do take precautions before you head out. Leave a trip plan with someone, take the 10 essentials, travel with buddies and don’t take on a trail too advanced for your skill. Check out the Adventure Smart website to get more information on how to play safely outdoors.

Snowshoeing with friends at Mt. Seymour

If you must tough it out outside, don’t forget traction!

If you absolutely must train outside, please keep in mind that roads or sidewalks might be icy, snowy or slippery. Take the proper precautions, wear footwear with some traction or bring your nano spikes or yaktrax along. I also use Kahtoola Micro spikes for trails.

Kahtoola nano spikes in action

What do you do when you don’t want to run outside? Share in the comments below. Even if you say lounge on the couch, I can get behind that answer ?

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