If you’ve followed this site for any amount of time, you know that I am big believer in getting outside to exercise. Most people would be well served to get more fresh air in their lives. Unfortunately, during the winter months, many people falsely assume that outdoor activities must be put on hold. The only time they spend outdoors is when they are rushing to stockpile bread and milk before a storm arrives.
Personally, I am a big fan of outdoor exercise in the winter. A brief sampling of some recent training can be seen below.
When I’m outside in the cold, I opt for fast paced movements. My primary goals are conditioning and strength endurance. I work at a fast rate with minimal rest between exercises and sets. Such an approach allows me to continue training without my body temperature falling.
Whenever I post an outdoor video, there’s always a smart ass in the crowd who wonders why I don’t perform the same workout indoors. My response to such comments is always the same. I have yet to find a snow filled hill that I can run inside. Running in the snow has long been one of my favorite conditioners. The snow not only provides resistance, but it also cushions each step. Therefore, regardless of how fast you run, there is minimal impact with each stride.
As for my snow running inspiration, it started with the legendary wrestler Alexander Karelin. I first saw him win an Olympic gold medal in the 1988 Olympics. I then saw footage of him running through high snow drifts in Russia. Rocky Balboa was a fictional character, but Alexander Karelin was real. He was an absolute beast and I wanted to imitate his style. Snow running soon became a favorite activity of mine.
You can actually see a brief glimpse of Karelin running through the snow in the video below:
Once I began running in the snow, I quickly realized that there were other options available. It wasn’t convenient to run in the snow and then change clothes to finish training indoors. It seemed more logical to finish my session where I started. With that in mind, I began to supplement my snow running with a variety of calisthenics. I have maintained that approach for many years now and continue to enjoy the physical and mental challenge. Training in the cold requires physical and mental toughness, as well as intelligence. Mother Nature demands respect and that needs to be considered whenever venturing into the cold.
As for necessity, it is obviously possible to get in shape without ever seeing or touching the snow. I am certainly not suggesting that everyone heads out into the next blizzard. It is an option however for those who are interested. It is always nice to have exercise options that don’t involve commercial equipment or facilities. Snow running won’t cost anything, but will always provide a challenge.
“Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind – you could call it character in action.” – Vince Lombardi