It’s snowing outside, or just freezing and dark. Well I’m not sure what the weather is as you are reading this but I’m sure you can go through your Facebook feed, I mean the local weather channel, to find out. Snow is and winter is all well and good in theory, but in reality it’s not that fun to keep running in. So here are some ideas and places to go around CT for your winter alternatives to running, and some spots if you must run.
Snowshoeing – That word always looks like it’s spelled incorrectly. In any case, there are number of studies out there that suggest snowshoeing is actually better for you than running. Now I’m not going to cite any of those studies because I just don’t feel like it but I do agree, to a certain extent. If you are just trying to maintain your running fitness, snowshoeing is actually better to do than running through the winter. The reasons are you are keeping a fairly natural motion. If you’re trying to run on slippery snow or icy roads, your form breaks down and can cause injury and take longer to recover. If you are out snowshoeing you are keeping your running form. The other added benefit is you can go just about anywhere with snowshoes. So the trails aren’t closed.
Rent snowshoes at EMS in Manchester, REI in West Hartford, or Winding Trails in Farmington. Other great places to snowshoe are Gay City State Park in Hebron or Howard/Porter Reservoir in Manchester. If you’re looking to buy a nice pair of lightweight running snowshoes, we highly recommend Dion.
Winding Trails is a great place to rent snowshoes because all the trails are right there. You don’t have to worry about driving back and forth anywhere. Highly, highly recommend Winding Trails for a smorgasbord of winter activities.
Cross-Country Skiing – XC skiing is an excellent cardio workout and will use your whole body. XC skiing is not that difficult to learn but it does take some practice to get used to; the first time out you’ll probably get a little bit frustrated at first but it’s well worth it once you get the hang of it. You can cover a lot of ground and it’s nice when there is a little bit of downhill so you can relax. Just a word of caution on downhills, you can really get going, so unless you know what you’re doing, try to take it slow. XC skiing is not the same as running, but it is a whole lot of fun and it’s an excellent substitute for running.
You can rent xc skis at EMS, REI, & Winding Trails. Here’s a great article from last year on where to xc ski.
Indoor Track – While we don’t have many options for indoor tracks in this part of the state, there are a couple spots that are okay to get in a decent workout. You can try going to Wesleyan University, there are certain times of the day they let you drop in for use, I think the cost is $10 but it could be more. They have a full 200-meter indoor track. You can also try the Star Hill Family Athletic Center in Tolland. Star Hill is a fantastic facility that has a 365 meter “jogging track”. It’s a square so you need to be careful and the surface is rather hard. The other thing to be aware of at Star Hill is you are surrounding the turf playing fields, so you need to be careful of flying lacrosse/field hockey/soccer balls. Star Hill lets you use the track for just $20/month, so it’s a great deal. You can also take part in a plethora of other sports at Star Hill.
Other Indoor Sports – Whether it’s a basketball league, open swim, or trampoline park, just getting in some competitive sports is of great benefit to your running. You don’t want to get stuck in the mode of just running; you will lose a lot of athleticism, strength, and ability to be social if all you do is run all the time. Change it up once in a while and indoor team sports are a great way to do that!
Sled Dog Racing – just kidding.
That’s all for now. Feel free to contact us with more suggestions! Also, no companies were paid to be featured or mentioned on this page, these are all based on my opinions.