When Winter Pushes You Indoors

A Cold Hard Truth with Chany Groenewoud

As the eastern portion of our country knows all too well, when something dubbed a “cyclone bomb” hits your neighbourhood, sometimes it’s best just to stay indoors.

It can be a tough pill to swallow, but it may be time to accept the cold hard truth: running indoors is part of a well-rounded Canadian training regime.

For many of us, the crisp air and the sights and sounds of nature are half the reason why we love to get out there in the first place. The idea of spinning one’s wheels on a treadmill, and not getting anywhere, goes against the firmest held credos.

But a season-be-damned runner knows when to adapt and keep the tempo up, no matter what. One such trooper is personal trainer and Saucony Hurricane Athlete, Chantelle Groenewoud, who also happens to be a five-time Canadian National Track and Field team member, two-time national Mountain Running team member, and the holder of the 7th fastest 3K Steeplechase time in Canadian history! We caught up with her to talk strategies for when you’re forced to train indoors.

Now to be fair, for Chantelle, who’s known as Chany in the Run Skills class she leads at Vancouver’s Movement108 studio, her current climate doesn’t force her off the trail too often. But having run for the University of Illinois and then for a time in Guelph, it’s safe to say she’s seen some extremes. And when bad weather rears its ugly head, she takes it in stride.

“When I did Track and Field, I just called it ‘Indoor Track Season,’” she says. “And now I call it base training. It’s a necessary evil to train in the winter to accomplish the goals I have for the spring and summer.”

One way that Chany keeps her motivation up is by varying her workouts when she’s got to hit the treadmill. “I get bored easily running inside because there are no landmarks to get to, or hills to run up, or beautiful views. So I find it very beneficial to do intervals on the treadmill.” After a two-mile warm up, say, she’ll employ a pyramid style workout of one-minute quick, one-minute slow, two quick, two slow, on up to four, and back down.

It’s here she can even find a benefit to treadmill running. “It’s easier to stay on pace because you can’t get lazy in the middle of the interval—or you’ll slowly fall off the back!”

Sometimes, being drawn indoors means you can turn to other workouts besides running that still benefit your game. Chany will often turn to weight strength work, kettleball exercises and pylometrics, or jump-training, to supplement her running. Chany also recommends experimenting with water running, spinning, using the elliptical, and yoga classes to cross train during the winter months.

All solid advice for when the weather turns against you. But Chany, being the champion she is, has got the Winter Warrior spirit within her.

“I also advise,” she adds before we’re done, “that, at least every now and then, trying to get out in the winter and experiencing the elements. It can be a feeling of being really alive!”

We hear you, inner Winter Warrior.