It’s -22 degrees and ice is coating the sidewalks surrounding campus. Sorry, looks like you’ll have to pass on the whole long-run-day today. But the good news is there are plenty of other ways to cross-train, stay fit and get creative during the winter slump.

Cross-training is SO important for any athlete, especially runners. It offers so many benefits, including injury prevention, increased endurance and even just mixing up the routine for your muscles. At the end of the day, to be a runner, you'll need to run, but cross-training will help minimize risk of injury which will allow you to, well, keep running. 

1. Ice Skating

Erin O'Neill

This cardio activity is not just a fun date idea, but also a great idea for a workout. Skating on ice is essentially like running (or some might argue for controlled falling), but is easier on your knees, assumed you have correct form.

Scared of ice? Roller skating includes the same movements, minus the sharp blades.

2. Skiing

Skiing is probably the epitome of winter sports. Downhill skiing is known to improve coordination and leg strength. It also works muscles that you probably didn’t know you had until you strapped yourself to a pair of sticks and pummeled down a mountain. Cross-country skiing is also great for endurance and a full-body workout.

Hey, Penn Staters, check out Tussey Mountain!

3. Tubing

Whoever blew up a plastic tube and considered the laws of physics associated with snow and a downhill slope was a genius. Sure, the sledding part is a fun adrenaline rush, but the real workout comes into play when you walk back up the hill. Looking to take it to the next level? Pull your friend up the hill too. Repeat until you sweat. Like, a lot.

4. Pool Running

Yes, this is actually running in a pool. Compared to running on a road, it takes longer for your heart rate to work up, but it has an extremely low-risk for injury. It is known as a great alternative for injured runners, but can offer the same aerobic and strength benefits in a current training regimen.

5. Swimming

Swimming is awesome. There are a number of ways to get creative with strokes and speed work. Also boasting a low-injury rate, swimming offers a great form of cardio that’ll get your heart pumping. There's a reason why people drool over swimmer bods - it works your muscles from head to toe.

#SpoonTip: Be sure to not eat these foods before you try swimming

6. Indoor Sports

Sports including hand-eye coordination are just not my thing. But there are so many sports that can be played inside during the winter and many college campuses, including Penn State, have great indoor facilities for these sports. Tennis, soccer, floor hockey, basketball, racquetball and more.

While there are just six in this article, there are countless creative ways to cross-train for training or recreational running. Zumba, horseback riding, boxing, rowing, capture the flag...the list could go on. As long as its something that gets your heart pumping and makes you happy, your body with thank you during your next big race.