Wooden Staircase hill repeats:
Many wooden staircases drape down the banks of the river valley. I like to look for the tallest, and steepest sets (Wolf Willow or Hotel MacDonald) and run them as fast as I can taking them 2 at a time. Or if I want to work on cadence and speed, I’ll go to a less steep set like Fox Drive or Laurier Heights.
Edmonton Flavour: Keep running past the top of the stairs or else your first couple of recovery breaths will be full of cigarette smoke from someone taking in the view.
End-to-end and back bike ride:
With a combination of paved and gravel trails from Kennedale ravine to the southern reaches of Terwillegar park, almost 100km of cyclocross riding is possible. Or if mountain biking is more your flavour, a ride from the Anthony Henday Bridge to Sunridge and back can be more than 114km with 1700m of climbing! The great thing about this is that many variations are possible by adding various ravines and paralleling singletrack.
Edmonton Flavour: Count the number of homeless camps you come across during the ride.
Toboggan Hill Ski-mo Training:
In the winter, grass slopes leading down the banks turn into toboggan hills. With the current liability environment, I’ve even heard talk of banning tobogganing and most toboggan hills have a fence to limit the size of the hill. The bigger hills are a perfect place to do interval training and work on full speed transitions. During bigger snowfalls, more terrain is possible! Gallagher and Victoria parks are my favourite spots, except when there is more snow and the larger slumping riverbanks are GAME ON!
Edmonton Flavour: Count the idling drug deal cars on Gallagher hill!
Off Trail classic skiing:
While there are parks with groomed and trackset ski trails, I prefer to ski from my door to maximize training time (and minimize driving time). Off track, I can explore more of the river valley and work on balance, but at the expense of gliding and higher cadence technique refined by skiing in the tracks.
Edmonton Flavour: When you finally come across a trackset trail, battle with the numerous skiers training for the Birkie!
The one thing that I missed when I spent a year in Canmore was a midweek racing scene. I’ve participated in running, mountain bike, road, cx, and xc ski midweek races and they are a great way to test of the waters of racing or a fun way to do a high intensity workout to prepare for bigger upcoming races.
See: Fat Tire Tuesday mountain biking, CXAlberta Wednesday Night Cyclocross, Get Powdered XC ski race series, Frank McNamara Running Series.