Although Winter officially begins on December 21st, it always starts with the first snow in my book! Cold weather, snow and ice can play havoc on your running program but there are plenty of ways to get in your runs and keep your mileage consistent. Try the following tips and tricks for running this winter in any challenging weather condition.
Layer up in technical running clothes. Dri-Fit, Coolmax and Drylete are just a few technical fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin and avoid getting cold. Avoid wearing cotton as it will stick to your skin and give you a chill.
Wear reflective apparel like a vest and flashing lights. It will keep you visible to drivers in any condition in the day or night.
Dress for 15-20 degrees warmer than the current temperature (including wind chill). So if it 30 degrees out with no wind, I am dressing for 45-50 degrees. If it is windy, go with 10-15 degrees warmer. This allows for the increase in your body temperature as you run.
If you live in an area where it snows frequently it might pay off to purchase a pair of trail shoes that have better traction for the snow and waterproofing material to keep your feet dry. There is also a great product called Yak Trax that I use when we get hit with snow. They will give you better traction and stability in the snow. You can put them on your regular running shoes and cut through the snow with ease! Make sure to avoid wearing them on marble floors and non-snowy roads as they can be slippy!
When running on ice and snow, shorten your running stride and keep your feet lower to the ground. You will be more efficient stride for stride and reduce the risk of slipping, falling or
Choose fresh snow over ice or packed snow. You will get better traction on fresh snow and reduce the chance for slipping. Watch out for snow-covered cracks and holes in the road.
Slow your pace or cut your distance when there is snow or ice. It will be a lot more demanding to run in the snow and the key is to get in a safe run rather than a fast one. You can return to your normal pace once the roads are clear!
Expect to be a little more sore in different muscle groups. Mostly because you will be using your stablizing muscles on your inner and outer legs more than usual.
Make sure to incorporate plenty of flexibility exercises and include exercises for these lateral muscle groups .
Just like learning to run, it is best to ease your way into running in snow and ice. Alternate an outdoor snow run with an indoor treadmill run for a few weeks until your body adapts to the greater demands.
Play it safe on icey stretches. Run on fresh snow or even packed snow versus the icey areas. Your traction will be better and your risk for falling less. Slow down and glide on ice if needed and avoid running across ice unless you are a seasoned ice runner!
Running in the winter is a traquil experience for sure. Relax your body and focus on the road in front of you. Before you know it you will be smiling as you run across the snow covered roads and trails.
Coach Jenny Hadfield
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