Yup, winter is here so for lots of people -- like, me, here in the northeast -- that means snow. My hope is that, like last year, we'll have a fairly un-snowy winter. In case that wish doesn't come true, I'm prepared. Yes, I'm a big time treadmill runner when the days are too chilly to push my toddler in the jogging stroller and the evenings are just too dark and cold. But I do stick to outdoors for my weekend runs and I love it.
So, for you, remember that a snowy season doesn't mean you have to give up your outdoors runs! Just be sure to follow a few key tips to ensure your safety when you head outside:
- Expect your runs to take more out of you. Running in the snow requires more energy so modify your expectations and your pace accordingly.
- Warm up well. Running on snowy or icy routes will call your outer- and inner-thigh muscles into action in ways they may not be used to. Be sure to warm up your legs muscles well with some extra flexibility exercises for those muscles. Rubbing your legs with The Stick or using a foam roller can work well.
- Wear trail shoes or add traction to your regular running shoes. Traction devices like YakTrax and STABILicers will give you extra stability in the snow.
- Make yourself visible. Gray days, dark evenings, and snowy weather can make it tough to be seen. Wear high-visibility or reflective gear so drivers can see you, if you run on roads. Consider getting a headlamp if you run in low-light conditions.
- Alter your stride. To maintain better balance, shorten your stride and don't lift your feet as high as you normally do. Altering your stride will reduce your chances of falling or slipping.
- Activate your eyes. Be on the look-out for ice patches and snow-covered potholes, tree roots and other things that could trip you up. When in doubt, slow to a walk.
- Seek out fresh snow. Fresh snow provides more traction than packed snow.
If you follow these tips -- and you remember to dress for the weather -- running in the snow can be tons of fun. So get out there and enjoy yourself!
Do you have any other tips for running in the snow?