Tips for winter running

Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope everyone out there, regardless of your relationship status, feels loved in some way today and every other day of the year!

So, remember how I was pouting that Winter Storm Pax wasn’t bringing nearly as much snow as I wanted? I got my wish after all.

Here’s Apache to provide a reference of the snow depth.

ponysnow2

 

ponysnow4

 

ponysnow3

Apache is so funny. He actually LOVES snow. We frequently catch him prancing around in it for no good reason other than it’s apparently fun. I’ve tried to get it on camera, but the second I pull out my phone it’s like he gets camera shy and stops dead. Maybe someday!

Now, on to the main topic of this post: running in winter. I’ve mentioned before that I was on a hiatus from running, which used to be my favorite form of exercise. Lately, though, the running bug has come back, right in the middle of the worst season for outdoor running.

Because I categorically refuse to get my butt on a treadmill, I wanted to share some of my winter running tips so you can enjoy a safe and comfortable winter run.

1. Dress Right

Layers are your best friend when it comes to outdoor running. I like to pair a lightweight long sleeve t-shirt with a fleece pullover. My favorite is the Glacier 1/4 Zip from North Face.

northface

 

It’s got a higher neck so I don’t have to worry about wearing a scarf or other type of neck warmer, and it’s just heavy enough to keep me warm without being bulky. Get it here– there are loads of pretty colors to choose from. Pick something bright to improve your visibility to drivers!

When it comes to pants, I stick with my regular running tights or yoga pants. Nothing fancy on that front. I also prefer to use those cheap knit gloves you can find for $3 at Walmart. They layer well if necessary, and they’re so cheap I don’t have to worry about losing them.

To keep my poor toes warm I always try to wear wool socks- not only are they toasty, but the wool helps keep your feet dry if your shoes get wet (which is likely to happen.) SmartWool is my favorite place for socks, and they have tons of cute patterns. I do love cute socks 🙂

 

2. Don’t forget the accessories!

If you’re like me and your ears start to ache when it’s super cold out, earmuffs are a must. I use 180 Earmuffs similar to these:

earmuff

 

Another thing to remember is sunglasses! When there’s snow on the ground and sunshine in the sky, the light reflecting off the snow can be surprisingly blinding. Trust me, you’ll want some shades.

3. Adjust your speed and stride

When the roads are snow or slush covered is not the time to try and set any PRs. Slow yourself down and work on taking shorter strides to reduce the risk that you’ll slip and slide.

4. Leave the headphones at home

I almost always run with music, so I feel your pain, but running with headphones while the weather is bad is not a good idea. Listening to music can decrease your focus on your surroundings, and this is one time you want to be super aware of what’s going on. A car could be sliding out of control nearby, and you definitely want to hear that so you can get out of the way!

5. Watch for ice

I would imagine this is fairly obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. Just because the snow is melting and the roads seem fine doesn’t mean there might not be some black ice lurking in a shady spot. Just today, most of my run looked like this

snowyroad2

Roads were wet, sun was bright. Not much of a safety concern. Then I got to a shady, tree lined stretch.

snowyroad1

It’s hard to tell from the photo, but just around this bend there was a good sized patch of black ice on the road. Luckily I only slipped a little before I got my balance, but it did completely sneak up on me. So always be on the lookout!

6. Water!

When the temperatures drop below freezing, I always have a hard time remembering to drink enough water. But that’s one thing you definitely don’t want to neglect, so make sure you drink up both before and after your run the keep dehydration at bay.

7. Take it easy on yourself

Running in cold weather has never been very easy for me. My lungs burn, my eyes water, and I alternately feel frozen and extremely hot. My times are never as fast as they are in moderate weather. And I’m okay with that. I’m always proud of myself just for making the effort and getting out there, and you should be too!

I hope this was helpful, and I’d love to hear from you all about winter running tips!

 

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