Monday, January 23, 2012

How to Run While It Is Snowing

I ran 18 miles in a snowstorm over the weekend. It was ... interesting. It was not the hardest run ever, but it wasn't pleasant either. Not sure I want to run that far again in the snow. I am either dedicated or insane. Or both. If it snows on the day of a race, what are you going to do? Not run? So you might as well get some practice at running in less than ideal weather.

There are some extra safety challenges if you are running while it is snowing. I am a big advocate of doing whatever it takes to keep yourself safe.

1. Get out your Yaktrax. They'll provide extra traction on packed snow and crunchy ice (not smooth ice, though ... not much can help you there).

2. Wear something brightly colored. You want to be as visible as possible. White is bad since it blends in with the snow. Highlighter colors are good choices. Bonus points if you don't match.

3. Wear a hat, preferably with a brim. It'll help to keep the snow out of your eyes.

4. Ski goggles aren't just for skiing. Yes, I ran outside wearing ski goggles. Did I look ridiculous? I'm sure I did. Did I care? Not enough to not do it.

5. You need to have a very good sense of how to dress appropriately. It is important to stay dry but also to regulate your temperature. You don't want to get too cold or too hot. The one advantage that snow has over rain is that snow generally doesn't soak you.

6. Ditch the music and headphones. Running in a snowstorm is difficult enough as it is. You don't need any extra distractions.

7. Get out of the way for snowplows. Jump in a snowbank if you have to. I was not expecting this one to make it on the list. This is why you need to be able to hear and be aware of what's going on around you.

8. Be extra cautious when crossing streets. Vehicles can't stop as easily on snow-covered roads, plus drivers may not be expecting or looking for runners on the road. You never win against a vehicle.

9. Be extra cautious of your footing. If you can't see the ground, you don't know what you are stepping on. That layer of snow could be hiding icy patches. The snow is not uniform, either. Some of it could be light and fluffy. Some of it could be hard-packed. You don't know until you step on it.

10. Your pace will slow down. Let go of whatever your usual pace is. This is not only OK but also smart. You can't keep running if you fall on your tuckus or injure yourself.

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