Happy January! If you are like me and planning distance runs for the Spring you will need to train for them over winter. Oh, what joy! Running remains the same; the challenge is how to dress for the weather while keeping your self safe running in snow and ice. Obviously, this would not be a problem for my Southern running friends; here in the Northeast, it is a fact of life.
Let me be clear on a few things before moving on with this post. I LOVE running. I don’t like snow or ice at all. If I did not have the Paris Marathon and Shamrock Dolphin Challenge this spring, I would probably refrain from running outdoors as much as possible. However, distance runs require appropriate training and I’m not about to skip out on training. This past fall provided beautiful running weather and the beginning of winter was mild in temperature until last week. Temperatures plummeted into the teens with wind chills lowering the temperature into single digits. In addition to the cold, a few inches of snow added to the mix. During the week, I generally run in the late afternoon or early evening and this time of year it is dark by 5pm. Cold, snow and darkness are formidable challenges to running outdoors. With proper planning and the right gear you can practically run all year round. Granted, if 10 feet of snow falls, then its me and the dreadmill till the snow clears or Spring arrives.
Here are a few tips that I’ve learned during my winter running experience so far:
1. Safety first: Tell someone where you are running, bring ID and a cell phone on the run, wear clothing that has reflective areas and run in well-lit areas. Do this with every run, no exceptions. On my night runs, I’m lit up like a Christmas Tree with reflective gear. Also, I stick to the same running path until the days become longer and I can expand my running route.
2. Proper layering is crucial to your comfort and well-being. Investing in a few Under Armor ColdGear items goes a long way in making the run bearable. Fleece arm warmers are useful and add a layer without much bulk. I typically layer with a tech t-shirt, fleece arm warmers, followed by two long sleeve technical shirts. I don an outer jacket that provides more protection and is windproof. I’m now loving the Gore Running Wear Windstopper Soft Shell jacket. You can add more layers or less dependent upon your needs, however, the key is to have your outermost layer windproof. You can buy thermal running socks, but I run in Thorlo’s all year-long. Add thermal running pants to complete your outdoor running ensemble.
3. Hats, gloves and face masks or balaclava are essential. Look for thermal and windproof technology in these items as well as reflective surfaces.
4. If you are running on snow or ice, invest is a set of Yaktrax to add more traction to your running shoes. There is an increased risk of a running injury with snow and ice, Yaktrak are an excellent investment in lowering that risk.
All the items hyperlinked in this post are ones that I wear during my runs. I just discovered Gore Running Wear this year and so far I’m highly impressed with the quality of their products.
If you run and have more winter running advice or tips feel free to share your wisdom in the comment section.
I snapped a photo of the scenery along the Kelly Drive running path which runs along the Schuylkill River for several miles. It is a stunningly beautiful running path all year-long and my main running destination.
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