Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Running Tips

Snow, snow, it finally snowed!!! AND, I've been lucky enough to run in it several times. The day after Christmas, we got a lot of ice, then finally, SNOW! For this klutz, running on ice really isn't smart, BUT, running in the snow is a different story. December 26, we got about 6 inches of snow. And then it stuck around. We got more snow on top of that. Right now, we have about 10 inches of snow from the several different days of snow. I think that's more snow than we got all of last winter combined.

I know many runners do not enjoy snow running or even winter running. To be honest, I like it for about a month. After that, I am usually ready for spring. Ideally, I would run in 50*F or warmer all year long. California, Georgia or Florida, maybe the Carolinas would be my ideal weather states. But, since I've lived in Ohio all my life, I'm used to it and take advantage of the snow while we have it knowing that it typically doesn't last too long.

After my first snowy 4 mi of the season


The first year that I was running, it never crossed my mind that I could keep running during the winter. In my previous attempts at running, it was always a spring/summer thing for me. I even asked my friend what I was supposed to do to train for my first half marathon. She chuckled and told me to buy some tights and layer my clothes. I ran through that first winter and haven't looked back.

Running in freshly fallen snow is one of my favorite times to run. Especially if I get out before the rest of the world. Making those fresh footprints in the snow, listening to the snow crunch under my feet brings me a feeling of peace.

There are many things we can do to make running in the snow and cold easier:

  • Layer, layer, layer. I've learned with a lot of trial and error what works for me in different temperatures. Under 25*F, I wear a thermal mock-turtleneck with a jacket. I layer over/under the jacket as needed. 
  • Hats, headbands, neck gaiters, gloves. Again, clothing depends on how cold you get and how your body handles different temperatures. (Also depends on the windchill)
  • Winter running tights are a must. I like that they are tight around my ankles so the cold air and snow cannot get on my legs. 
  • Warm socks...I finally invested in a pair of winter running socks for those longer snowy trail runs and they are definitely worth the money!
  • Trail shoes for the snow or YakTracks over your shoes. Personally, I prefer my trail shoes for added traction, but thinking I may need to put the YakTracks over my trail shoes for some of the trails.
  • And most importantly, slow down and enjoy it!
After a long run in the cold or just an extremely cold day, I come home and have a cup of coffee to warm up, then a warm shower. Might not be the best thing (the HOT shower) for me, but it sure feels good!

***1/3/13 update: I think I found the perfect amount of clothes to wear today. It was 12*F and I wasn't a frozen icicle when I got home. It did feel like too many clothes before I left, but I might be on to something. I wore capris under running pants, a thermal long-sleeve shirt, t-shirt and jacket, hat, gaiter (I think that's what it's called?) and TWO pairs of gloves. Took forever to get dressed and undressed, but I think it was worth it!***

Monday's trail run


What about you? Do you stay inside all winter or do you head out in anything? What is your favorite piece of cold weather running gear? 





11 comments:

  1. it doesn't get very cold here on the gulf coast, so a jacket, occasional hat and pants is all I have to run in when it gets "cold"! I am glad I don't have to battle snow!

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  2. Maybe it will be 50 degrees by this Sunday?

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    1. Wishful thinking....according to the extended forecast, we may start thawing next week, mid-week. Fingers are crossed!

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  3. Snow is exhausting, but a step above the treadmill in my book. ;)

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    1. Exactly! Seven miles in the snow yesterday was killer on my legs, slow, and very humbling. But 90 minutes on the treadmill would probably NEVER happen, so I'll take it!

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    2. Think of it as cross-training, using other muscles :)

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  4. This is the first winter that I'm running through, and I have a spring half marathon planned for extra motivation! I am fortunate that I don't get cold super easily. I just got a new headband (on clearance at Target!) which is perfect for keeping my ears warm and my earbuds in place. That with some tights and a couple of layers on top is pretty perfect for me ... so far.

    The biggest challenge is that the uneven snow (especially once it's on the ground for awhile and kind of packed and choppy) requires a lot more stabilization than just running on a flat surface. I have had IT band issues in the past, so I'm wary of re-aggravating it. I'm wondering if YakTrax might help?

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    1. Welcome to your first winter of running! Good for you for planning some extra motivation with your spring Half Marathon. Having those spring races definitely keeps you going! YakTracks definitely help with footing on the snow/ice. Good luck!

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  5. Thanks for the tips! I ran a 5K yesterday, luckily they cleared the trail from snow but I wasn't really sure what to wear! I ended up borrowing a pair of my husband's snowboarding socks and some cold weather gear. :) I'll have to check out the YakTracks!

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    1. Glad they cleared the trail for your race, Sarah! Good luck finding the right cold weather running gear for you.

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