Running in a Winter Wonderland!

I got a pleasant surprise  this morning when I woke up. It was snowing out! I really was not expecting that, the weather wiz did not mention this at all!

The Calm After the Storm

I know there are a lot of people who do not like running outside in the snow, but I actually think that with the right gear to keep you warm, running in snow is actually a lot of fun and definitely a challenging workout. If you never tried it, give it a shot.  You might like it!  Part of the peacefulness of running in the snow is that it requires you to be in the moment and focus on every step you take.  Besides, I’d much rather run outside in the snow versus indoors on a treadmill.

After my first run in the snow I definitely noticed that running on snow and ice takes a lot more energy than running without snow, therefore we need to modify our pace.  Although we will likely not run our fastest on snow and ice, we will certainly get a tough run in and one that will challenge our strength, balance and focus.  I found that when I run in the snow I need to engage core muscles to remain stable and upright.  Many times, I found myself needing to correct my balance or my body movement because of the bumps in the snow especially if it is snowing on top of ice.  The day after my calf, thighs, outer leg and muscles I didn’t even know I had are pretty sore.  Bottom line, running in the snow is a great and challenging workout that make me work a lot harder than my normal runs, the intensity is much higher and on top of that is a way to change up and spice up the routing.

Few things I keep in mind when running in the snow and in the cold weather.

  • Warming up is essential, it brings more blood into the muscles which delivers oxygen so muscles can perform.  Getting your muscles up to an ideal temperature helps them contract better and this helps you get the best results from your workout.
  • Watch out for cars.  Snowy weather produces driving conditions and driver behavior that are less than desirable, so as a runner, you need to keep on your guard at all times.  When possible and safe to do so I run on the street always try to position myself facing the traffic so I can see cars coming toward me.
  • Always beware of your footing.  Beneath the snow, there could be ice.  To protect myself from slipping on unexpected layers of ice;  when in doubt, I walk through an icy stretch.
  • I personally don’t use them, but I know people who swear by yak tracks.  They are light weight ice grips made of natural rubber blends that easily slips on over your shoes and boots.  Recommended as long as you are running on snow/ice and not concrete.
  • Dress for the cold.  You need to be warm but not sweaty.  Even though you feel cold when you walk outside, you need to dress for the fact that you will start heating up and sweating shortly into your run.  Dress warm and in layers making sure your fabric is light-weight with high wicking properties that will keep you dry, even when your body starts to perspire.  I start with a base-layer that will pull moisture away from my skin.  As my husband says avoid cotton clothing. As cotton gets wet, it absorbs water, becomes heavy and then becomes rough to your skin causing cause chafing.  Plus, you don’t want to be wet or you will get cold if you slow down.  To make his point, Dustin actually surprised me with a bag of clothing made of “technical fabrics” such as Lycra and DriFit.  On top of that I wear a fleece and if it’s windy I wear a windproof and waterproof running jacket with a zipper, so that I can zip it up and down depending on my body temperature.  Cover as much of your skin as possible and protect your hands and feet.  I’ve learned that  you lose up to 30% of your body heat through your extremities.  I wear wicking socks and gloves and I am considering buying mittens to use on colder days because fingers maintain their warmth better when they are in contact with each other.  I wear a hat that I can always take off when I start to overheat.  One of the last item Dustin got me is a  balaclava which is a combination head and neck covering which provides a great deal of warmth and protect your neck and face. You can pull it up over your mouth to warm the air you’re breathing in.

The Balaclava=))

Now this is certainly not the most fashionable of outfits, but does it really matter?  I mean no one else is out on the road.  Besides, hardly anyone will recognize you!

So, put a smile on that face and go out there and play!

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