Life Hacks for Winter Running
I recently gave an impassioned article on Canadian Running about how much I hate winter running. I had written it the day after the worst run of 2015 where the wind froze my fingers, it was dark and blizzardy outside and I was just plain grumpy. The funny thing is, although I love running with all my heart, that love stems from being outside and TRULY outside. It is why I have always loved the trails more than road and why my love for running plummets the moment I need to do it indoors. Give me a trail or a compass and bushwacking and I am as happy as a clam.
The day after I wrote the article, I spent the morning racing the Frosty Trail Run at a local trail and I had a blast. The air was crisp, the snow was fresh and the sun was shining. I think that is the operating word for me. The SUN. I don’t love cold dark winter running, but I adore fresh, sunny snow runs. This past Sunday, I spent the morning on the trails with one of my biggest trail heroes and we did a solid 16 KM that started at sunrise and it kept getting warmer and warmer. We were the only ones out and it was amazing. THAT is winter running.
The ice, bitter cold, dark running? I will leave that to others and resign myself to the dreadmill.
1. I skip the long runs outside if there is a chance of frost bite. If the sun is down, I don’t bother. It is possible to do long runs outside, but I used to snowboard much more than I do now and gave myself a nasty frostbite that likes to resurface.
2. To keep from slipping, put screws into your shoe where your foot makes contact with the ground. You can take these out after the winter season is over (I mean, IF the winter season is over) and your shoe is as good as new! (Resource link is below)
3. Wear ski mitts. My fingers get bitterly cold in the winter and I find that ski mitts are the only thing that work. Smaller running gloves work for mid-season temperatures, but I have yet to find a good winter running glove.
4. Remember that you will be slower in the winter. Your stabilizers are working overtime because of ice and snow.
5. Do your intervals indoors. Running hard and resting for 2-3 minutes in the bitter cold is not a fabulous idea.
6. Layer. I wear like three shirts when I go out for my long runs and remember to tuck at least one of them in. That winter wind will get you wherever it can!
How Cold Weather Affects Your Running: Runner Academy
Avoiding Hypothermia and Staying Safe: Runners Connect
Winter Training for Mountain Bikers:Training Peaks
The Screw Shoe – Sky Runner
Unrelated but awesome:
Why you shouldn’t cut out fruit on your sugar cleanse: Work It Wear it Eat it
Running with Anemia: Eat Spin Run Repeat
What Ultra Marathons Do to Our Bodies: New York Times
What are your cold weather running life hacks?