Winter Running

Winter running is always a bit tricky, unless you live down south or in a warm climate that doesn’t have a change of seasons; I live in “mile-high” country and, trust me, winter is definitely here. I don’t typically run outside as often as I would like during the winter; during the spring & summer I run 5-6 days a week (5 days on, 1 day off), averaging 5 miles on weekday runs (except Fridays where I put in 6) and somewhere between 8-13 or 14 miles on weekend day runs.

It’s not the cold, I can handle the cold (to about 25 degrees); it’s all about layers. My issue is usually around snow and ice; particularly snow and ice that has been walked or driven, melted a bit, frozen again, etc. This condition is a recipe for twisting an ankle or falling on your face (and hoping no one was around to see it and/or post it on YouTube; usually there’s not, except for the hardcore runners out there).

I’m not a fast runner by any stretch, but I do like to maintain a fairly decent pace (most days I consistently maintain an 8 min pace; some days I can get into low 7s; not terribly bad for someone in their forties). With winter running though, the idea of maintaining a pace, as well as proper form, kind of goes out the window real quick; it’s more of navigating where to step and remaining upright. If the path I’m on is snow-covered, I try to stay on the edges where either there’s a little less snow, or, preferably, actual ground (mud, really, but that’s all semantics) where I can get some traction. If I can’t find a good edge, I try to hit dirt patches on the path; I’m sure from an outsider’s view-point I must look pretty odd bounding around like that. As a last resort I’ll step where everyone else has stepped, but cautiously so that I don’t injure myself. When I’m running I [almost] always try to be a considerate runner by “staying in my lane” so to speak versus wondering all over the place (you know who you are). Well, that too, kind of gets tossed aside when running on path blanketed with snow; I will go out of my way to find “the path of least resistance” if you catch my drift.

Winter running is not for the faint of heart and not something that should be done nonchalantly; if you’re not an experienced runner, you probably shouldn’t risk doing so and maybe instead go to a gym and run on treadmill, or, if you’re like me and think a gym membership is monumental waste of money (why would someone pay someone else to lift heavy objects or exercise?), consider investing in a treadmill (or an elliptical, or a rowing machine, or an exercise bike). Basically, the goal is to stay safe and injury free; otherwise you won’t be doing any running, which would be a very bad thing.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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