Just years ago, runners had valid reasons for skipping runs during the winter. It was too cold, too dark, too forbidding. While winters are still cold and dark, those excuses have melted away with the advent of apparel that keeps us warm and dry in subzero temps, headlamps that light our way through the gloom, and affordable treadmills for the days you have to stay inside. Here are solutions to your other winter running woes.
EVERYTHING IS COVERED WITH SNOW!
SOLUTION Look for snow that’s been packed down—it will provide better traction. Fresh powder can cover up ice patches. If the roads and sidewalks are sheets of ice, stay in.
IT’S SO COLD, IT HURTS TO BREATHE!
SOLUTION Research has shown that running in temperatures below zero won’t harm your lungs. Some runners may experience throat irritation if they breathe cold air directly—avoid this by wearing and breathing through a scarf or ski mask.
MY FEET WILL FREEZE!
SOLUTION Many shoes are designed for maximum venting, so wear warm socks that will keep the chill out.
I DON’T KNOW WHERE TO RUN!
SOLUTION Stable footing is the goal. Run on the street if it’s been plowed, provided that it’s safe from traffic, and watch out for areas that could have black ice. Run on the sidewalk if it’s clear of ice or slippery snow. Find a well-lit route, slow your pace, and make sure you’re familiar with areas of broken concrete.
THERE’S ICE ON THE ROAD!
SOLUTION When the roads are covered with ice, take your workout inside. If you can’t bear the treadmill, other exercise modes that will maintain most of your running adaptations include the elliptical and stair machines, NordicTrack, and running in the deep end of a pool. Perform these alternatives for 100 to 150 percent of your normal running time.