Sunday, January 22, 2012

Running in the Snow

My half-marathon training plan called for a 6-mile run yesterday.  But, in case you haven't heard (or looked outside), it snowed.  Also, I was exhausted from working until 3 a.m..  AND I had a birthday party to go to at 4 p.m.  So many excuses that forced me to push my "long run" back to today.  Obviously, the snow is still on the ground today.  And when I set out for my run it was 22 degrees (feels like temp of 10!).  I truly don't mind the cold as long as I'm properly dressed.  So I layered up on top with an Under Armour Cold Gear Mock Neck, long-sleeve zip-up and puffy vest.  On bottom I had my Under Armour Cold Gear tights and legwarmers. Top it off with my Trailheads hat & finger-less gloves and I was good to go!
i <3 legwarmers.
Like most runners, I prefer outdoor running to the dreaded treadmill.  I don't understand how anyone can run more than 3 miles on one of those things.  I get so bored so quickly.  So despite the cold & snowy outlook, I was looking forward to my run.  My only "goal" for today was to not fall, which I tend to do a lot on my own, even without snow or ice.  I started out on my usual route to Astoria Park, hoping that most of the sidewalks would be cleared, or at least salted.  No such luck!  Nothing in the park was cleared, and it was packed down and icy.  This was not going to help me reach my goal. 
danger! danger!
 I quickly made the decision to head over to a higher traffic street with lots of businesses and apartment buildings that would have had to clear their sidewalks.  It wasn't 100% cleared, but it definitely worked out much better for me.  Running in the snow is definitely a challenge.  I like that you're forced to slow down and really focus on what you're doing (which is similar to trail running).   You end up working more and different muscles while trying to maintain balance and push against the softer snow areas.  Running on not-so-packed down patches is similar to running on sand, where your impact pushes the snow aside and your legs work harder to propel forward.  

Winter running can be tough and dangerous, so you have to be careful! I try to follow these tips to stay safe in the snow:
-Go slow.  Running in the snow and/or ice is not ideal for speed work.
-Stay away from packed down snow and ice. Slow down and walk if you have to.
-Take your phone with you! Just in case you do fall and hurt yourself.
-Wear/bring chapstick! Nobody likes windburned lips.

snowy city view.

Running in the snow is awesome for so many reasons.  In addition to working those stabilizing muscles, you get to see some beautiful winter scenery.  I found myself smiling on my run just checking out the snowy park and the kids sledding!  Also, much like running in the rain, running in the snow is bad ass.  You feel super accomplished, knowing that most people are hibernating indoors while you're out getting your sweat on! 

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