Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Workout Wednesday: First Snow

Yesterday, the Calgary area woke up to a huge dump of snow (well, for October, anyway).   I was scheduled to run, but accidentally left half of my gear by the door at home.  So, today I took on the challenge of running in the first snow of the season.

Running shoes on...ready, set...GO!

This is my third winter running in the snow, but it still takes me a run or two to find my winter mojo.   I tend to run hot, so the cold weather doesn't really bother me (case in point - I only wore tights, a short sleeve and my resolution run jacket with a thin headband and gloves)  It is the ice that gets me every time...and THIS is how the sidewalks looked today

Note the shovel marks - this is a CLEARED sidewalk!  Not exactly a picture of safety.

So, to help you out as you embark on your winter runventures, I thought I would share my short list of tips with you:
  • SLOW DOWN!  You will not be running as fast as you normally would -  even on the routes you know well.  You need to get to know them all over again when they become icy, winter wonderlands.  Dial back your pace A LOT on the first few runs and rediscover your happy pace in these new conditions
  • Be aware.  Watch the ground.  You may be able to see tricky spots before your shoes feel them and go out from under you.  You still need to be aware of what is going on in front of you, but in these early runs - knowing the surface is super important.
  • Gear up. It is going to take you a few run to figure out what layers you need to wear.  Dress a little warmer than usual and be prepared to tie clothes around your waist when you inevitably realize you dressed too warm.  Don't forget to protect your extremities.
  • If you can run in them, wear traction spikes.  I have them but they tend to bruise my feet so I don't wear them.  I did, however, find that trail shoes gave me more traction and waterproofing over the winter last year. 
  • Shorten your stride.   A wider stride will hurt more if you fall and your legs spread waaaay out.  The shorter stride will also help you quicken your turnover so you can get over the icy patches quicker.
That's just a bit of what helped me today as I ran my quick 4k around Southwood.  I say quick, but it was really super duper slow.

At home - clear your sidewalk super well to help a runner out! In Langdon, on the side of town that HAS sidewalks, barely anyone clears them and as a result running in the winter is not safe or recommended.  If everyone just hauled their shovels out - it would make for a much more pedestrian friendly town!  In the city, there are bylaws to ensure sidewalks are cleared, but they aren't always done well.   I'm amazed the city-owned sidewalks weren't cleared better than this, but it is what it is.

Do you plan to be a winter warrior this year?  What snow running tips do you have?  Share your thoughts in the comments :)


  1. I'm impressed! No matter how much I run, I'll never be a winter warrior - I live in Southern California. I'm in more danger in October/November when we have wild fires.

  2. Yes, please clear your sidewalks! We don't get a lot of snow here but I'm still kind of surprised at what some people feels qualifies as "cleared". IT's like an obstacle course around here trying to find safe sidewalks when it's snowed out.

    1. In Langdon, if there is less than a foot of snow and ice on the sidewalks - they are called cleared. When I was home with the twins for 2 years - I was so grateful we splurged and got the top of the line off-roader stroller so I could navigate it down the middle of the road. LOL. I don't even try to run out here after November.

  3. I've gotten soft. It's also my third winter running. The first one I ran in anything. Last year, I got a treadmill, so started avoiding ice. This year, I also have a job with free access to an indoor track...

    Really though, the temperature isn't that big a deal. I just have to remember it, because once I'm out there, nothing compares to an outdoor run.

  4. I ran in Chestermere on Wednesday... very slowly since there are lots of icy patches, and wow did sprinting on the short sections of dry sidewalks feel good! :)


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