Running in a winter wonderland. Don’t let the thermostat deter you!

HUZZAH!

My dad and I made it from New Smyrna Beach, FL to Culpeper, VA in one shot: 14.5 hours of fun time family road-tripping. Nothing like some good tunes, good company, and two drivers to get where you need to go in this ridiculously large country.
However, after all that time sitting my body needed 2 things: sleep & a good long run (most certainly in that order). One problem, it was 24° F this morning in lovely Culpeper.
cold
3 days ago, I was running in this (the crazy amount of pink is because it was during the “Flamingo Flop” annual run / polar bear swim in New Smyrna Beach…also pink is awesome):

flamingo5k

I wasn’t going to let the thermostat scare me away, instead I just harkened back to the many many long winter runs in Chicago and Ithaca. There is nothing like the crisp air and the crunch of snow beneath your running shoes on a sunny winter day, so bundle up and keep these winter running tips in mind:

snowy3

  • Wear the right gear! Layers are key, I like to make myself into a delicious sporty sandwich: something tight and wicking close to the skin (No COTTON!), something fluffy and warm in the middle, and a wind breaking outer shel. A hat or hood to cover those ears is a must and a rebreather or scarf you can pull over your nose can really help warm up the breath as it comes in if you are sensitive to that brisk air. Don’t forget your hands…mittens are always warmer in my opinion.
  • shoesNo trail shoes? You want something with the best traction possible so trail shoes or winter running shoes are great…but if you are like me and don’t really want/have shoes for every specific occasion…Consider some tape or (if you’re done with the shoes) a layer of glue to seal off the vents to keep those toes warm and dry.
  • Give yourself ample time warm up! Easily double or triple the usual amount. I like to jog a few minutes, stop stretch a little, do some jumping jacks…rinse repeat. Lots of arm and upper body movement help to get the blood pumping. Also, if you have to wait at lights to cross a street, get your squats or lunges on to stay warm. Don’t worry about looking silly, everyone already thinks you are crazy for running in this weather! (hehe)
  • BE CAREFUL! If a path isn’t clear, stick to the thinner layers of snow over wet puddles or ice. When in doubt, walk it out! If something looks like ICE it is probably slippery. Keep your stride shorter and think several paces ahead.
  • Consider that motorists are even more of a danger in the winter given the conditions so give them even more of a wide birth around roads.
  • Wear bright colors (yep, akin to my flamingo outfit), if you can’t find someone as crazy as you to come along bring a cell phone and let someone know your route ahead of time.

Happy running my friends. Be safe, stay warm, and before you head inside…you should probably make some snow angels.

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