Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cold Weather Running: Staying Warm And Safe

It's a new week and almost a new month. It is bringing us closer to...Christmas! Alright, let's get real, this post has nothing to do with Christmas. I will at least wait until after Thanksgiving to go "there". Let's talk about the fact that I live in New England and the temps are getting a bit more chilly. I am sharing a post I did last year regarding cold weather running along with staying safe. I updated it some and it feels like the perfect time to reintroduce this post.

As many of you know by now, I am a runner. I love running. I love how it makes me feel, how it keeps me in shape, how it strengthens my body and my mind. Who needs therapy when you have a good pair of running shoes?! If you know me well then you also know that I hate winter and being cold. I truly do dislike winter. Here's a confession: I grew up in Vermont and have never been skiing! I also have no desire to, I am so klutzy I would be that person to run into a tree. Despite my feelings toward the cold this will be the 5th winter in a row I run in the cold temps and snow.


I don't own a treadmill and I don't have a gym membership. I love having my feet hit the pavement and I am not about to stop because of the cold. I have grown accustomed to cold weather running. Three years ago I said I would not run if it got below 20 degrees. That was before Vermont got hit with some cold winters and my addiction for running got the best of me. In time I found myself out running when it was -10 degrees. When it came down to it the cold did not stop me. I would conquer it, even if I did come home with frosty lashes. I have learned how to dress appropriately for the weather. Once you master that, you don't get cold. I do hate layers and I prefer running in less. I have figured it out and can get away with thin but warm gear and while being comfortable during my runs.


What you wear also includes wearing the right shoe for winter running. I tend to go with a trail running shoe that offer a good tread. Other runners like to use WinterTrax, Yak Trax or Ice Treads. It is different for each person, just be sure you are comfortable and it feels right for you. Also be sure to keep those feet warm and choose a good sock! 

With the change of seasons brings darkness much earlier. I prefer running in the morning and am a much better and happier runner. Due to family schedules and work some of my runs are in the late afternoon or early evening. Not only am I pushed into running in the cold, I am surrounded by darkness at the end of my runs. Safety is important when it is dark. You need to be able to see, yet more importantly: you need to be sure that YOU are seen by others! I wear a reflective vest, head lamp and use Knuckle Lights. (If you don't know what Knuckle Lights are you should check these out! Visibility is great when I use these. I had a man tell me last year that the lights looked pretty when I was running with them.)


My husband gets worried about me running in the dark and wants to be sure I am safe. He has equipped me with hand held mace (let's hope I don't spray myself) and Duracell Safety Armbands. I actually really like having the armbands. As where my headlamp and Knucklights give me visibility, the armbands allows drivers behind me to know that I am there. I do my best to run where it is safe though there are routes, and even the street where I live, that does not have a sidewalk and I am running alongside the road. 



It is harder for me to get into my runs when it is dark out. I still enjoy it yet I feel like I put so much energy focusing on staying safe that I don't get to loose myself in my runs as I usually do. I have talked about it before; running for me is spiritual as well as physical. When I am running at night I have to pay close attention to my surroundings. It is a constant focus on completing my run safely.

My monthly miles will be much less. I try to keep up with my running schedule though my runs are not as long as they would be if it were perfect running temps (for me that is right now, 40 to 50 is when I like to be out there). This just means I will do more cross training and work on other areas of my body until it starts to warms up.

So here we are. Winter is almost here and now it is cold and dark. I have to discipline myself to get out there. I love running, but the elements of my run I don't always enjoy. I have to push much harder and some days give myself a pep talk. Determination fills me so I can get my ass out there on my running days no matter what the weather is. I have run in sun, rain and snow. I would rather run than regret not running. I don't ever come home wishing I had not gone for that run. 

Bundle up, stay safe, and Happy Running!!

 
Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” ~ Dean Karnazes

10 comments:

  1. Good tips! And, like you - I grew up in VT and have never been downhill skiing either!
    I ran 11 out of 12 months last year (no miles in February). I'm going for all 12 this year!

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    1. Thanks!! You can do all 12 no problem! Bundle up!

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  2. Awesome tips! I struggle to get myself outside during the winter but I found last year that I was able to sneak in some runs on my lunch break and it was really helpful! Warmest time of the day and it would be somewhere between 10 and 20 degrees!

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    1. I really hate the cold but I never regret a run!

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  3. Great post! I have to admit that I totally chickened out this winter and resorted to my treadmill. I felt that it was too dangerous with the ice on the poorly lit country roads I live on. Maybe this winter will be different!

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    1. Conditions are always a safety issue. I just ordered new shoes for winter running. Good tread is so important. I am lucky the only one time I fell was jumping a snowbank. I fell though right in front of two other runners. Talk about hurting my ego a bit. :) I don't have a treadmill, if I did it might be different.

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  4. Great information! I can't believe we are heading into winter so soon. I wish fall would last forever. I have Knuckle Lights too, and they are the best!!

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    1. I know!!! I wish fall lasted longer Amanda! Winter seems to last forever too.

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  5. Great info! I have volunteered to pace several races in the spring and keeping active, either running and/or cross training, will be a must!

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    1. Good luck! That sounds like fun, what a great thing to volunteer for. Check out Grokker, I really like their video's for cross training!

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