Running and Snow

It may have escaped your attention but in many parts of the UK currently it’s pretty snowy.

Snow and ice is all well and good but if you’ve got running goals to work towards it can be a right pain in the bum. I personally have 50km left to complete before 31st December as part of a running challenge so not being able to run for multiple days is not ideal.

But the good news is you can run in snow and ice with a few adaptions and some preparation:

  1. Be prepared to adjust your route. Think about staying closer to home so if conditions change you can get back easily. Also consider finding a park or some roads that have been cleared and completing loops – boring yes but you’ll get a clearer run and if you complete laps you’ll get used to where is safe and where is slippy pretty quickly. If you lie near a gold course these are often used for sledging on snowy days (no golf) and can be good run routes too – less likely to slip on grass!
  2. Forget a PB. You’ll need to take it a bit slower, shorter stride, keep and eye out for ice patches. Focus on getting a run in instead of stats, and maybe consider reducing the mileage a bit. It might be slower but it can actually feel like hard work running in icy conditions so think of it as a different type of run, you might find you ache in different places to normal.
  3. If the snow is deep you’re less likely to slip but you’ll need to think about lifting the knees higher. It will slow you down and might make your running feel less efficient but think of it as a different type of workout. Bit like running on sand.
  4. Dress for the weather. Layers, long sleeve running tops, hats, gloves. Especially as you might be going a bit slower make sure you are warm. Of course you’ll warm up once you start moving but don’t go out in shorts and a vest! Pick the most appropriate shoes you have. Running spikes / grippers if you’ve got them would be ideal as would fell running shoes but in this country many of us won’t have spikes to hand and unless you’re a running buff likely you won’t have specific fell shoes, so trail shoes might be the next best option – something with a bit of grip! Oh, and good socks – believe me, they make the difference.
  5. Be prepared. Have your phone and cash / cards. If you slip and hurt yourself in bad weather or it suddenly worsens you’ll thank yourself. Oh and take a bloody headtorch if you’re out in the afternoon. Me and a friend went for a run the other afternoon and it went from day to pitch black in minutes- hard enough running when you can’t see normally, add in ice and ouch!
  6. Walk when you find icy patches. Turn your route into a walk / run if need be. Much better than being out for months with a broken leg.
  7. Accept you might fall over though – just don’t go hell for leather across ice and make it inevitable!
  8. Enjoy the view. Things are prettier in the snow, take time to look instead of just bombing round. It can make a run feel so much more pleasant and counteract the I hate running in these conditions feelings.
  9. If outdoor running in this weather really isn’t for you switch to a treadmill. If like me you hate treadmills with a passion try a spin class or the rower and think of it as a bit of enforced cross training.

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