If you’re like me, then sometimes you kind of loathe getting wet, or dirty, or whatever. Doing anything. I often joke with people that the reason I got my degree (well, half of it) in graphic design was because I don’t like to get my hands dirty. That’s absolutely untrue, as you might notice from the Photography half of my degree: your hands are forever dirty when there’s fixer and developer involved.
That being said, when you’re iffy about a run ALREADY and then it starts to snow or rain, chances are you’ll second-guess getting out there and doing the damn thing. I know I’m guilty of this.
But precipitation (barring hurricanes, avalanches and snow storms, of course) doesn’t have to keep you indoors. For me, running when it’s cold out is actually great, since part of my disease is overheating that leads to relapse: it just can’t happen when it’s cold outside, because my body literally can’t overheat in that type of weather.
Assuming most of my readers DON’T have an awesome auto-immune disorder like I do, I’ve rounded up some tips and safety reminders for running in the snow, from multiple websites, to let them know that running in or after the snow is really not going to be that terrible.
Beware of ice
Always beware of your footing while out on your run. Beneath the snow, there could be a sheet of ice which could cause you to slip. If you want to protect yourself from slipping on unexpected layers of ice, make sure you have suitable footwear with sufficient traction.
Plan your route
You should always plan your route before you set off. There are various things that you need to keep in mind – the level of traffic, the thickness of the snow, the forecasted weather in the next few hours, an approximate timeframe, and distance. In snowy weather, it is sometimes better to stick to the busier roads as breaking trail in heavy snow can be very difficult to run on, as opposed to the packed snow you may find on busy roads.
Consider your safety
Once you have planned your route, tell friends and family where you will be and how long you could be gone for. Try to stay away from remote places in case of an emergency, or carry your mobile phone so you can call for help. Also, you must be prepared to walk back should you suffer an injury so warm clothing is essential.
Watch out for traffic
Snow and ice not only affects your movement as a runner, but the movement of vehicles on the road. Because of the treacherous driving conditions, there is an increased rate of road accidents. If it’s safe to do so, always try to position yourself facing the traffic so you can see what’s happening ahead of you.
You need to be warm but not sweaty. Mid or base layers with high wicking properties will keep you dry, even when your body starts to perspire. Consider buying a hat, gloves, thermal socks, running shoes, and a windproof and/or waterproof running jacket. Some running jackets come with zipped vents in case you get too warm.
Only run on the roads if they are clear
Because main roads are gritted for drivers, they are often much easier to run on. If the roads are clear, and you position yourself against the traffic, this can be a safe option during snowy weather.
Protect your hands and feet.
As much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet. On mild days, wear running gloves that wick moisture away. Mittens are a better choice on colder days because your fingers will share their body heat. You can also tuck disposable heat packets into your mittens. Add a wicking sock liner under a warm polar fleece or wool sock, but make sure you have enough room in your running shoes to accommodate these thicker socks.
Pay attention to temperature and wind chill.
If the wind is strong, it penetrates your clothes and removes the insulating layer of warm air around you. Your movement also creates wind chill because it increases air movement past your body. If the temperature dips below zero or the wind chill is below minus 20, hit the treadmill instead.
You’re going to warm up once you get moving, so you should feel a little bit chilly when you start your run. A good rule of thumb: Dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer outside than it really is.
And in case you need proof that I’ll be right out there with you while it’s raining, here it is!
I always choose the most flattering photos of myself, no?
My favorite things about running in or just after the snow, aside from the obvious ‘cold’ that I posted above, are that it’s normally quiet and you can be alone (since most people prefer to stay indoors), it’s serene, and a freshly snow-covered anything is always really beautiful to see.
Let’s go running!