Monday, February 05, 2007

Running in snow and ice

There are a few important things to remember when running in snowy and icy conditions. Here are a few simple rules to help you avoid slipping and falling.

  • Only do one of these things at a time: accelerating, decelerating and turning. Trying to turn while changing your speed can be disastrous and make you lose traction so slow down BEFORE you corner.
  • Try to shorten your stride. This will help you recover if you do slip and also keeps your centre of balance over your planted foot. Another benefit is that taking faster steps can help to improve your VO2 Max and make you faster in the long run.
  • Snow has more traction than ice so you're better to run in an inch of snow than not.
  • If your neighbourhood tends not to clear it's sidewalk, find an area where the city maintains the walkways. Usually main non-residential roads are cleared by the city so at least the sidewalk is consistent.
  • Go for a run in the country. There's usually a lot less traffic so it could be safe to run in the road as long as you're facing traffic and are prepared to dive into a snowbank if needed.
  • If you live in an area with a lot of snow, try snowshoeing.
  • Slow down. It's not worth doing your speed work in icy conditions. A broken leg will put you out for the whole season so use the winter to work on your base mileage, do some strength training or do your speed work indoors.

Most important is to use common sense but get out there and enjoy the cold. You'll be glad you did.

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