Well folks, we finally have snow on the sidewalks. I couldn't wait to get out this morning for a run, despite feeling a bit under the weather lately. I'm of the opinion that winter is the best season to run in.
My focus changes in the winter. In the summer months I like to run fartleks and try and improve my speed. I don't like doing speedwork on icy trails. While I extend my long runs throughout the winter, I alter my plans when things get below about -10C. If I can't do long runs for a stretch, I don't worry about it. Nature can dictate the type of running I do, but I have control over getting out that door.
In the winter I like to slow things right down, and focus on solidifying the habit. Getting out regularly and often is really a good goal to have over the winter. A 15 minute run in snow, ice and wind makes me feel more alive than an hour running in nice weather.
For those that are running in winter for the first time, I urge you to give it a go outside. Last year was my first winter. I bought a gym pass thinking running outside was impossible. Turns out it's not that difficult.
Some tips that I have found (I'm sure others have good ones as well):
1. Warm-ups will always be cold. Once you're running you'll heat up. I often overdress and it's unbearable.
2. Dress in layers for when you get too hot. Clothing can be removed and added.
3. Shops that sell clothing for people that work outside can be cheaper than winter running clothing.
4. Consider running near shops or laps around your house if it's really cold so you can warm up if needs me.
5. Carry a phone and some money if you need to call a cab.
6. Wool socks. Must have.
7. Slip on grips for your shoes may help. I have two sets that I use for walking dogs. They are excellent for ice and compacted snow, but very slippery on bare pavement. As a result, I don't use them for running. I haven't fallen once running, but I fall often just walking in the winter. Go figure.
8. Check yourself out in the mirror before you go running if it's a high windchill day to ensure that you've covered all of your skin to prevent frostbite.
9. Be kind to yourself. It's hard work to run through snow or to run dressed in winter gear. Celebrate getting out there.
Happy running folks. I pulled out my new shoes today so that I can start my winter running with new grips!