I get asked all the time if I still run in the winter. The short answer is yes.
The long answer, as any of my fellow winter runners know, is that even though running outside in the winter is a complicated dance that involves making calculated adjustments based on the temperature, wind chill, precipitation, snow depth, and road/trail conditions, being prepared with the right clothing and footwear makes it possible to run in just about any weather.
We had a period of time in December when everything, whether on the road or trail, was icy, so I got some good use out of my yaktraks! My preferred route for icy conditions is the flat trail that runs alongside the river near our house. I avoid hills at all costs when it’s icy because I don’t like having a perpetually bruised butt.
As you can see, absolutely everything was covered in glare ice!
We started getting good snow in January this year, and once we got enough to cover the ice, I was able to run almost anywhere I wanted again (for a time). As the snow got deeper, I planned my routes so that I would run uphill on the road and back downhill on the trail.
Nothing like having the woods all to myself!
It’s been very cold so far this year, so the snow has stayed light and fluffy, and I was able to run on trails even with snow up to my knees!
Since the beginning of February, we’ve had one snow storm after another, and now the snow in the woods is up to my waist. I am mostly running on the road now–even the snowmobile trails are rarely runnable because they don’t get packed well enough before we get more snow! I still prefer road miles over treadmill miles any day though, and I’m thankful that we live in a small town with lots of back roads and very little traffic.
Long run on the road with Jaime and Peter
In addition to running, my husband and I are both avid cross-country skiers, and the combination of the super cold weather and the endless supply of fresh snow has made this the best year for skiing that we’ve ever had! Skiing is a great cross-training activity, so I will often ski on my recovery days or on a day when I just don’t feel like running (it happens to the best of us! ). On weeks that I have low running mileage it’s typically because I have high skiing mileage instead.
Above all, winter for me is about taking it easy, scaling back my mileage and enjoying a slower pace. On weekdays I usually run no more than 5 miles a day–this allows me to get my run in before it gets dark and to spend less time in the frequently harsh winter conditions.
It’s been unseasonably cold this February, and below zero wind chills have been the norm.
I value winter as a time to relax before the full-tilt days of spring arrive, and I try to take the cold and snow and ice in stride and make the most of this season in spite of it’s discomforts. After all, a quick run in sub-zero temps makes curling up by the fire with a good book that much more satisfying. So if you think of me on a particularly nasty day and wonder if I’m out running in that weather, the short answer is, likely, yes.