Here in the Great White North, runners in Alberta, Canada, have endured the second greatest snowfall ever recorded for the month of November. Yet training still continues albeit at a modified pace and at times alternate places. Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts for training in a winter wonderland.
- Do dress properly for the weather (see Mark’s excellent and hilarious video on dressing for an Alberta winter).
- Do get proper footwear (aggressive tread) or anti slip devices for your shoes.
- Do start into the wind and finish the run with the wind at your back.
- Do use petroleum jelly on your eyelashes to prevent your eyes from freezing shut.
- Do continue to hydrate as needed during your run.
- Do some cross training or weight training.
- Do change any racing plans that might be adversely affected by the weather. For example, a number of runners have cancelled plans to race marathons since their long runs and quality runs were essentially impossible to do. They simply picked another marathon at a later date.
- Do take money with you for cab or bus fare, just in case! Also you should have some form of ID with you if you are running alone.
- Do not assume you can run at the same pace as in regular weather, you can’t, at least not without a lot of extra effort.
- Do not run the same distance as you would normally (muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints do not like uneven surfaces and overuse injuries occur if you run too far), so run for time not distance.
- Do not train on a treadmill without at least a 1-2% grade. The belt kicks your leg backwards which can cause a hyper extension injury in your lower back. A slight incline forces you to lean forward slightly, protecting your lower back.
- Do not run on frozen rivers, creeks or lakes for obvious safety reasons, unless you are absolutely certain it is safe to do so.
- Do not get depressed about the conditions, eventually they will get better, and this change may actually give your body a bit of a break or allow you to do some of that cross training that you have been neglecting!
Hopefully these simple tips will help to make your winter running experience safe, sane and fun!