Tell people you are going running in a snowstorm and they might think you’re crazy.
“You could get hit by a car sliding out of control, or run over by a plow!” “You could slip and hit your head or break an ankle, and you’ll be lying there unconscious and we’ll never find you!” “The wind will be so strong! You won’t be able to see … you could get hypothermia!” “A powerline could fall and you!”
Yeah, I’ve heard all that from my mom.
And I’ll admit have had a few falls on ice, and I had a “stranger danger” scare when a guy ran up behind me (to scare me or grab me, I’ll never know – I turned around ready to punch and he ran away), but it will never scare me from my snow day runs. Rather than make sure I get to the gym before foul weather forces a closure, I plan a run outside when snow’s in the forecast.
Why? Picture this: when the weather turns white and the rest of the region turns tail to their baking and couch potato-ing, there’s magical little snow-y fairyland left to the brave who dare lace up their sneakers. The snow insulates the outdoor noise of a city, and in a country setting you can practically hear the snowflakes land on the drifts along the road. It’s a time to embrace your inner “puppy in the snow/kid with a snow day” attitude and take it all in.
So in order to reap all the happy snow run benefits, here are some tips to minimize any type of risk you may be inviting by experiencing your own personal winter wonderland.
1) Make sure there is good visibility. Today during Storm Stella I ran before the crazy blizzard conditions.
2) “Shades on a cloudy day?” Oh yes, my Hollywood tendencies are useful for keeping snowflakes out of your eyes so there’s no need to squint, which keeps your eyes wide open and alert for skidding cars or sketchy passer-bys. Ditto for the baseball cap instead of a beanie.
3) Bring your phone but don’t play the music too loud. You need to hear footsteps behind you and traffic around you.
4) Stick to a route you know, and make it short-ish. You don’t want your phone to die in the cold. Neighborhood streets are best: not too rural in case you need help, not too much traffic.
5) Layers are your friend! I always wear a compression layer, followed by a hoodie and a light shell. On my legs I do leggings and my regular socks and sneakers (though there are snow-running accessories you can add to your feet).
6) Tread carefully! You don’t know what’s under the snow snow, and it can be slippery. Take light, even footsteps and keep a balanced stride. If you must run off the sidewalk, run against the traffic so you can see what’s coming.
7) HAVE FUN! Embrace your inner “puppy in the snow/kid with a snow day” attitude and take it all in. It will help you enjoy winter more, get you the Vitamin D and fresh air you need to keep your mood happy, AND gets your metabolism moving to even out the time on the couch.
Let me add to this, that for me to be a proponent of snow-runs is kind of a big deal, because anyone who knows me well knows I’m a summer-all-year kinda gal who hates being cold. But this is a great way to make the most of the winter, since living in New England means winter isn’t going anywhere. You have to find happiness and have fun where you are, no matter how you feel about the season (choosing to be miserable is not the way, trust me. I’ve had my share of crying while shoveling). So get out there and get some happiness-inducing Vitamin D and fresh air, plus get your metabolism moving to even out the time on the couch (or the “I’m so bored I’m going to bake” cookie).