Winter Running Survival Guide

The West Coast is not known for its winter weather. A large draw to living here is being able to comfortably run outside year round. Recently, the weather has been unpredictable and much more winter-y than we are accustomed to. It is cold, it is slippery and there is snow on the ground, not the usual conditions around here. I mentioned in a post earlier this week that this winter weather already caused 2 races to be cancelled last weekend! We are not prepared for snow at all. It caused the city to pretty much shut down last night, cars were abandoned on the side of the road, businesses were closed, buses were stuck midway up hills, it was chaos over a few cm of snow. 

Inspite of these obstacles, I still managed to leave work early and get my Wednesday run in. Wednesdays are normally group workout nights, but due to the poor weather and condition of the roads, it was cancelled.  I am not one to miss a run and fortunately neither are my training partners, so here are my tips for training in inclement weather. 

1) Find a crew as crazy as you: I mean crazy in a good way, because when we went out running Wednesday night in snow up to our calves, there was no one else running.  It would not have been anywhere near as enjoyable to have gone out for 75 minutes solo in that white-out!

2) Dress well: There is definitely a sweet spot with finding the right number of layers. I always take one layer off before I head out and I have never been too cold on a run. I really wanted to keep my extra coat on over my run for cold pullover, but I decided to take it off. I would have been way overheated had I kept the extra coat!

3) Don’t stress over the pace: You can’t expect to run your regular pace in snow up to your calves. Even if there isn’t deep snow, ice is hazardous and even more difficult to run on. So slow it down, sit back and enjoy it, you’re still running! 

4) Stop and take pictures: It doesn’t normally snow like this here, so naturally you want to document it when it does. Snow makes a great background for running pictures, which we definitely proved last night. Admittedly there were a couple photo breaks, though I also did some “wildlife photographer shots” meaning I chase my teammates and do my best to take non-blurry action shots. 

5) Take in the beauty: After not having winter for 3 years since moving out here, I forgot how beautiful snow covered trees and scenery are. We were running on a trail that starts in a residential area and the lights were partially dimmed creating what one of my training partners referred to as “narnia like”. It definitely felt magical to be out there. 

The majority of our snow has already been washed away by rain or turned into sludge making for ice cold feet. It was fun for a day though! 

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