Ahh….the joy of winter is coming. What now? The age old debate Treadmill or outdoor. Both work and it becomes a matter of preference.
First and foremost, you need to understand that no matter how you roll it up, running in Canada during the winter is not the same as running in Canada in July. Trying to keep up the PB pace you managed last summer will not work. There are some brief occasions where you will be able to open up and see some glimpses of that person…but the reality is winter running is slower.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This period is a perfect opportunity to build a really great base for the upcoming year. If you were thinking about making the jump from 5K – 10K, or jumping from a 10K to a Half marathon…this is the time. There is plenty of time when the snow melts to start working on your speed again. Take the time to slow down and enjoy the run with friends or a quiet jog clearing your mind.
Clothing – Contrary to belief, you do not need layers and layers of clothing to run in the winter. Normal light layering with about one layer for every 5 degree drop is more the adequate. You also want to wear your “wicking” clothes if possible. I have ran in temperatures below -25 and was perfectly comfortable using this guidelines. Remember though, you do sweat and once you stop running you will cool off quickly. Make sure you stop your run close to a place you can get out of the elements quickly.
Shoes – This is up to you. I always wear normal shoes, no special studding or grips on the bottom. Some people prefer buying a pair of trail running shoes, some like the Yak Trax you pull on over your shoe. It’s important to remember that whatever you choose…you will be running through all conditions. Snow, Slush, Salt, etc,. Your feet could get damp…and your shoes will take a beating. It’s somewhat normal to need to replace your shoes after winter.
Safety – Consider this your top concern. Daylight is short and no matter what, you will find yourself running in dim or dark conditions. Wear bright, reflective clothing and consider purchasing a head light that you can clip onto a hat or belt. Do not take chances; do not assume cars can see you…or that they can stop in time if they do see. Be careful when running on the road and even more careful when running on the sidewalk. Many times the sidewalks are in worst shape then the roads and are not maintained.
Liquids – If you’re running over an hour, you’re still going to need liquids and nutrition. Remember, these feeze! Consider loops close to your house where you can refill or exchange bottles if needed.
Vaseline – If its colder then -10, little dabs on your checks or lips prevent the cooler dry air from drying them out and helps prevent wind burn.
Emergency Plan – I spoke about the importance of this before, even more so in the winter. If you are by yourself…make sure someone knows where you are and when you expect to be back.
Over and out