Saturday, December 11, 2010

Running in a Winter Wonderland

There's something about running in fresh snow that really appeals to me. Everything looks so fresh and clean after a snowfall. My city looks like something out of a Christmas card. Even though I've lived in a cold climate for almost 20 years, I still love fresh snow. When I see snow falling I can't wait to go out running in it. The snow puts me in a happy mood, which makes the run that much more fun.

Fresh snow is easier to run in than snow that has been around for a time, especially if the old snow has melted and refrozen. My quads and glutes get a good workout from having to lift my legs higher. The nice thing about fresh snow is that I don't need to put my ice spikes on my shoes. When I run in snow, I plan on being about 10 to 15 percent slower than usual to account for lifting my legs more and the snow being a little slippery. In the winter I run for time rather than for distance.

Yesterday morning it was snowing heavily. In fact, it snowed pretty heavily all day. I put on my winter running jacket, hat, gloves, and warm tights, then headed out the door. There were a few people out walking; but nobody else was crazy enough to run. There were a few slippery spots, but overall the snow was light and fluffy. I was ankle deep in powder. A 5 km run that would have taken 26 minutes or less took almost 28. But I enjoyed the feeling of cold air and snowflakes on my face, so I didn't care about being slow. The only thing that spoiled the run was that toward the end the snowplow came and took the snow off the trail. When that happens, the trail is icy and very slippery. Fortunately, I only had to deal with a short stretch where there was ice.

I may need my ice spikes for my long run tomorrow because it rained today and it's supposed to be below freezing tonight. That means the snow will be refrozen and icy. It will be slow going, even with the spikes. But the cool winter air will be invigorating and give me energy on my long run. Maybe I'll get lucky and it will snow again tonight so I can run in fresh snow.

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