Thursday, December 07, 2006

Running on Ice

Well, we came home from North Carolina to wind chills below zero and snow and ice. Although I love running on treadmills in the winter, I really need to get my butt outside and run to prepare for the Antarctica Marathon in February. The course could have anything from ankle deep mud to snow ice and sleet. It is unusual, but I have perfect training grounds for this race.

I am using Nike Air Pegasus Clima-Fit shoes as they offer a more durable sole for traction and have water resistant properties which help keep my feet warm and dry. I also use a product called Yak Trax which easily slip on my shoes and provide more traction in the snow and ice. If you run in the snow and ice, these tools make a big difference in safety.

Some things I've found to be helpful when training through the winter are...

-If it is cold and challenging terrain, take it easy and run slower. The conditions are not suitable for setting personal records or getting in that speed workout. I always run my speed on a treadmill when it drops below 35 degrees. It is less risky in injuring something and provides a better quality workout too.

-I shorten my stride and keep my feet lower to the ground to prevent slipping and falling.

-I wear reflective clothing, flashing lights and a headlamp in the dark to make sure I am visible and can see where I am headed.

-I keep my body relaxed when running on ice and snow as my natural tendency is to tighten up. This can cause your hips and inner and outer thighs to be sore and become tight post run. Plus, if I am tight running over that stuff, I am a higher risk for falling.

-I always take a hot shower before a long run and use a foam roller to warm and loosen my muscles before heading out in the cold. In temperatures colder than 30, I wear a pair of tights as a first layer and windproof shell pants over them to keep my legs warm. Keeping your legs warm will reduce the risk of injury by keeping the legs warm.

These tips have kept me running through the cold Chicago Winters safely and successfully. Even when I would rather be in watching Ellen on a treadmill.

Run Safely...

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

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