Posted by: runsinthefamily | January 7, 2010

Outside again…

I ran outside with the high school kids again – it was actually a little warmer today, 28°, wow, a heat wave!  And snowing again.  I was hoping to get in at least 4 miles, but I think it ended up being around 3 ½.  We ran through some deep, crunchy snow – it was only 23° yesterday, but weirdly enough, it was sort of raining, and it iced the top of everything.  We ran for about 33 minutes, then went to the front lawn of the school and did sprints in the snow.  I usually don’t like to sprint with the kids – I’m terrified of pulling a muscle, and actually did once – but this was fun.  I felt like a bounding deer, or rabbit – we had to really lift our knees high to get through the snow.  The fun lasted until one of the girls and I realized our ankles were getting cuts on them from the crusty snow!  Definitely should have worn higher socks today.  😦 

Since we are under a winter storm warning for tomorrow, ( and my kids are really hoping for a snow day), here are some winter running tips I put together for the newsletter for our xc team.  I hope you find something useful for this cold weather everyone is having!

1. Dress for the weather!  If it’s windy, make sure to have some sort of wind breaker or windproof jacket on top of your sweatshirt or long-sleeved shirt.  The winter wind can go right through you, and even though you will warm up as you run, the dreaded wind chill can really make your run miserable.  Make sure your ears and/or head are also covered—we don’t want you to lose anything to frostbite!  And wear gloves or mittens—mittens will keep your hands a bit warmer, so it might be worth investing in some nice running ones that you can wash—it’s amazing how sweaty hands can get as you warm up.

2. Always start off your runs heading into the wind.  Come back with the wind at your back. 

3. For those incredibly cold and windy, bad wind chill days:  you can still run outside.  It’s not fun, but I did it in college, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which I think was second only to Chicago as a windy city.  We ran in wind chills of 20 and 30 below, because we didn’t want to run our long runs on the little bitty indoor track.  We put Vaseline on our faces, especially on our cheeks, to keep from getting frostbite.  It worked.  We ran in packs, and took turns leading, so one of us was always breaking the wind for the others.  We would check everyone’s faces every so often, watching for signs of frostbite—red cheeks were a good sign, an area of white in the middle was a bad sign.  And once we finished, we got inside quickly to warm up and drank lots of water.  We didn’t feel like drinking, but the wind really dehydrates you as much as the summer sun, and drinking a lot of water  would help us recover faster.

4. Shoes—there are now winter running shoes in the stores—with the uppers ( the fabric-ish part) made of Gortex, a fabric that is water-resistant.  I have found that they really make my feet sweat a lot on days that aren’t so windy/cold though.  I think a better way to go is to just wear better/warmer socks instead.  There are even wool socks for runners—the Smartwool brand—that work really well all year-round, but especially in the winter.  And make sure the shoes you wear have good traction for icy spots—I have a pair that I absolutely love, but they are too smooth on the sole for icy ( or even rainy) weather!  Some runners use Yaktrax or put screws in their shoes for traction on icy/snowy surfaces.  Yaktrax are found at Second Sole, or online, and there is a post below about how to put the screws in your shoes if you want to try that instead.



  1. I am so glad I found your blog. I was hoping to find out where you are located and if you are ever interested in doing some long runs with me as I get up there in the mileage while training for the Cleveland Marathon. I do my long runs on Sundays. As of right now, I am doing my running on the treadmill and cross-training on the elliptical. Yes, they can be boring but they are in my basement and there is a TV mounted to the wall so I am usually able to find something on TV that helps passes the time. I am also going to put a DVD player on the TV as my husband likes to collect movies and I am sure I could find one to get me through the longer runs. Of course I prefer to run outside but I am trying to be safe as last year I got injured running on the ice and was out for 2 weeks (one week being on crutches). I also have two kids (7 and 4) and my husband works long hours so sometimes the treadmill/ellipitcal is my only choice. When it is warmer out (less icy) I do run right after work and they are able to stay at their school’s aftercare program. Any advice is welcome as this is my first marathon attempt. I have completed 3 half marathons at this point.

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