I have gotten a few questions over the past couple weeks on running in the snow and ice. As you all know I live in Erie, PA where we have snow on the ground almost every single day of winter.
If it isn’t snowing it is VERY cold. VERY VERY cold. The weather man will call for 10-15 degrees for a high which really means right around 0 with the crazy wind we get off the lake.
I know some of my blog friends are super troopers and will be out no matter the temperature, wind, or snow. I on the other hand play it pretty safe when it comes to running this time of year.
During a normal winter I would incorporate running off and on outside as the weather allowed. Since I am on the mend from my injury this winter I am playing it a little safer.
Here are a few things I look for when I am determining if I can run outside:
1. How bad is the ice.
2. What kind of run am I looking to do.
3. How much wind are we having.
These are the three main things that impact where I train. They each have their own reasoning behind it. I will remind you this is completely my opinion and some people can tackle all 3.
1. Ice is the worst. Especially when there is a nice solid layer UNDER the snow that you can’t see. I find it very hard to relax and enjoy my run when I am constantly having to focus on where I am stepping. If the roads haven’t been cleared enough to where I can see pretty easily where the ice is then most likely I will choose to run on the treadmill.
2. The only time I will consider running out in the snow is when I am doing an EASY run. This means that I really have no care in the world what my pace is. It is so much harder for me to keep a quicker pace when I have to constantly look at what I am doing and what I am stepping on. It makes it almost impossible. The fact that I am incredibly clumsy doesn’t help me in this department either. If I have a workout to do (which hasn’t happened in a while) I will always use the treadmill.
3. Wind is a big factor where I live. It is common to have 5-10 mph every day and on days during the winter we often see 20-30 mph winds. With the crazy cold and snow, wind just makes it that much harder. You can call me a wimp all you want, but if I have 20-30 mph winds I am high tailing it to the gym in the morning. It’s just isn’t worth the miserable sub zero temperatures blowing in my face.
There you have it! My extremely scientific views on running in the snow and ice. In the end I always play on the side of caution because I am very clumsy and it is not worth falling and hurting something. A great example of this is just what happened to my husband. In this case he was not running, but a fall on ice can really impact your running and hurt your body!
Do you run in the snow and ice?
What do you use to determine if it is safe for you to run?
Very timely … I posted today when it was -9F with wind chill below -20F this morning when I ran, saying that just because I CAN and DO run in this – doesn’t mean I like it! 🙂
My criteria are pretty similar:
– Ice – this is the one thing that sends me home. I will check my driveway and head out on the street and if I am feeling significant slipping mid-way down my street that is when I call it. I saw a post from last year on TimeHop about how I managed 2.5 miles in ice last year – that was stupid, even for me!
– Workout – snow, wind and sub-zero means ‘standard run’. I do my defined 6.75 miles, meaning I don’t have to think and know every inch.
– Winds – we are in a valley flat area, and get considerably windswept, so I totally relate to what you are saying. Monday this week was the windiest with 30+MPH winds, whereas the last couple of days have been 10-15MPH. The problem with high winds is they tend to be variable, meaning it is hard to dress right and makes tech materials even more important.
But I think that the key thing is – these temperatures can be DANGEROUS. Things can turn nasty very fast, cars can’t always see due to snow glare or whiteouts, and in general if you have a different workout choice … maybe you should use it!
Completely agree! You always amaze me with how you can run in just about anything!!
My cut off temp is 9degrees. Although I have to say, I’ve wimping out more often this winter and opting for the treadmill. I am so over the winter, I can only imagine what it’s like for you!!
I feel like this winter is so much worse than others – pretty much for everyone! we haven’t gotten that much more snow than any other winter but the cold and wind is BRUTAL!
I hate running outside in the snow for the exact reasons you posted, windchill, ice, and more windchill. I don’t know why put I signed up to do a half marathon in a few weeks… I’ve gotten all the stuff to run outside with, but I have only done one run outside and that was when I signed up for a winter race a few weeks ago. I seriously doubted why I would sign up for more races!
Good luck on your race! I have never done a winter race, but more power to you 🙂 I would love to race right now but not quite ready for that!
I’ve run in the snow and ice since the 80s, it was just what people did where I grew up. Gyms weren’t big in my town then. I have to say the invention of ice spikes has made it so much better! I’ve run in -20 when I lived in AK but these days that’s just too cold for me. I just hate the treadmill so much. I will cross train rather than run on it. Weirdly, I don’t get any sort of motion sickness, even in big seas on the ocean, but after getting off a treadmill I often feel sick.
-20!? Wow you are my hero!