Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Sub zero running

Our back garden following last nights' snowfall

Regular readers might remember that I ran every day over the 12 day Christmas holiday but the weather then was mild.  Now we have snow and a couple of days ago I was out for a really good long run - and it was freezing, quite literally.  It is very easy to be put off by the bad weather, so here's a few thoughts which might be of some encouragement:

Keeping a nice steady temperature is easier for runners than cyclists - what to wear.
When I set off for my sub-zero run, I was wearing my tracksters, gloves and a woolly had.  I also had my brilliant Craft base layer and my Montane Featherlite Marathon jacket.  At first it was very cold, I was running into a bitterly cold breeze.  Yet by the time I had completed 1 or 2 miles, I was warm and stayed at a steady temperature through the 2 hours I was running for.  With cycling you just seem to go from one extreme to another: one minute you're huffing and puffing up a steep hill and then freezing cold blasting down the other side at 30-40mph and getting seriously chilled.  Using a layering approach is ideal when it comes to clothing, this is ideal for the synthetic technical clothing which is so light and good at wicking away any sweat. 

Be careful
Extra care is taken to avoid falling, tripping or slipping over: that is an injury just waiting to happen.  Just over a year ago I fell over on some frozen ground and hurt my left hand (crushed it sideways on under my chest as I fell) and it's still not completely better; nerve damage takes so long to heal.

Running through snow is fun and I love it but you can't see what is underneath the snow.

More on clothing
I wore my brilliant Craft base layer and will do a review on this another time.  You need gloves, a hat because it is suprising to many how sweaty you can get around the back of your head which can lead to a chill and stiff muscles.

When it is sub zero I stop wearing shorts and go for tracksters instead.  I feel my muscles otherwise just would never get sufficiently warm enough.

Be aware of the weather and any forecast changes
Last Saturday I knew snow was forecast for early evening and I was cutting it fine by returning at dusk after having been out for my long run for two hours.  I was okay and there were no real signs of snow.  The weather could have changed for the worse and I would have needed a short cut back home. 

Extra grip
I bought a pair of Yaktrax for my wife at Christmas.  They are like snow chains for shoes or boots.  She has now tried them (after the kids had the first go) and declared them a success.  Worth considering for running on frozen, slippery surfaces or snowy conditions.

One last thing
Take a mobile phone, switched on with a well charged battery.

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