Sunday, 20 January 2013

Running in the snow

There was something special about this afternoon's run.  Right now we have snow.  It seems really cold with daytime temperatures only reaching -2C degrees, nothing compared to some I know.

On one level you could talk about the deep bleak mid winter, looking very lifeless, drab and dull.  You could reflect on the short hours of daylight, the post-Christmas blues and the credit card bills.

On the other hand we could talk about the wonders of running during the winter time, here in the home counties.  We can appreciate the beauty in the different seasons and God's many blessings.  We can marvel at creation around us in all its forms.  I digress.  Today was the day for a good run.  Through the busyness of the working week, this was the first opportunity I'd had to have a run all week and wow, I did need this run.  On Tuesday evening I was in London, later into the evening at the Academy for Justice Commissioning and had one thought on the matter in hand and the other was yearning for my running shoes and a few miles running.   Even Rachel at home had observed that I was a bit twitchy and commented " need a run, don't you?".  Yes, she was right, I was a bit restless and just needed to go.

Like so many good runs, it starts with some hesitation: it's too cold / hot / wet / dry / windy / still / light / dark or any other excuses.  But as soon as I get going it seems to fall into place and today was no exception.

Just as a brief aside, if ever I go more than a few days without running I get this irrational fear that all of my fitness and stamina will have wasted away.  Naturally this doesn't happen but there is an inevitability that I won't be quite at my peak.

Once I'd got out into the countryside the atmosphere changed and I became more aware of my surroundings.  The air was incredibly clean and fresh to breath in; sounds seem to carry themselves further through the air and I could hear my feet crunching their way over the snow.  A nice experience altogether and because there was a certain novelty value to it, I didn't find myself deep in thought like I often do while running.  Instead I was enjoying my surroundings but not the bits where I could feel myself sliding around.

Sliding around was the only negative aspect of the run; I didn't mind the cold or the lack of speed.  The problem was not in running straight up or down a hill but instead running along the edge of a slope.  That was hard in trying to keep balanced and the result was my muscles pulling themselves together, giving me a tense feeling all over my body.  Not good.  Relax, loosen up a little.  That's better.

A good run, just what the Doctor ordered.  Running in the snow is as different or as regular as you choose to make it.  Apart from wrapping up a little more if the weather is seriously cold, it is little different to normal running.

Now, the technical stuff

Aside from all my lofty comments about the wonders of a snowy landscape and clear air, the reality is any runner is far more likely to slip, fall, tumble, come a cropper and so on.  Normal running shoes just aren't designed for running over snow or ice.

If you Google something like "shoes for running in the snow" there's not much there.  Clip-on snow chains have their uses, like Yaktrax, but I spotted these ICESPIKES on Amazon which look pretty good and worth a try.

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