What was looking like the perfect Christmas in Vermont took a nasty turn for the worse this weekend. The temperature rose and all the nice fluffy snow started to melt. Since Friday we’ve been getting freezing rain… just perfect. My driveway is officially a bumpy ice skating rink.
I wrote a winter running guide, but how do you run outside when everything has a ½ inch sheet of ice covering it?
There are plenty of ways to make your running shoes more suitable for icy conditions – Yaktrax, Microspikes, and Bugrip to name a few. Some people will even drill screws into the bottom of their shoes.
I’ve got a pair of Yaktrax that I use in icy conditions. It’s a rubber device that stretches around the bottom of your shoe with steel coils and provides a much better grip than normal shoes do. It comes in plenty of different sizes to fit everyone.
I started out pretty cautious, but soon realized the Yaktrax were doing a fine job and could run at my normal pace. The ones I have mainly have the metal bits towards the middle of the shoe. Since I’m mostly a heel striker I tried to land more on my midfoot (especially on the downhills) to try and get the best traction possible. This made me feel a little awkward, though. It could have been fine without me doing this, but I wasn’t going to take a chance! To anyone that saw me running the past few days, I don’t always look so strange!
2. Pick the safest route
The roads were pretty deserted today, as winter travel was highly discouraged due to the weather. This made it possible for me to run more in the middle of the road where there was less ice. The shoulders, at times, were pretty coated.
When doing this you have to be very cautious and aware of any oncoming traffic. If there is a blind corner or blind hill coming up then you should be on the shoulder. Plus, if it’s windy out this can make it hard to hear any oncoming traffic. I felt comfortable doing this today since there were hardly any cars and it was not particularly windy.
3. Avoid Dirt Roads
This might not apply to many people, but my town has plenty of dirt roads that are great for running. There is less pounding and less traffic, which makes it a runner’s paradise.
However, this is not so true in the winter. Any snow that comes down packs onto the dirt more easily than it does to pavement. The layers keep building up and building up until it gets pretty icy. Add some freezing rain and you’ve got a disaster waiting to happen.
4. Warm Stove
My shoes and clothes were thoroughly soaked after my run yesterday. Luckily, I have a wood stove to dry them out and make them nice and toasty for my run the next day. A heater will work fine as well, though.
Here are some photos from the trails in back of my house. Photo credits to my mom!
Does anyone else run when it’s icy out? What are your tricks for dealing with it?