Anna Maria Locke

winter running: tips and motivation (part 2)

After months of drought and flirting with balmy temperatures, winter has finally arrived in Chicago with a nice layer of snow and ice.
Despite the weather, I've finally started to get outside and run a little bit (read: about once a week) after two months of laziness and indoor workouts.
If you like to run outside when it's warm but turn to the dreaded treadmill or just quit altogether when the temperature drops below freezing, I'd like to try to convince you that winter running is NOT as horrifyingly terrible as it sounds! I'm only a casual jogger myself these days, but I actually prefer running in the cold since direct sun and temperatures above 65*F zap me, thanks to my northern European genes.
To motivate both you and myself, I've compiled a list of 10 winter running tips!** These specifically apply to running on sidewalks or roadsides when there's snow on the ground and the temperature is below freezing. I hope the list inspires you to pile on the layers and get your butt out the door for some Vitamin D.
Above all, be careful!

1. There is NO SUCH THING as "too cold to run" so you can lose that excuse right here and now. Just put on more layers and you'll be fine. However, there is definitely such thing as "too dangerous to run", so watch the conditions and don't be stupid.
2. Re-set your expectations. If there's snow and ice on the ground, you're not going to be able to maintain your usual pace or run as far as you want, so enjoy the opportunity to slow down!
3. Always wear sunglasses and SPF on your face. Snow is reflective!
4. Wear two layers of socks (or wool hiking socks). Running shoes seem to be made for summer, covered in breathable mesh panels, and you'll find that your feet may be the coldest part of your body! Numb toes are not fun.
5. Warm up inside. Put on all your layers and do 5 minutes of jumping jacks, lunges, burpees, jog in place, etc. until you feel your body heating up. This is essential to not wimping out the moment you step out into the cold!
6. Remember: Snow is a safer surface than ice. If you see a suspicious patch on the sidewalk that may be slick, move to snow covered grass until you pass it.
7. Pick up the pace on patches of obviously dry and clear sidewalk. This will give you some interval work to burn more calories and zap boredom.

8. Master the snot rocket. Gross? Oh yeah. Necessary? Only if you want to breathe. Tip: NEVER face into the wind.

9. Try to run without the distraction of your iPod. Cars aren't going to be looking out for runners especially if it's dark out, so make sure you're aware of your surroundings at all times. If a car lets you pass when they're stopped at a stop sign, give them a friendly wave and remember that everyone who sees you is massively jealous of your motivation!
10. Re-fuel with hot chocolate. If chocolate milk is the ideal recovery drink, I'm willing to extrapolate this finding to cocoa! Reward yourself after your effort, and enjoy a hot shower too. Also, don't forget to drink plenty of water. You might not be drenched in sweat, but your body is still losing fluids.
Do you have any tips to add to the list?
Good luck and happy workout :)
**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or fitness professional. These are my persional opinions only.