This Article is About
marathon runner
cold weather
snow on the ground
good shape
matter of fact
treadmills
Running Outside In The Cold Winter
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Running Outside In the Cold Winter

I like the crisp cold air in the winter. Some people do not like the thought of breathing very cold air into the lungs. I have, as a matter of fact, never had any problems with that, not even in -16°C as I sometimes have run in. I just take good care to cover as much of my skin as I possibly can. Zip the jacket all the way up, wear an elephant hat and gloves. Sometimes an extra scarf. A thin woolen sweater under the jacket. And two pairs of pants. That does it.

Living in a country with a long winter every year makes it impossible to stay inside when it is cold and at the same time maintain the good shape, a marathon runner needs to be in, to be able to call himself a marathon runner. At least if you can't stand treadmills as I do.

I live in Iceland. Of course I could try to use the cold weather as an excuse to stay inside. I know some people do. And I guess it is quite understandable if you live in California or Italy if you do not see any reason to run when the temperature is below the freezing point. Or if you come from a climate where the temperatures rarely go under 20°C, then I guess it must be quite uncomfortable to be out there in -2°C.

When it is very cold outside, the weather is usually still and not snowy. The worst conditions I can think of are when there has been frost rain. When the earth is frozen and it rains. Which means the raindrops turn into ice when they reach the earth. Then everything gets covered in thin layer of ice. Which is almost impossible to run in. I also find it difficult to tackle very wet snow. When the snow on the ground is melting rapidly which means it is very wet and splashes everywhere. It is possible to run in it, but no fun at all. In fact it can be extremely irritating because you get your feet wet in seconds.

It can also be quite pleasant to run in the snow. Hard packed snow that isn't too slippery is great surface to run on. And when there is snow on the ground everything looks very clear and clean.

The most dangerous thing though is the ice. The slippery spots you can't see because they are covered with snow. If you step out on one of those it is very likely that you are going to fall. Hard. I was once in great hurry downhill. There was a bend on the road and I wasn't aware of the slippery spot that hid down there, under the snow. I think my feet flew higher than my head. And I got a very clear and big blue spot on my hip. Luckily I didn't break anything. But it hurt! And I was startled. I could continue on my route, but I assure you I am very careful when I run past that spot ever since. Even if it is in the middle of the summer in bright sunshine.

It is easier if the ice is on the surface and you can see it. Then it is easier to avoid the icy spots. And there are different kind of shoes one can get that are quite suitable for running during winter time. Just as there are different kinds of tires for cars. You don't have to have nails in the tires to be able to drive on snow or ice. And it is possible to get shoes that are in fact pretty good on ice. Not slippery at all. If the ice isn't too uneven or wet it is possible to run just as one would to on a firm surface like asphalt.

There are other things that can bother a runner during the winter in Iceland. It gets terribly dark. For at least two months it is already dark when you go home from work, and of course it is dark when you to to work. If you don't have the opportunity to run in the lunch hour, then you can forget all about running in daylight.

Reflective bands and vests are as important as the shoes in the dark winter. If the light is changing and maybe a little rain in the air, it can be almost impossible for the drivers of the cars to see a runner in black clothes. And somehow running clothes seem to be black. It is possible to get all kinds of bands, vests and those reflective danglers you just can put in your pocket during daylight and then let hang down on your side when it is dark. Everything helps. I find the vest easiest and best.


Street Talk

Steve37  

I remember running on those cold days myself when I lived up north...living in Florida now...so I don't have to deal too much with the cold but the heat is another story....but you adapt...

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Great article, I love running in the winter and the air is much cleaner here. I also sweat less, go figure, Thank you

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Sweating in the cold is a problem, you freeze easily when you slow down or stop

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Living in a country such as I do, with mainly fun in the sun, our cold compared to yours, insignificant.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Sometimes I wish my country was warmer

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I used to run frequently in the in the snow, it was more of a workout but I loved it..so peaceful & quiet...but for me, I needed to warm up a bit inside with jumping jacks and push-ups..then my lungs were ok when I hit the cold.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I start slowly outside

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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