Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day friends!
I don’t know about you guys but we have been hit with a most wonderful heat wave the past few days. Saturday was 40+ degrees out and I was loving it. I went for a nice slow eight mile run and I swear it felt like spring. Funny how a week of chilly temperatures and hibernating indoors will make 40ºF feel like 60ºF. You certainly appreciate those warmer days and fortunately they are sticking around for awhile.
During those previous colder days I was hanging out on the treadmill, so it was nice to be back outside, even with all of the slush and snow to contend with. This was a great reminder of a few precautions we should all take during the winter months.
Out with pace, in with safety: When the snow hits the ground it is important to sacrifice your pace for safety. Stop looking at your GPS and just go with the flow. Running on snow or ice will undoubtedly affect your pace but it is far more important to be safe than fast. Pay attention to where you are running and watch your footfalls. Be aware of what surfaces you are running on and if you see ice, go ahead and allow yourself to walk around it. It would be much better to finish a slow run than to end up seriously hurting yourself.
Running on snow and ice also forces you to change your gait. You will most likely not be running with perfect form. So slowing down allows you to run more easily and not forsake your form too much.
Fall like a skater: As you may know, I have been coaching skating for 18 years and one thing I have taught a lot is how to fall (or hopefully not fall) safely. One thing we adults tend to do when we are about to fall is stiffen up and fall straight backwards. This is extremely dangerous and could lead to a head injury. The first thing I teach anyone during their first skating lesson is: If you think or feel like you are going to fall grab your knees. This one simple trick can help brace yourself, avoid a fall, and protect your head as well as wrists (the next place you are likely to injure). By leaning forward to grab your knees you will likely avoid falling altogether.
Be a defensive runner: Now, I didn’t say “offensive” so don’t start snot rocketing without looking. But one thing I learned in driver’s education was to be a defensive driver to avoid accidents. The same holds true to running and especially with other drivers. For some reason when the snow comes out drivers seem to think that runners hide inside. They suddenly stop looking at intersections and alleys. Always assume they aren’t looking. Assume they aren’t going to stop. I understand that you have the right of way at times. But it is better to be safe than sorry.
Always play safe: As usual you should always practice runner’s safety. Bring your phone and a form of identification. Let someone know where you are going and how long they should expect you to be gone. Choose a safe route and dress properly for the weather.
Happy safe running!