The other day I was driving down a busy four lane road with Rock and he shouted, “Look out!” I was carefully watching the cars in front of me and for the life of me couldn’t tell what he was talking about. “Runner,” he shouted. Right there in the road was a guy running against traffic in a white jacket. I couldn’t see him and I am the first to slow down and move over for any runner.
I am always happy to see other people out enjoying the activity I love the most. But there were several offenses being committed and I felt this was a perfect time to discuss running safely for the winter.
Pick a safe spot. The area where this gentleman was running is a local favorite. There are sidewalks galore heading into the downtown area. But we have received an unprecedented amount of snow very early into this winter (as in 30 inches and counting). The sidewalks have not been plowed yet in this particular area. While this is the main drag, there are SO many side streets that are far less traveled and much safer to run on. It might mean making a bit of a detour, but when the safety of your life is involved, changing up your route is a must.
Had this gentleman just moved over one street, he could have reached the same destination and run in the road without putting his life in jeopardy.
Make light a Christmas tree and go bright. Wear the brightest colors you have. Throw on a vibrant running vest. Deck yourself with lights. Fa la la la!
When you wear neutral colors in the winter, you blend into the snow. Even worse, the sun reflecting on the snow is blinding for drivers. Don’t assume that people will see you. Make it your business to be seen. Wear a bright jacket. Pick out a running vest that has reflectors. Running stores have all sorts of great lights that clip to shoes, jackets, gloves and hats.
Stay warm. When the temps get frigid we can put ourselves in very dangerous situations. My best rule to run by is to ensure that your head, hands, and feet are nice and toasty. Find a nice comfortable hat that covers your ears. Pick out a pair of cozy running mittens. While gloves are great, having your fingers together helps keep your hands much warmer. Find a pair of winter sweat wicking socks. I am a huge fan of Smart Wool. They make great socks for all sorts of winter athletes.
Keep in mind that running tights actually keep you warmer than running pants. The material is meant to make your cold runs more comfortable and streamlined. I know, I know, most of us don’t love wearing tights. But once you get past that first awkward feeling, you will wonder why you didn’t convert sooner. That goes for you too, gentlemen!
Stay hydrated. Just because it is cold out, doesn’t mean that you no longer need hydration. Make sure you drink plenty before you leave. If you are training for long distances, have a game plan for how you will hydrate. Many parks turn off their water fountains in the winter, making it difficult to get water along the way.
This is the time of year that I love using my Simple Hydration bottle. Because it sits up against my body and under my jacket, my body keeps the bottle warm enough to avoid freezing the water!
How do you like to stay safe in the winter when you run?