Guest Blog: Austin Bonds

Winter Running – More Ice than Snow

As a starting point, I wish I could provide a better perspective on winter running, but the state of Georgia tends to see more ice and freezing rain and less of the snow that falls in other parts of the United States. Conversely, I’m confident that residents of Buffalo or Minneapolis or Denver or Salt Lake City can describe the respective pros and cons of running in snow in greater detail. I’ll unpack a few thoughts on frigid weather in the Peach State and the Deep South and how to navigate these conditions – should they arise this year.

Layering for Winter Running

Layering is necessary for the sake of warmth. Speaking of warmth, I’d like to pass on some of the best advice I have ever received as it pertains to what clothing to consider for a cold run: dress like it is twenty degrees warmer. If you already know this, I hope this statement is a good reminder; if not, tuck this wisdom into your brain for life.

What’s intriguing about the aforementioned statement is that it shows runners how easy it is to wear too much clothing. In fact, I’ve seen people complete long runs with a long sleeve shirt, tights, and a thermal cap in fifty degrees. May be they get cold easily or have poor circulation in their legs, but as the minutes (and the miles) tick by, seventy degrees will become the new norm with this much layering. As a colleague of mine likes to say, “Dress for the heart of your run – not for the start of your run.”

With apparel squared away, is there an appropriate shoe for winter when rain, ice, and snow make more frequent appearances? By appropriate I mean a road shoe versus a trail shoe. In February 2015 Georgia was inundated with some heavy snow, and this made for some slick roads. Though I run primarily on the roads, I actually thought that a trail shoe would be a better choice as they grip well by way of a more aggressive outsole (think thick lugs). The Pearl Izumi Trail N2 made it easy (or easier) to grip the road well as icy slush on the shoulder provided a respectable route from the house and back.

Snow Shoes Anyone?

If you don’t own a trail shoe, I’ve also read about runners outfitting their shoes for runs in the snow. STABILicers, Yaktrax, and Hobnails (by La Sportiva) are a few products that can be attached to a shoe to increase stability and traction in unforgiving conditions. I’ve never used this gear as Georgia weather doesn’t necessitate the need for it, but maybe a vacation in a snowy setting one day will provide the chance to do so.

Other Winter Running Accessories

Be ready to winter. I think most runners already are. They change accordingly with the seasons, and winter is by no means an exception. A few revisions to your apparel, along with a cap and some gloves for frigid temperatures, will make for a cozy run; next, locate the right shoe and run with a heightened sense of awareness if snow and ice are present; finally, incorporate some visibility products (e.g. a headlamp, flash light, or strobe light) so you can be seen by others, be it a fellow runner, a cyclist, or those widespread automobiles that seem ubiquitous these days. You are now ready for winter running. You are ready to winter the winter.

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