For a lot of us, this is the time of year when the weather turns cold and roads and sidewalks start to get treacherous. Sure you could hunker down inside and keep close to the treadmill, but there’s plenty to be gained by getting outside. We’ll talk more about cold weather running in general, but this post is just going to focus on the basics of running safely and staying vertical.
Watch your step. Black ice can form even when the temperature outside is above freezing (think 37 degrees Fahrenheit, just under 3 degrees Celsius). Be aware of the temperature and use extra caution when ice is possible. If you’re running when ice is an issue, check your tread, reel in your stride length a little bit, and remember that even if you’re feeling tired, you still need to keep mentally focused and pay attention to what you’re doing. All it takes is one careless step to cause you a lot of grief.
Be visible. As the days get shorter, you’re more likely to be running when there’s limited light. Just because you can see where you’re going doesn’t mean that others — especially drivers — can see you. Wear reflective clothing and choose a safe path. If you usually run along the road, now might be the time to transition over to the sidewalk. Once snow starts piling up along the sides of the road there’s less room to go around and crummy weather can reduce visibility even further, creating a dangerous dance between drivers and runners.
Run defensively. Sure, you should be able to jog along in peace and trust drivers to steer clear. It’s a nice thought, but it isn’t worth betting your life on. Don’t count on drivers to keep you safe. Be responsible for staying out of the way, regardless of who’s got the right-of-way.
Hopefully there are plenty of you out there still pounding the pavement even once the mercury starts getting low. Have fun out there, but be safe. Any tips we missed?