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Winter running: Staying safe through ice and snow

Cold Weather Running

Winter running shoes

The end of this weekend came with sad news for a family of a Connecticut runner. Michael Walsh, a 25 year old, was struck down and killed by a city snow plow on his early Sunday morning run in the town of Torrington. According to police, while the man was running, he moved into the road to avoid puddles and debris. The plow hit him at 5:14 a.m. Walsh was wearing earphones and no reflective gear.

As conditions turn to wintery, paths become slick with ice, trails get socked in with snow and visibility gets worse thanks to storms and shorter days. Staying safe during winter months takes planning for runners. A few tips of how to combat the ice and snow:

1. Run during the day

The lack of visibility during evenings and night time is a major threat to a runner’s safety. Sure, these are the darkest days of the year right now, and it can be hard to find time to run when it’s light. But it’s not impossible. Schedule time during your lunch break to fit your run in. If that’s not a possibility at your workplace, consider run commuting this season.

2. Face oncoming traffic

One of the most important things while running near roads is that drivers can see you. Sometimes though, cars swerve on icy roads.If you plan your route so that you face oncoming traffic, at least you’ll see them too!

3. Don’t fight the slippery conditions

When January hits, sidewalks become hidden under slippery layers of ice or fresh slush causes near wipeouts on the regular. It’s harder to break. It’s harder to turn corners. Just accept the winter conditions and adjust your pace and stride accordingly. It’s better than getting a severe injury.

4. Find cleared areas

Running through knee-deep snow drifts is a drag. But if you start perusing your city’s streets to find out which sidewalks or alleyways are cleared first, you’re bound to be able to map a decently snow-free route that can be your go-to even the morning after a dumping.

5. Wear reflective gear

Forget about looking like a dork. It’s best to dress up with reflective gear and even lights to combat flat lighting or dark evenings. You do it when you’re cycling. It’s not much different with running.

6. When all else fails, run indoors

Sometimes running inside can’t be helped. Every so often runners need to head to their favourite track or just run on the treadmill when it’s just too treacherous out.


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