Running in Snow

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If this Southern California Girl can run in the snow and crazy cold temperatures anyone can.

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If you have read some of my previous blogs you already know that I am training for Ragnar SoCal! So that means a lot more consistent running and training lately. Ragnar also means I have been learning to run and train in the snow. I know, so many of my friends and family have already said I am crazy. Honestly, I don’t deny it! This morning when I went out to run and it was 0°F and my teeth were frozen I also believed I was crazy. But when you are training for a race you do what you have to do.

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Currently the ground is completely packed with snow (mostly Ice), the temperatures are usually 0-25°F when I go out, and I run hills (because that is the only place to run). It is crazy but I have actually been enjoying it.

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I don’t enjoy it when I first walk out and am blasted with freezing air. I do enjoy learning how to adapt myself to the cold. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I almost run a PR (personal record) even though I am running hills and in the ice. I enjoy knowing that I can do it!

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So some tips I have learned about running in “real” winter climates:

Screw shoes: seriously these have been a lifesaver!!! I have been wearing these even just to walk to the mail box. Basically it is sheet metal screws that I drilled into a pair of old running shoes. They grip the ice and snow and I am able to run across ice without even thinking about the possibility of slipping. Without screw shoes I would not be able to run.

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These are my screw shoes 🙂

Layers: It is all about the layers. I have a few different pairs of pant and a few different tops that I trade out based on the temperature. Basically you have to figure out what is right layering for you. Usually for me if it is 35 or above I can wear one layer of regular pants and a long sleeve and jacket and I am fine. If it is 25-30 I wear Capri pants with long pants over and add a vest sometimes a warmer jacket to the top. 20-25 usually call for 2 long pants a compression top and warmer jacket plus the vest. Anything in the teens and single digits is warmer pants and regular pants and all the other tops plus a windbreaker. Each time is a little different based on wind and if the sun is out. Most times I end up feeling hot and partially unzip my jacket.

Cover your ears, nose and mouth: This is something I learned very quickly. You have to keep your ears covered. Some people like to wear beanies, I prefer a headband. I overheat really fast if I have beanie on although when it is in the single digits sometimes I opt for the beanie. For the nose and mouth I have a thin fabric thing I bought a long time ago snowboarding. It has been perfect and I usually only use it for the first ¼ or ½ of my run. This keeps me from breathing the piercing air and from freezing my teeth. Don’t forget the gloves as well.

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Wool Socks: Simple these are a must! My toes froze the first few runs before I had them and I am so thankful for them now!!

Mini hand warmer: this is to put in your pocket to keep your phone warm. If you are like me, then all of your stuff in on your phone (music, strava, miles keeper…). One day I was running and my phone suddenly quit on me. Not the best way to stay motivated. I learned after that to always keep my phone closer to my body and/or use a hand warmer. I made mine out of fabric and rice. I throw it in the microwave for 30 or so seconds and put it in my pocket next to my phone.

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This day wasn’t that  cold so I got away with wearing capri’s!

Well those are all the tips I can think of for right now! The biggest thing is to get out and do it! You never know what you can accomplish until you go do it. For me it is such a mental battle especially that first mile. I think “no way, it’s too cold today I will just do a short loop and go back.” When I force myself to push through and do it, then I feel so accomplished and like I can do anything!

You can do, just layer up and get out there!

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