Winter has officially arrived in Western New York, and ’tis the season for black ice, slippery sidewalks, and an increased potential for injury. While many runners opt for the treadmill when the footing outside is treacherous, some of us don’t have that luxury. Here are a few tips to avoid getting injured during the winter.
- Wear shoes with good tread, or opt for add-on traction like YakTrax, Stabilicers, or machine screws for your shoes. I like to wear trail shoes, or older shoes with machine screws as spikes.
- Throw pace out the window. When the footing is slippery, you are going to run slower. Trying to run your usual pace will require you to work much harder than you ordinarily would. Go by effort and don’t even look at your GPS or watch until you are done.
- Take shorter strides, and don’t push off as hard. If you land with your foot directly underneath your body, you have less chance of slipping. Likewise, don’t try to push off hard or you could slip or strain a muscle.
- Don’t try to do a workout unless the roads are clear. Running fast in snow and ice is a great way to injure something. As your coach, I would much rather see one of my athletes eschew a workout in favor of an easy run than attempt to run fast and get hurt.
- If it’s windy, start your run into the wind so you can finish with the wind at your back. If you go the other way, you can start to sweat while running with the wind, which will then freeze as soon as you turn into the wind and risk frostbite or hypothermia.
- If the weather outside is dangerous (sub-zero temperatures or high wind), it’s ok to take the day off from running. You can always use it as an opportunity to do some core work and strength training, which is another great tool to avoid getting injured in slippery conditions!