Running fool

Jan 03 2013 Published by under [Et Al]

A few months ago I asked readers when they made time for exercise. For a couple of months this summer my wife and I were waking up at 4:50am to be able to fit in a work out, but that arrangement was untenable in the long term. If you give this very-much-not-a-morning-person the option of getting up way before dawn to exercise or sleeping until it is necessary to get up, the former is only going to win for so long.

We did well for a while, then I hit a stretch of travel and we never really got back to it as consistently as we had before. It was time for a new plan.

Instead I've turned to running after putting the kids to bed. I've never been a great runner and some knee issues in the past have generally scared me away, but I decided to try it on. I got some good shoes and took to the streets. I did a mile at first, then pushed to 2. Everything was feeling good so I upped the bar again and I'm currently doing 3.5 miles every other day with my eye on a 4.5 mile route. Until recently.

Snow in our area has obliterated my normal route, turning it into an Arctic obstacle course. In fact most of the reasonable running routes in my area are more treacherous than a hunting trip with Dick Cheney. It's not the cold that bothers me (still tights-free) it's falling on my damn head or having to spend a stint on IR with "a groin".

So what do real runners do when ice and snow hits?

20 responses so far

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Run carefully. Treadmill. Use Uni's indoor track.

  • scicurious says:


    That is what we do.

    Or treadmills. A lot of people do treadmills.

  • Algae Girl says:

    Yak Trax My husband runs with them (he has a torn ACL), no problems, though not everyone likes them.

  • What Sci said. All of it.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I find Yak Trax turn into greased lightening on hard ice. They are great for snow and a bit of ice, but I'm taken some hard spills on black ice with those things on. Maybe I just need to be mindful to run around the ice the best I can.

    Treadmills born the shit out of me and I'm not close enough to the university to make that a reasonable option at the hour I run.

  • Liz says:

    Consider buying a treadmill if you have space in your house. Cheap used ones can often be found on Craigslist. I agree that they are boring but mine is set up in front of the TV in my basement and I get lots of good TV watching time in on it (or audiobooks/podcasts are a good option too).

  • DrLizzyMoore says:

    Yeah. Yak tracks are on my shoes for the duration of winter. Like yourself, I've taken a spill or two in them....and not just on sidewalks. A lot of times, I'll walk in the street, but the streets get slick when the thin layer of snow left by the plows gets least here, where are temperatures have been hovering around 10 degrees or lower.

    I have an elliptical in my basement. It keeps my knees happy and helps me to de-stress. Like yourself, I've been doing it at night...early mornings in the winter really really suck.

  • Abby says:

    Microspikes fit like YakTrax but are more grippy on sheer ice.

    Haven't tried running in them, though.

  • BBBShrewHarpy says:

    Stick to the trails. Crunchy trails are great. Are there any parks near you? Even a football field would work, though running round and round gets old.

  • DB says:

    My hubby and I got into Balance Ball workouts a few years ago (we're both runners but winter running in our cold/snowy city was unappealing and I got sick of working out with undergrads at the uni fitness club). It's great for strengthening your core. You just need the ball and a few workout DVD's. As a bonus, your kids will probably find the ball fun to play with when you're not using it.

  • Have you tried spinning? In the winter spinning and becomes my primary training activity. Then on the days I am running, I take care to plan out my routes more carefully to find places that are safer for running. Trail running can be good stuff in the winter if you live in such a place...

  • proflikesubstance says:

    My problem is primarily dealing with my time constraints. Spinning might work, but I would need to find a class near me, pay for that and try to make it on a regular basis in what is usually a sliding window of time I have. I really need activities I can do on my own schedule from my house if I have any hope of making it work. Running has been really good until recently. I do have one of those balls somewhere. hmmm.

  • Krzysztof says:

    Yaktrax or similar, but if you get something which does grip really well on ice watch out for twisting your knees. Otherwise I just try pay attention to what might be ice and try not to change direction when I'm running over it... and I retreat to (indoor) rock climbing rather than running when it's really bad... I can beat up my legs the other three seasons.

  • Julian Frost says:

    In addition to what Liz said about watching TV and listening to audiobooks, I've seen people at the gym I attend read ebooks while going on a treadmill. Don't write it off as boring.

  • Mountainmums says:

    After having lived in the Alps for 15 years, I just moved to Helsinki... Before, I just forgot about running when there was snow and just cross-country skied. Here it's not always possible, so I'm getting into winter running.

    The last few days have been real icy and slippery (think melted snow and rain that froze), and I've been really happy with my new icebug running shoes ( I guess it's not much different from the yaktrack solution except that the cleats are included in the shoe (and the sole's rubber is cold/winter friendly). Also, the cleats on the icebug retract if you're running on pavement. Anyway, I'd much rather brave the ice in icebugs that run on a treadmill anyday... I have no idea if they're available in the US, but Salomon makes a pretty similar winter running shoe also.

  • BrunaLab says:

    You got answers to your other questions, but something else in your post caught my eye. I had awful knee problems after years of too many miles, but my vibram five fingers really helped cleared them up. You have to drop your mileage and build it back slowly to avoid getting hurt - it took me a year to build my mileage back up, though I could have probably done it in 6 mos. - but they worked great. Other low profile shoes might do the trick if you hate the look of the five fingers.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Dunno, dude.

  • BrunaLab says:

    Yeah...I know, I know. I try really hard not to be one of those annoying and proselytizing VFF wearers but it's soooo hard not to be. Racing flats instead?

  • proflikesubstance says:

    Surprisingly, my knees have been pretty good on my return to running. Some of that might have been a result of the leg strengthening stuff I was doing over the summer that was fairly intense. In fact, my knees have yet to bother me so I am less inclined to change my approach at the moment for an unknown. I'll keep it in mind, though.

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