Winter. What to do?

It got nasty cold here today, a little below freezing with a big wind. I took the day off. Even just going back and forth from the car to the stores to do my weekly shopping left me with a chill that made me have to wear a sweater in my house. So what the heck am I planning on doing once winter is really here?

I don’t know. I used to run throughout the winter. I usually had one fall per year that bruised either a hip or a tailbone, but as I now have more potential for serious injury in a fall, what do I do?

Initially, I think I’ll keep it up until some serious snowfall. As long as the sidewalks are clear I should be fine. Running the lovely trails with ice, however, is another issue. I think there is a crampon device a person can put on their shoes to provide traction. I have something similar for my boots to take me to and from work (they wouldn’t hold up to running) and they have allowed me to be fall free on icy sidewalks for the last 3 years. If I can find such things I will most likely get them. Then my only boundary will be the temperature.

The coldest I ever ran was -38 Celsius (which is pretty near -36 Fahrenheit). That turned out to be a mistake as the water bottle inside my jacket next to my body froze solid and after two miles I knew I was in trouble. A couple of more experienced folk returning from their run stopped and walked with me back to my car. Generally speaking, runners are good folk. I was lucky. And I decided I would not run colder than -25C (sorry, I’m not going to do the math – it’s cold).

No, your lungs don’t freeze. Oy! Your body temp is 98.6F (37C). By the time -30F air gets to your bronchi it’s warm. As long as you dress for the weather, you’re fine. And it’s amazing how much heat you generate when you’re working hard. Sometimes you even feel overdressed.

I don’t know that I’ll stay at running 3 times a week through the winter. I do want to maintain a level of fitness so I don’t have to start all over again in the spring. I may switch to 10:1s for the winter and keep it to around 3 or 4 reps of that – so, shorter runs that will reduce risk of injury. That would do the trick and let me create a pattern of growth in the warm weather and maintenance in the snow. Seems sensible to me on first blush. Let’s see how it goes.