Run like a yak

This blog is about running on ice.

No, silly, not the Billy Joel song.

I’m talking about the nasty stuff that shellacs sidewalks and coats roads this time of year, sending even the most hard-core runners inside to endure treadmill workouts.

We’re enduring some cold temps in Washington this week, but it’s nothing compared to the snow, ice AND cold my friend Kaveh is dealing with. Kaveh, who moved to New Hampshire recently after growing up and going to school in Florida, asked for some ice advice in a comment a few posts ago, and here’s my best attempt at providing some tips.

First, find some snow. Yeah, I know — we usually avoid snowy trails, sidewalks, etc. But snow is slow rather than slippery, meaning a) you’ll be able to run outside without fearing death, and b) you’ll get an extra-hard workout, like running on the beach instead of the road.

Second — and this is revolutionary to me — put screws in your shoes. I vaguely remember some people in Boulder doing this so they could continue to run on the trails in the winter. You can make your own using this how-to. You can also buy pre-made versions called Yaktrax, which I’m tempted to buy myself just so I can tell people I’m going running in my Yaktrax. According to the Web site, you’ll want to check out the Yaktrax Pro, designed for “a mail carrier, runner, outside worker or someone who faces winter conditions on a daily basis.” It strikes me that regular ol’ cleats should work, too, though they may not offer the ankle support you’d need to slog through the wintry ugliness.

This all sounds like a lot of work, which leads me to one last tip: Opt for fewer, longer runs to make each time you suit up worth it.

Got any running-on-ice tips? Please, please post ’em below!

Incidentally, Kaveh passed along a good cold-weather tip for those of us dealing with the chill in milder climates: Wear gloves, even when you don’t think you need ’em. This makes perfect sense to me, as my hands are usually the first thing to get cold.

As for my training log, I’m getting ready to do the stationary bike for a late lunch break. After skiing all weekend, my legs need a low-impact wakeup call before running again. Something embarrassing: My glutes are STILL sore from a tough lifting workout on Thursday and a speedy (for me) 8-miler on Friday!

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