Treadmill access is wonderful when there is no other option, as was the case that day. But since that experience I am VERY motivated to do Sunday runs outside whenever I can. To help make this more likely, I bought a pair of Yaktrax to go right over my shoes and help me get traction despite snow and ice.
So the next Sunday rolls around, and it's gorgeous--sunny, crisp, and 13 degrees. It's the perfect day to try a winter long run outside.
Here are my winter "extras." Neck gaiter (white thing), face mask (black thing), running gloves (blue thing), floppy hat (purple thing) and Yaktrax. Yeah, this picture is kind of upside down.
The Yaktrax Pro model has a "performance strap" that goes over the foot and keeps the thing on for sure. It's a pretty tight fit anyway, but the hook-and-loop strap means no worries about throwing a shoe, so to speak.
The coils on the bottom are neat. They have enough give and flex so they squish down with each step. I could barely feel them. The diamond design seems perfect for maximum traction at just the right points, and I did feel quite confident on snow and ice (as their web site promises). I ran 9 miles total without a hitch.
The conditions that day seemed perfect for an inaugural run. The sidewalk was about 80% snow and ice, so lots of chances to seek the best traction. I'm not sure how well the Yaktrax generally work on plain pavement (it is not recommended in the box insert). If it were closer to 40% ice patches, I would probably forgo the Yaktrax.
While I'm on the topic, here are a few other things I've picked up while researching winter running:
- Helpful tip for layering: Think of 60˚F as the baseline for one layer. For every 20˚ below that, add a layer. Today at 13˚ I wore 3 layers on top--wicking thermal long underwear, a technical T, and a jacket. On the bottom I wore running capris, super-warm socks pulled up to meet the capris, and full-length running pants over both (2 layers).
- I like to wear a neck gaiter, such as Turtle Fur (made in Vermont!). It's less fiddly than a scarf and can be pulled up over mouth & nose if needed.
- I wear a face mask below 20˚... otherwise I seem to get asthma. I also wear a floppy knit hat that pulls right down over my ears and hair. The result--only my eyes and the bridge of my nose are showing during a super-cold run.