Today was the fourth time this week that I went out to run in the snow.
After the serious snowfall of last Saturday and my Pisa marathon plans falling apart at the same time, I am taking these couple of weeks easy (it is the holidays after all!) . But I am trying to run often, to keep my fitness levels up and be able to start strong with my new running goals!
This week it meant running in the snow every single day, without worrying about speed and distance travelled. I just wanted to enjoy running again and to take in as much of Oxford's parks as I could. I went to University Parks, Headington Park and South Parks. Through Mesopotamia... To Port Meadow. All white, frozen, beautiful, serene...
My goal was to run safely and have fun listening to the dance music in my MP3 as Lisa, my regular running companion these days, plunged into the deeper snow patches with utmost joy.
My friend Angelike who comes from Vermont and is used to running in the snow when she goes back home, had told me to start by taking small short steps. I followed her advice.
Before venturing out, either in my trail (Salomon XT Wings) or cross country (Adidas Kanadia 2) shoes to provide a better grip, I also read a couple of internet posts out there, containing relevant info. I was prepared!
One was blogger Arun Shambag's post from a couple of years ago with tips for running on snow and ice (http://arunshanbhag.com/2008/02/15/running-on-ice/). He offers precious advice coming from a very experienced man!
"If there is any amount of snow or ice on the roads or trails", Arun says, "Run Slow! Speed work can stay for another day. For the long run, just plan on clocking the miles and making it back without getting hurt!" Very wise words, especially when like today the snow trails are really slippery and running feels like ice skating a bit!
And then a web only article on the Running Times website, which I read a few days ago, also made my day and inspired me to just go out there and run! It was so spot-on on the psychological benefit of not giving up under challenging weather conditions, that you just had to go and do it! RUN!
"It isn’t a physical hardiness that separates the winter runners from non-runners," says Running Times writer Joel Wolbert, "but more of a mindset. Winter is not an affliction; it can be a welcome challenge. Those of us who run outside during all four seasons have adopted strategies for coping with hardships. They can be purely practical ways to keep motivated, but they can also be romantic: finding beauty within the pain".
If you are looking for some inspiration to keep on running through deep winter, please read the rest of this great article at http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=21571
And then just go and RUN!
Have a very Merry Christmas, everyone!