Monday, December 5, 2016

How to Run in Winter

Last night I checked the weather report because this is Utah and it's December and I wanted to know if it was feasible for me to do my habitual fast run on Monday morning or if it would be too snowy or icy. Weather.com said a winter storm was coming late Sunday night, so the ground would be covered in snow the next morning.

I thought, "Fine. I'll run Tuesday and sleep in tomorrow."

Feeling good with my decision, I fell asleep. Well, I wake up this morning early, look outside, and THERE'S NOT A SINGLE FLAKE ON THE SIDEWALK!

So I ended up doing my run. I'm happy I was able to do it before any snow could get here this week, but at the time I woke up (having come to terms with my decision), I felt like this:


I feel the same way when I'm planning a run and then I look outside and see something like this:



Winter weather can really ruin a perfectly good running schedule.

But I don't let it because I'm stubborn and I really do like running. I've learned how to run as safely as possible in the winter, even when it's snowing or has snowed recently. These last few weeks I've had to remind myself of what I've learned, which is this:

Allison K. Hymas's Rules for Running in Winter:
  •  Watch the weather report. If it's calling for snow and ice and you can change your schedule, do it.
  • If you can't or won't change your schedule, consider changing your route. Some places maintain trails and sidewalks better than others. Time changes (later in the day, when the sun has melted some of the ice) also work well.
  • If that fails and you end up running in snow, slow it down. Running fast is fun right up until you slip.
  • Know your route. Where are the places where water tends to pool? Any gutters? Broken sidewalk? Remember those and slow down for them, or avoid them altogether.
  • There is gear for running in snow, like Yaktrax. Look into that if you can.
  • Choose your steps wisely. Look ahead, and if you see clear sidewalk, aim for it. If it's shiny, DO NOT STEP THERE!
  • Snow isn't as slick as ice. If you have a choice between ice and snow, pick snow.
  • Look for patches of salt. They mark ice, but they also mark ice melt and they themselves are gritty. Step on the salt, not by it.
  • Leaves. If the leaf is stuck flat to the sidewalk, don't step on it. It's wet and icy. If it has texture (dry leaf), step carefully. It might give you traction. It might also be hiding stretches of ice.
  • Watch yourself when crossing the street. Cars slip. You may think the car can stop by the time they reach your crosswalk or stoplight, and maybe they think so too, but they might not. Extra caution is always advised.
I've been trying to keep all of these things in mind as I run, which adds a mental effort to something that's already difficult. Winter running is hard. The air is cold and occasionally full of snow, so it's hard to breathe, and I'm carrying extra weight in my jacket and thicker clothing, to say nothing of the darkness of a winter morning.

Too bad I enjoy the feeling of racing downhill at top speed so much, or the peacefulness of running slowly while the snow quietly falls in the early morning, the houses around me adorned with Christmas lights.

Yeah, I think I'll keep up the winter running.

Before I go, I'd like to report that I had a meeting with my writing group to talk about the work in progress, and I am SO EXCITED to finish this book now. I have so many new ideas that change, somewhat, my original plans for the ending, but I like my story better with the changes. Also, my group is great. They're so helpful and they know how to give criticism without making me feel like me and my book are worthless. Also, one friend made a movie cast for my characters, which I enjoyed seeing. Maybe I'll post her cast when the book is finished.

And one more thing. A fellow 2017 debut writer has a blog where she's interviewing other 2017 debut authors. If you'd like to learn more about some of the up-and-coming MG writers and their books, follow the link below and check out her blog!

Melissa Roske - Ask the Author: Patricia Bailey

I will also be interviewed on this blog as my book approaches publication, so stay tuned!

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