Running after 50: what I learned in the Big Snow of ’08

Yes, you can run in snow and ice.  I’ve even read an article by a runner in Colorado who puts sheet metal 1/2″ screws in the soles of his running shoes to create “studded shoes” for ice running.  Yes, it can all be done and probably is done on a daily basis all over the frozen sections of the world.

And I learned some stuff in the Big Snow of Seattle ’08.

I learned that no sweat in sub-freezing temps is a very good thing.  Sweat will become icy almost immediately, and that’s bad for muscles (and generally the whole system, doh.)

I learned that shorter strides is a good thing, that planting your foot firmly and squarely will help keep you from sliding unexpectedly. Of course paying close attention is also a pretty good idea.

I learned that yes, you really can sort of “burn” your throat if you are mouth breathing and the temps are super chilly and you’re not accustomed to those temps.

And on a related note: I learned that running in freakin cold ass temps while still recovering from a cold is a really bad idea.  Short term, you’ll feel great to have those endorphins coursing through your bod, and maybe your bod will even like the whole thing for a while.  Maybe just keep your runs short, and day on/day off for a while.  It’s an idea.

Instead, I ran while still recovering and ran nearly every day after, or took long long brisk walk/runs.  Upshot: I got sick again, and the second bout was way worse than the first.   I’m taking the hint: you really do have to think differently about things when it’s frigid cold, snowy and icy outside.  A different strategy, some care to the old bod goes a long way towards keeping one healthy.

Today, after six days inside nursing my cold, I’m going to go for a shorty short run which will undoubtedly have me wheezing and coughing, but I feel pretty strong, have some good energy and have promised myself to take it easy out there.  It’s all good.

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