“Walking in a winter wonderland”

It finally happened! Fargo’s first snow came last Monday. Less than 1% of people were probably excited about it and I was one of them.

Running-with-dogs

The sign of a good run.

The snow started coming down around 4:00 that afternoon. I imagine most people put on warm jammies, maybe sat by the fire and did anything to avoid going outside. That was not the case at my house.

Chris welcomed the opportunity to try out his new snowblower, clearing out our driveway and both the neighbors next door. Blitz eagerly went outside to jump and play in the snow. And, as you’d expect, Burton and I geared up to go for a run. I loved it so much.

After that, I left for the rest of the week to attend a symposium in Reno but, luckily, the snow was still here when I came back Friday. Again, as you’d expect, I couldn’t wait to go for my usual Saturday morning run with Burton. Not only was there plenty of snow still on the ground, it was a comfortable 35 degrees with barely any wind.

As much as I love winter running, especially the first few of the year, I was quickly reminded that it does present some new challenges.

Running-in-snow

Not ideal for running fast but I love this kind of running.

First, speed goes right out the window. Between watching for and shuffling across icy spots, navigating snowbanks, and trudging through thick packed snow on un-shoveled sidewalks, there’s not much opportunity to settle into a pace, let alone push it.

Second, running through all that snow and ice is a lot tougher than traditional outdoor running, and I really feel it in my knees, calves and arches. It’s almost like running on sand and takes some extra work. Think Baywatch, just instead of tight red swimsuits and big boobs it’s tight spandex base layers with a quarter zip fleece and headband. And no David Hasselhoff.

Third, all of it is a lot harder for Burton. Snow and ice up to his belly, the change in our normal pace and the added cold all adds up so I have to be extra-aware of how he’s doing.

So even though my runs aren’t as challenging from a normal speed/pace perspective in the winter, they present a whole new set of challenges and that’s good. Keeps me on my toes – or heels, whatever, as long as I don’t slip and fall on my ass.

It’s ironic; when I first started running I was such a fair-weather runner. A treadmill junkie, outdoor conditions had to be near-perfect for me to go outside. I don’t think I experienced winter running until my fourth season, when I was training for my first full marathon and pretty much had to get outside to keep my sanity through long runs. I started to enjoy it, more just trying to embrace winter because I didn’t have any other choice. Now I straight up LOVE it.

Good thing too – it’s only December so I’ve got a solid four months left of wintery, snowy running.

How about you; do you love winter running? Or are you more of a fair-weather runner and prefer to stick to the treadmill when it gets colder and snowier? Tweet me at @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter. Or share your favorite/least favorite part about winter running, questions or stories in the comments.

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