Hi everyone! Now that I’m settling into normal life in Anchorage, I’m realizing that there are some things that just aren’t as “normal” here as they were at home. Especially when it comes to winter. I’m learning now that everything I do – driving, running, shopping, picking out clothes, etc. – is going to be different up here. And that’s totally okay! I’m ready for some new adventures and experiences. But the problem is, I don’t know how to deal with some of these things. Some of these new experiences have been explained to me by my coworkers and friends – like driving in snow – but some are still a mystery to me.
So here’s to a winter of trying new things and spending tons of time Googling how to prepare for the following:
Running in the snow – I did take every opportunity to run in the snow last year, and learned that it’s tougher than I thought. It kind of feels like running in sand, and it slows you down a lot. And the amount of snow we’re going to have on the running trails this winter is pretty crazy. So how am I preparing for the fact that my running trails (and every outdoor surface) will soon be covered in snow and ice?
Studded shoes! Just like my tires! I chose to get my old Mizunos studded at Skinny Raven Sports so that my current pair of Adidas can be used indoors as well as outdoors with my Yaktrax. I’m also getting a gym membership for those days where I really can’t handle the snowy trails. Now here’s my question for all of you hardcore snow runners: do you do anything to keep the snow out of your shoes? Like wearing gaiters? If not, any good sock suggestions for staying warm and dry?
Running in the cold – Last year I got sick running in 13 degree temps after getting a cramp and stopping until it passed, which caused my body temperature to drop too low. This year I’ve already run in 18 degree temps and did great, but it’s still not totally comfortable. How have I been preparing so far?
Using my scarf/Buff and wearing fleece-lined layers, especially on my head. Here’s the problem: it’s going to get so much colder here, and I’m barely comfortable now. How can I adjust to even colder temperatures? What do you all use to stay warm when it’s 0 degrees outside and you’re out for a run? Especially when it comes to keeping your hands warm? And let’s talk about phones – will mine freeze if I’m using it to track my run in temps like that?
Running in the dark – This one I am totally unprepared for. This is the only thing I’ve done to prepare myself:
It’s hard to see it with all of the skinny trees around, but there are streetlights along this trail. I tried to prepare by finding a nearby trail that’s lighted at night all winter long. It helps that the trail is illuminated and I can see where I’m going, but I can’t see the pesky hiding moose – and who knows if other runners/skiers will see me coming? There’s no traffic to worry about, but I still want to stay visible and make sure that I can see everything around me. I know I should probably have a head lamp and some kind of visibility items on my body. But what’s the best option out there? I don’t even know what brands to look for! Are headlamps even comfortable?
Running in the gym – I don’t want to do this one, but I’m sure it’s going to happen at some points. Or at a lot of points. I trained for the Disney Princess Half almost exclusively on my old treadmill (and loved it!), but that was in the privacy of my own apartment with my own TV to keep me company. So how can I keep myself distracted during the upcoming long training runs on a treadmill? If reading while running was easier I’d be all over that!
The good news is that with the Pre-Christmas season upon us, I’ve got people asking me what I want for Christmas already. And I’ve been thinking that getting some good running gear for the long, dark, cold, snowy winter ahead would be great. But I have no idea what to ask for! How do you find the best winter running gear out of the thousands of products out there? I’d love to hear what you can’t live without this winter. Help me out!
Do you have any advice for a newbie Alaskan runner? Past Polar Vortex running techniques would be appreciated!