Anatomy of a Winter Run

Went for my first outdoor, early-morning, snow-covered run today. I’ve run outside in the winter — just not in the wee hours of the morning before the sun rises. It was a great run, though slower than I would have liked. But, it was refreshing and calming and a wonderful way to kick-start my Friday.

Last night before my training session with Trainer 2.0, I was running on the treadmill for a short warm-up. T2 happened to come up and run next to me. He noticed my stride and offered a few pointers on improving it for a better run. We then ran — which felt more like prancing — a bit back and forth in the very short entry-ish way of the gym before continuing on with our training session.

I decided to try out my new stride on my run today. So, I wasn’t going for time — I was going for form. Plus, since it was dark out and I was nervous about someone sneaking up on me, I skipped the iPod today and decided to run “naked” and focus a bit on my breathing, too. Form. Breathing. Two good things that would help me be a better runner.

So, I put on my grippers.


Photo of winter shoe traction grips

If you don't own a pair of these -- and you like to run outside in the winter -- get some immediately. Seriously.

And layered up, complete with all the flashing lights and reflective gear I could find. Note to self: Get more reflective gear.

Photo of running lights

Lit up like a Christmas tree.

Can’t forget the toasty gloves for my chilly fingers.

Photo of glove

And, of course, my pedometer. Well … kind of. I don’t use it as a pedometer because it’s broken. But, do you see that little red string? Pull it and it lets out a shrill whistle — just in case someone comes up from behind.

Photo of emergency whistle

Just in case someone in the dark morning tries to grab me. A shrieking pedometer!

All layered, lit, suited up and I’m finally ready to head out at 5:30 to run through the neighborhood by my apartment — there’s a nice 2.75-mile loop. Just the perfect, quick run I needed this morning. Not too long, but long enough to get my heart beating.

Photo of me ready to run

Fearing the cold -- but ready to embrace it.

And off we go. Started out at a nice, easy pace. But the sidewalks soon became very snowy — some people need to learn how to use a shovel, sheesh! I was focusing on my form for a while but decided it’d be a better idea to focus on not falling on my butt. So, I tried to relax my stride, loosen up my muscles and watch the ground in front of me.

Photo of Sparkly Snow

At least I got to enjoy the sparkly snow while watching for icy bumps.

As I watched the sparkly snow in the glow of my headlamp (if you don’t know the true peace and beauty of sparkly snow, you’re missin’ out) and dodged a few cars, I ran along, lost in thought. Even though there were a few cars here and there, I was essentially alone out there. And it was glorious. I wouldn’t trade that solitude for another half hour in bed at all. Besides, after the first five minutes, I was shedding layers — including my gloves and hat (which I traded for a ski band). I also ended up taking my running jacket off and tying it around my waist.

End of run

By the end of my run, I was down to just my long-sleeve shirt -- all other layers tied around various body parts. My gloves came off, and my hat replaced with a ski band. All in all, I was a sweaty mess. Just how I like it after a run.

All in all, it was a good run. Not fast. But good. Calming. I worked on my stride a little. I listened to myself breathe — which I did not like. As much as I was missing my music (boy, was I!), I think I’ll run without it at least once a week. It’s kinda nice to hear my (clicky) feet hitting the sidewalk and listen to my warm breath go in and out. I ended up doing about 2.8 miles in just over 30 minutes. No personal record, that’s for sure. But I was out there enjoying Michigan’s winter. And I liked it.



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2 responses to “Anatomy of a Winter Run

  1. Pingback: Running: A State of Being, Not Doing « That's All Joy Wrote

  2. Pingback: Running in Winter | That's All Joy Wrote

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