Tips for Running on Snow and Ice

My training for the Boston Marathon is in a funk. No sooner had I signed up, I hurt my ankle. Nothing broken, but sidelined for a couple weeks. “Not running” is tough during marathon training. Give me bone chilling, snot freezing, long runs any day, but please don’t let me nurse an ankle when its Marathon season, the skies are blue and the air is crisp!

If you are training for the Boston Marathon, you need to start training in the dark winter days, when the ground is still frozen and covered with snow or ice. You could squeeze a couple short, mid-week runs on the treadmill, but you need to do the longer weekend runs outdoors – even if there is snow and ice on the ground.

Here are a few pointers (and forms) for running on various snow and ice conditions. These are based on my personal experience of innumerable winter runs; btw, I have had my fair share of slips and fall in the snow, including a nasty head injury and a cracked rib, four weeks before last year’s marathon.

Important: If there is any amount of snow or ice on the roads or trails – RUN SLOW! Speed work can stay for another day. For the long run, just plan on clocking the miles, and making it back without getting hurt! This is not the time for heroics, just go for the distance (not time)!

More than Four Inches of Snow
Try your luck on roads if they are clear. Remember, the plows only clear a narrower lane for vehicles and there may not be enough shoulder for you to run safely on. And if the snow is piled high on the sides, you may not have a safe place to escape if you see a truck barreling close.

Instead, put off running and instead go for a long walk. Or wait to see if the weather will clear by the next day. There is always tomorrow.
Continue reading “Tips for Running on Snow and Ice”

Running the Boston Marathon!

Yoooo Hooo! After many attempts, I am finally entered in the 110th running of the Boston Marathon on April 17th, 2006.

It is the most prestigious and the oldest, continuously running marathon in the world. Don't know about the continuous running bit. I plan on intermittently walking, limping, and even crawling to the finish line. Considered one of the toughest marathons, because of the infamous “Heartbreak” hill at mile 21, which claims many runners. And the 4-month training coincides with the worst of Boston's winter.

The good part, I got to buy cool new shoes! And I get to eat whatever I want, and a WHOLE lot more! I need to more than double my food intake, which btw in NOT FUN! Food is not a tasty treat anymore, but fuel for running. Thus eating is as fun as filling gas in the car. I am nauseated at the mere thought of eating!

My training has been going well, despite the lack of cooperation from mother nature (see running experience below). My days are planned around eating and running. And managing the pain after wards. My new motto is: Pain is Constant! It complements well my earlier motto: Human Existence IS Suffering. BTW, I am not a pessimist. I believe if human existence IS indeed suffering, then we should seize every opportunity to fully enjoy the brief glimmers of fun and joy, and not be crushed when things take a bad turn. Seems to work for me!

Here's my Saturday running experience. I had to run 16 miles and with the wind howling, it was a frigid 15 deg F (-9.5 deg C). I bundled up in layers of micro-fleece and wind-bloc. My face was still uncovered and the frigid air I breathed in, shocked my lungs! 30 minutes into the run, my fully-charged iPOD battery froze and died! This is the pits and I considered giving up! About an hour into the run, the water in the bottle I was carrying froze, and turned into an icy slurry! I managed a few sips of grit. Snot from my nose had frozen solid on my upper lip. Looking cool was certainly not a priority – getting one foot in front of the other was! I saw a few other hard-core runners – fellow marathon trainers, I surmised. We would wave and silently congratulate each other.

Two hours and 40 minutes later (averaging 10 min a mile), I returned and collapsed on my front steps. Guzzled about a liter of (warm) water and a liter of lemonade!

My evening was spent watching the winter olympics while I iced various parts of my knee and leg. Even walking a few steps is excruciating. Like I said earlier, Pain is the only constant! Nearly seven more weeks remain!

As I get closer to the date, I will provide a link where you can keep up with my progress during the run. My goal is to just finish – standing (or crawling) in under five hours!

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