January 19th, 2011
I know that you all might think it’s dangerous to run on ice.
And it is. Good for you for recognizing that.
But I’m a rebel and I run on it anyway.
I live in Pittsburgh, I run exclusively outside and I tend to run spring races. Obviously ice comes with the territory.
If it’s a complete sheet of ice, like it was yesterday, running is physically impossible. But tonight, after some rain and snow and quickly dropping temperatures, I took the chance to pound the pavement.
Sure enough, there was ice but through the years I’ve learned some things about running when there may be ice:
- If you’re paying attention, you always see it (even at night). It looks different than the rest of the sidewalk. It might take some bad experiences to learn what you’re looking for, but once you learn, you never forget.
- If you step on it, you won’t fall. That doesn’t mean that you’ll never fall, but you won’t always fall. You will quickly learn to adjust your stride when you see on coming icy patches.
- This means you’ll run very, very slowly.
- This also means that you’ll be running slightly more flat-footed than normal to allow for more traction.
- Become friends with road running. A lot of you may be sidewalk runners, but sidewalks tend to be more icy than the treated roads. People don’t always like to salt and shovel their sidewalks, so BEWARE. Also, running on asphalt is much better on your joints than concrete.
- Run AGAINST traffic. You can’t trust drivers to see you, so you want to make sure that you see on coming drivers. NEVER run with traffic.
- If you’re running on the road, you might have to stop or jump onto the sidewalk if the roads are narrow. If you do this, be sure to stop and step carefully unless you want to end up on your bum like a certain someone did. I won’t tell you who, but her name starts with “A” and ends with “bby”.
- Know when to call it quits. Running on ice hurts my knees. I cut a 6 mile run to 4 miles because it started to hurt. And it might get more icy as you run. Know when there’s just too much ice to run safely.
- Have fun. You wouldn’t run outside when it’s icy and freezing if you didn’t love it.
These are just tips! I’m not encouraging you to go running in the next ice storm. But if you’re ever out there and you find ice along your route, you don’t need to turn around right away.
Running when there are icy conditions makes you hardcore. You just have to be smart about it if you don’t want to get hurt.