Ice and running don’t mix

While some places and people are experiencing unusually cold weather, we’ve been basking in balmy weather and sunshine. (Don’t worry- we’ve already had our fair share of winter and I’m sure we’ll have a few more months of it!)

For someone who is always cold and avoids the treadmill at all costs, this is great news! Yesterday my favourite training partner (my husband, Kelly) and I set out for a run in minimal layers of clothing.

What we assumed would be a fantastic run didn’t turn out that way. Along with warmer temperatures comes melting snow, which in turn creates ice. The first part of our run was fine but a lot of it was treacherous. Miraculously, neither of us fell or hurt ourselves!

Here are some of my tips for running on ice or in slippery conditions:

  • Don’t! Suck it up and run on a treadmill, or take a day to cross train.
  • Wear a traction aid on your shoes to help grip ice or slippery patches.
  • Slow down. Running on ice or slippery sections can cause you to change your gait. Instead of changing your gait and risking injury, use it as a recovery run and slow down.
  • If you’re on a sidewalk, run on the sides where there may be some better traction from snow clearing tread. If grass is sticking out, even better.
  • Run on the road if it’s quiet and safe. Roads most likely have salt or gravel or have been cleared. Face oncoming traffic so you can see what is coming towards you.

I didn’t want to pass up warm outdoor running and couldn’t wear a traction aid since sidewalk was showing in lots of places. And the route we ran is pretty traffic heavy. So, we slowed way down and just enjoyed the run and conversation.

Do you ever have to deal with icy runs? What’s your ideal running temperature? 

45 responses to “Ice and running don’t mix

  1. hi there… completely agree with you… ice and running don’t mix… i even topped it by running at night, which is nothing i would recommend to anyone… just had to be done… 🙂

  2. Those traction aids just seem like they would mess up your form, but who knows? I certainly don’t. Yeah, ice is scary! I would do the same as you though because the treadmill is miserable.

  3. Haha I love your first piece of advice!! I just hateeee the treadmill with a passion… My ideal running temperature, is probably in the 40-50s. Fall is the best, warm enough so that you don’t have to bundle up like crazy, but still cool enough so that it feels great!

  4. So yes, I have dealt with icy runs, as a fellow Canadian! But I joined the winter treadmill club when two winters ago, I was out running with one of my dogs. She saw a rabbit and went for it as we happened to be crossing an icy patch. Well, as soon as she pulled on the leash (she’s a Labrador Retriever aka pretty big), I fell to the ground and broke my ankle! Not wanting to miss a planned run turned into no running for six months! Yup, that sucked.

  5. I’ll run in just about any weather, although I’m learning to prefer hotter over colder. I found that screwing my shoes gives me the same traction on ice as normal shoes on dry pavement. Had a little accident on ice yesterday on my bike – maybe I need to figure out how to put screws in my road bike tires!

    • Yikes- hope you’re ok. Have you seen the studded tires? They sell lots here, but maybe they don’t even offer them in Texas?

      • I’m pretty sure they don’t sell them in Texas. The roads were perfectly clear when I crashed, with the exception of the roadway in front of a certain major fast-food restaurant chain that decided to water their landscaping (and half of the road) when temperatures were below freezing. By the time I saw the ice, it was too late to stop and there were vehicles beside me so I couldn’t swerve. There’s a city ordinance (and $2k/day fine) for watering when it’s below freezing. I may or may not have sent a strongly worded letter to the local restaurant and to their legal department at the corporate headquarters!

  6. This is exactly what has been going on here…so warm that you’re dying to din outside and then you notice the ice! You are so right, the treadmill is the best answer if you don’t want to end up hurting yourself!

  7. ooooh I was dealing with this last week with the melting snow. I’d love to try out traction aids to see how well they worked!
    When I was running through it, I definitely slowed down or tried to run on the roads a little bit when it’s very quiet!

  8. Ha, I love your first tip. Don’t!

  9. Yeah, ice is pretty much the worst element to deal with for a runner. I do feel pretty safe, most of the time, if I put on Yaktrax, though. Knock wood, we are still awaiting our first snow or ice here in Maryland. It’s coming, though, I’m sure, and probably on a day where I need to run 22 miles! (I hate winter!)

  10. I used to hate running on ice, it’s just NOT fun! Completely agree with the first tip.. dont do it – go to the gym or wherever you have to go, jump on the treadmill and hammer out some kms there. Plus, its nice to be warm inside instead of freezing outside!

  11. Yikes! this makes our cold weather look like child’s play. Haha! Thanks for the icy tips! If I’m ever in colder weather, I will definitely remember this (i.e. don’t do it!).

  12. I know it’s bad but I hate the treadmill so much that I risk it all too often with running on the ice. I try to stay on the side where the snow gives a bit more traction and go slower, but I’ve had many close calls! If it was 60 and sunny out, my run would be perfect!

  13. Remember last year when I busted a**? It wasn’t even super bad out. hit one spot, slipped, and still have a wicked scar on my knee. This is a great reminder to be careful!

  14. I REALLY needed this post about two weeks ago when I was in Crested Butte, CO and I ran on ice. I ate it so hard and my tailbone hurt for like a week! Hopefully you will save some other poor soul from doing the same thing 😉

  15. runnerbydefault

    I love that you and your husband can spend time together running! My hubby isn’t a runner but we do walk a lot together. I am definitely not a cold weather runner. I prefer hot and humid over cold any day! Thank goodness for my treadmill or winter would be unbearable!!

  16. When I lived in MN, I used to run on the snowy grass next to the sidewalk to avoid slipping. It worked out okay. Where I live now, it rarely snows, but when it does, it’s nearly impossible to run because no one scoops there sidewalks! It happens so rarely that people don’t own shovels!

  17. Can you believe it? We’ve actually got snow down here on the south coast. I thought with our move we’d escape it! 😉 Oh well, hit the gym and the dreadmill for some intervals instead.

  18. I used to roll my eyes at the advice of “don’t run on ice”, but when I slipped (not running) and fell very hard on my tail bone a few years back….whoa, I’m a new ice-fearing girl! Worst part of that story? I was leaving my mom’s house, she saw me fall, came running out after me, and ….. fell. Worse, she broke her wrist. It was awful!!!

  19. I run on ice all the time, out of necessity because I live in the Midwest and don’t own a treadmill. I’ve found streets to be WAY safer than sidewalks and country roads are actually the best of all. Plus, in the country with little traffic, I run right in the lane where it’s almost always clear of ice.

  20. Great tips. I am super paranoid to run if there is a chance of ice. I know a runner that broke their tail bone slipping on ice!

  21. Pingback: Banishing boredom and taking my own advice | Change of Pace

  22. I’m a whimp–got to be over 30F with no ice. But oh, the dreadmill! 🙂

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