After 3 days of joggling in sunny California (it was a work trip), I’m back to the snowy sidewalks of Chicago. While Arcaner reminds us that Chicago isn’t the only place that gets snow, we certainly seem to be getting more than usual. Didn’t someone tell the clouds about global warming?
Anyway, today I put on my Under Armour, long sleeve running shirt, old running shoes and took out my water-resistant joggling bags. I reviewed the tips from the bad weather running post and went joggling. In the winter, you will encounter a variety of running surfaces and you’ll need to adjust your technique for each one. Here is what you might find.
Running & Juggling Adjustments on Winter Surfaces
Your best bet is to AVOID all these surfaces if you can. Each one can be dangerous and lead to a serious injury. You might consider using a treadmill. If you do want to joggle outside also consider running on the shoulder of the street (towards traffic). The surface is usually cleared and safer.
Powder Snow Sidewalk. You’ll experience this surface when the snowfall is new and the temperature is slightly below freezing. When your foot hits the ground, the snow explodes out revealing the sidewalk below. This snow is peaceful.
Adjustments: Adjust your gaze closer to the ground where you’re joggling. Ice below this kind of snow can make for some trecherous steps. Concentrate more on your footing than your juggling. When there is no ice, this surface is relatively easy.
Crusty Snow Sidewalk. You get this surface a day or so after the snowfall. The top layer melts in the daytime then freezes at night. When you run on it, you get a crunching sound.
Adjustments: Slow down and prepare for a tougher run. You’ll use a lot more energy just trying to move your feet foward. Fortunately, it’s rarely a slippery surface but it’s more difficult to joggle than the powdery snow.
Icey Sheets and Patches. This is the trickiest surface to joggle. Every step is an adventure that could lead to a serious fall. I don’t recommend this one for newbies. With each stride your feet will slip and your progress slows.
Adjustments: Slow down and watch each step. Lift your legs up and take more of a marching step than a running one. If you are slipping too much stop joggling and walk to a safer surface.
Slush & Water. Dirty slushy snow is the most common surface for urban winter joggling. It’s not particularly slippery but it is wet. Unfortunately, you often can’t tell how deep a puddle is so you end up dunking your shoe and getting soggy, cold feet.
Adjustments: Keep an eye on where your stepping and watch out of big puddles. If you must splash down in a puddle bring your foot down hard and pull it up right away. This may reduce the amount of water that soaks into your shoe. It’s also helpful to wear nylon/water resistant socks.
Salty puddles. These are created by the fine folks who sprinkle salt pellets. Ice & snow melt leaving little pebbles of salt floating in pools of water. Fortunately, the puddles don’t get too big so the surface isn’t too tough to run on. It’s equivallent to running on a dirt track. Of course, you still have to be careful for patches of ice.
Adjustments: No major adjustments except to watch for ice. You can run nearly a normal pace on this surface.
Joggling in snowy weather can provide greater challenges for the urban joggler. If you’re not careful it could lead to pulled muscles, blisters, soggy balls and worse, a serious injury. But I have to admit, it’s fun for me. The added challenge and the puzzled looks of people walking by are priceless.