Lee Miller over at Complete Running has a list of winter running “do”s and “don’t”s. It is a pretty good list, which I am not going to duplicate here, but I would like to elaborate on a few of his points. I recommend checking out the original article and reading through them all.
Dressing properly and layering effectively is very important. The way that you dress can easily make or break even a simple run.
For proper footwear, I have found that the best way for me to run when the surface might be slippery is to wear my normal running shoes with stabilicers; they are a type of crampon that is designed to fit running shoes and that give you a pretty good grip while you are out for your run. I have also used spikes (racing shoes with holes that you can screw spikes into) on occasion, but only for short runs. The stabilicers are a much better option.
I have never tried the petroleum jelly on the eyelashes trick; I will give it a go this year. I usually wear sunglasses or safety glasses to keep the wind from hitting my eyes in the first place.
The only thing that I would like to add is to make sure that you wear bright or dark colors when you are out running. Orange and yellow shirts really stand out against snow, as does black during the day. Wearing a white shirt, though, can easily cause you to be lost against the snow much like wearing black at night can lose you into the darkness as a car is coming towards you.
Be very careful about running on the treadmill. He mentions using at least a 1-2% grade, which I agree with. I wrote an article comparing tracks and treadmills which can help you get a better understanding of when to use a treadmill. You will also want to check out the 5 most common treadmill mistakes:
- Taking it too easy
- Stepping off of a moving treadmill
- Using the handrails
- Unnatural stride length
- Not realizing how much easier it is
As for running on frozen rivers and lakes, I agree that it is important to make sure that they are safe, but it is certainly one of the highlights for me for living in a cold climate. It will most likely be at least another month and a half or two months before I begin doing any lake runs, but going over open ice and fighting the wind is a great workout. The best days are when you can go out running shirtless (remember your sun screen!) on a frozen lake, passing by the ice fishermen who are all bundled up and freezing themselves silly. I get some strange looks, but those are the best days to be out on the ice.
Those are my thoughts about Lee’s list; I recommend that you read the entire thing. Most of the points that I did not mention I either agree with or am abivalent about.