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Icy conditions: How to run safely

Look:

Although we aren’t blessed/cursed (depending on who you ask) in the U.K with an abundance of snow, it can still get very icy underfoot. If we are lucky/unlucky enough for a white Christmas, and people want to carry on their running routines, then certain changes need to be made to make sure we stay safe in slippery conditions.

But why:

Walking-speed slips on icy puddles account for a number of injuries every winter. There have even been cases of people suffering brain damage from simple falls, and although they are rare, they are a possibility we must try to avoid at all costs.

Injuries aside, running in cold conditions increases the risk of illnesses as well. Soaking wet feet in cold conditions can almost guarantee a bout of flu.

So, what can we do to make things safer?

Firstly:

Take a look at your running technique. When things get slippery under foot you need to ensure you aren’t over striding. Putting your centre mass too far ahead of you increases your chance of taking a tumble.

Have you noticed people taking on a penguinesque waddle when it’s icy?

Whilst hilarious, it actually makes perfect sense. By keeping your landing foot directly underneath your hips, you are afforded much more stability, so try and do the same when running. Having more of the foot making contact with the ground provides greater surface area to land on, improving overall balance.

When you’re driving in icy conditions you don’t want to brake too harshly. The same goes for when you’re running. Give yourself time to slow down gradually and take corners slowly; try to stop too quickly and you may find your feet carrying on without you.

When snow is due the salt gritters come out in force. This salt can cause havoc with running trainers and can destroy a good pair of shoes in no time at all. Please don’t be tempted to save your good pair and run in an old pair of tatty trainers.

Try and get yourself a pair with good traction, preferably a bit more hard wearing than usual. Beating up a pair of trainers is better than breaking your neck.

For regular runners, look at buying a pair of trail shoes. They keep your feet warm and dry even in the worst conditions. 

With these tips and tricks in mind you can carry on preparing for an event - or even partake in some local winter running events.

 

29th December 2017, 12:59
Page updated 29th Dec 2017, 12:59
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