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crunch crunch

December 13, 2010

That’s the sound my shoes make when running through the snow. Crunch crunch. I love that sound and the rhythmic pounding of my running shoes hitting the ground.

Although I had planned a list of errands for this past weekend, I barely made it out of the house. And the one time we did – to meet friends for brunch – we drove and found ourselves sliding all over the place and driving at about 10mph. It appears that winter has finally arrived here.

We got a ton of snow, blizzard warnings for part of the state, road closures, single digit temperatures, and more snow this weekend. So we’ve been cozying up inside with movies, books, and holiday music. And my bikes stayed nicely parked inside our garage.

Although I’m curious to give cycling in these new conditions (snow) a try, I was in no hurry to do so this weekend. I’m waiting for a bit of salt to hit the roads and for some snow ploughs to come through first. But I did strap on my running shoes and go for a winter run on Saturday and Sunday. With my dog, Indie.

Although I have some trepidation about cycling in the snow, I remember that I felt that way about running in the snow my first winter running outdoors as well. And now I love it. I can’t say why, but winter running through snow covered trails and roads is a ton of fun for me. And for my dog, who was equally thrilled to find this fluffy white stuff on the ground on Saturday afternoon.

I know how to change my stride in the winter (a shorter stride with smaller steps helps keep your balance more) and I know how to dress effectively for it. Thus equipped, winter running is enjoyable and refreshing and the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors when you don’t have access to other fun winter sports like snowshoeing, skiing, or sledding.

And I know Indie couldn’t agree more.

I’m keeping the same open mind about cycling in snow covered roads. I know it will take a change in technique and balance and I will likely be going much much slower (just as I run slower on snow covered roads), but with a bit of patience and sense of adventure, I’m sure I’ll figure how to best make it work.

PS: Indie accompanies on all my runs and I use a hands-free running leash for dogs to strap her to me (you can see the purple thing going around my waist in the image above). It’s great for keeping your balance while running by not having a dog pull you from one arm, causing you to run with one part of your body pulled unevenly forward. I also use a Gentle Leader because Indie (a blue heeler & black lab mix) is super fast and incredibly strong. I need the Gentle Leader to enforce the idea that she needs to gently lead me on our runs.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Patrick L. Zyduck permalink
    December 13, 2010 14:07

    They make studded tires for bicycles that work great in icy conditions. I use Kenda Klondikes and love them! I used them to commute all last winter and found them to be a blessing at times. One other thing to keep in mind when it comes to bicycle tires in the snow is this. Fat equals float! The wider, the better.


  2. December 13, 2010 14:20

    Ah, I love that first photo! Fresh snow makes everything look gorgeous, no? I’m enjoying your winter running posts–I hope you keep posting them throughout the season :-)

    Happy running!

  3. December 13, 2010 15:01

    This is very timely because while I’ve just starting “running” – well, walk/jog as part of Couch-to-5K. I just went back and read your running gear post, I might have to look into some running tights. Right now I’m wearing two pair of your typical stretch cotton leggings, two pair of socks, a stretch-denim mini-skirt (for modesty and pockets), a hanes tank top, a sports bra, a long sleeve t-shirt and a XL hoodie. And gloves. The only bulky part is that hoodie, so your slimfit running jacket sounds interesting too. We haven’t had any serious snow down here yet, just one dusting a couple weeks ago… how great that you run in it up there! Best wishes.

  4. December 13, 2010 15:18

    Just take it handy out there on the snowy roads. For the first couple of days, go slow and remember not to suddenly brake. Watch out for the ice, and I’m sure you’ll be fine.

    Indie is such a cutie. Did it take you long to teach him to lead you rather than pulling you? I am interested in taking my parents’ dogs out running with me over Christmas so I wondering if it will take them long to get used to it.

    • December 13, 2010 17:18

      We started running with her as a puppy. She still has trouble with the pulling thing so to make it better, I take her to a field where she can sprint around off-leash for a few minutes and get most of her energy out. Then I leash her and we do our route. At that point, she has no problem running my pace and going in a straight line without pulling off to the sides.

      She LOVES going for a run, whenever she sees me put my running clothes on, she gets super excited and jumps all over me, ready to go. I would give running with your parents’ dog a try, start out with a short route and take some treats along, and perhaps let let off leash (if possible) before the run, to get a little bit of their excitement of being outdoors out of the way first.

      Good luck!

  5. December 13, 2010 16:41

    yay for winter running! I love going out when everyone else is curled up indoors. It’s peaceful to run on quiet streets.

    Do Indie’s paws get cold? Seattle doesn’t get much snow, but when we did have a snowstorm a couple weeks ago my dogs only stayed out for about 30 minutes before they started whimpering and biting at their frozen paws.

    • December 13, 2010 17:11

      Seejenbike- no, her paws are ok. We had worried about that during her first winter and bought her little doggie shoes but she hated them and refused to walk when they were on. I assume she’s not cold because she never whimpers or gives any indication and she continues to go to the backdoor to be let outside even after a 30-40 minute run outdoors.

      If your dogs do have a problem with the cold, have you considered little doggie shoes for them?

  6. December 13, 2010 20:39

    This is my first winter running with my dog–does Indie get cracks in her paws? Lincoln has started to, and I’m not sure what to do. They don’t seem to bother him, but my fingers sure hurt when they dry out and crack!
    On another note, I love the blog! Since starting reading Academichic and other cycle chic blogs in the spring, I’ve been so inspired. I bought a new bike and have been commuting the 2 miles to campus, even as the temps have started to drop here in Chicago. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

    • Christina permalink
      December 13, 2010 23:21

      I always use “Mushers Secret” for paw cracks – if its a problem. Drs Foster and Smith currently has free shipping on the product. I used to live in an extreme cold climate and it was the best product on my Labrador. He was pretty sturdy, though, so he didn’t need it too frequently. But it is safe if they lick it and it worked pretty well.

      • December 14, 2010 01:33

        Thanks for chiming in with this! I had no idea about this product.

        A. are you sure they’re cracks? T. (my husband) says he used to be really worried about the ice causing cracks to Indie’s paws and used to inspect them incessantly. He used to think they she was getting cracks, but they were just folds. When he’s pull them ‘open’, they were not actual open wounds (like a crack) but just folds.

        Hope Lincoln in ok and you can both continue to enjoy the wintery outdoors together!

        And thanks for your kind words about the site!

      • December 14, 2010 02:37

        Thanks for the suggestions on the balm, Christina. And S., no, I’m not sure they are cracks, now that you mention it. They look like it, and actually seemed to be a bit of a bother to him this evening, but he doesn’t like me fiddling with his feet so much, so I can’t get a good look. Someone suggested dog booties, which I might just have to do if they turn out to be bad cracks. He’s manly enough at 90lbs that I think we can get away with it on our runs without looking too foolish!

      • December 14, 2010 12:30

        A – if you give the dog booties a try, I would suggest making him wear them a bit around the house first. That way, if he really hates them, you can still return them (after only being worn on carpet or indoors). Indie refused to move when she had them on and we returned them in the end. But Lincoln might take to them. Good luck!

  7. December 14, 2010 00:44

    Ooh Indie is so cute! The two of you together are gorgeous! My dog too loves to run with me. Given that we are in summer now we can only run very early in the morning or late at night for short runs as I’m very aware of not letting him overheat. The rest of the year we can run a lot further without any temperature considerations. I never knew there was such thing as a lead designed for that purpose as I normally run with just his leather lead clipped around my waist. But the fixed waist band with a lead coming off it would definitely be more stable. I’ll get my dog the lead for xmas! Thanks for the link dear!

  8. Tracy permalink
    December 14, 2010 00:48

    This comment is not about biking or running or dogs or winter (even though I was wondering how you would be doing on your bike in the snow. We just had our first snowstorm, and while the driving lanes were plowed, the bike lanes were NOT). I really just wanted to say: Yay for lace curtains!!!

  9. December 14, 2010 05:33

    that is so rad you run! and your dog super cute. though we dont have snow out here, the only sound we hear is crucn crunch from the fall leaves =)
    do you read bitchcakes in NY? she also goes everywhere on her bike and runs.
    runners +bikes = super ladies! xxom

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