A few weeks ago while giving a running talk the topic of some of the challenges of winter running in Penticton came up. While swapping stories I was reminded of one early December night I decided to go for a run. I was a recent transplant from Vancouver and while used to the dark rainy winters I was not quite aware of the freeze/thaw cycles in the Okanagan. Rounding a well lit corner in near the lake my foot hit a patch of ice and down I went. Thankfully I walked (ran cautiously) away from that incident with only a few bruises but I learned a valuable lesson. I know I am not alone in this scenario and there are many runners who ‘tweak’ a hip flexor, hamstring or knee trying to negotiate a safe running path in our dark climate. While we cannot prevent every injury from happening there are a few things you can do this winter to hopefully stay upright.
1. Run on the sidewalks- these are often cleared and well travelled.
2. Catch as might daylight as possible/ Find a well lit route.
3. Run with a friend – winter running clinics are a great idea!
4. Try changing your shoes to a trail runner with better tread.
5. Invest in some add on traction for your shoes (Yaktrax, spikes)
And last but definitely not least!
6. Add some balance exercises to your routine (wobble boards, bosu, 1 legs stands) and improve your ability to cope with those unforeseen slips and slides.
If you do have a spill… ice, rest and don’t be afraid to visit your friendly neighborhood physiotherapist –we can swap stories!