Now that the sun is starting to peek through the gray winter skies, it’s tempting to roll right into your spring and summer running routines. This is understandable considering that studies prove that running during seasonal changes helps to keep your mood up. But, anytime you run in this crossover of wet seasons, you must anticipate all of the different surfaces and terrains that you might encounter. Be aware of this list of potential hazards before you head out the door for that anticipated run.
Ice Is Still Lurking
As the days warm up, it’s easy to forget that ice on roads and trails is still something to be concerned about. Avoid running before sunrise, because melted snow and puddles may have frozen overnight. If you can run later in the day when it’s warmer, you have less chance of slipping and falling. If you can’t change your running time, consider running on a treadmill until the ice melts for good.
Spring Rain Showers Make for a Soggy Morning
Regardless of how long your run is, if it looks like rain, it’s important to prepare for the possibility of blisters and pruned feet. Putting lube on your feet, especially on the heels and around the edges of toes, will keep rain from seeping into your skin. Wearing socks that wick moisture away from feet will help to lessen blisters, and help you feel more comfortable overall. Some runners wrap their feet in plastic over their socks. Their shoes may get wet, but their feet stay dry. Finally, consider spraying your shoes with water repellent, but allow 24 hours for them to dry before using them again. After your run, dry out your shoes by shoving newspaper or paper towels so the moisture is drawn out of the shoe.
Mud: Not a Spa Experience
Ankles beware: slipping in mud can be just as injurious as falling on ice. Mud is difficult because it’s not always easy to spot and it hides many dangers. Because of the potential for misleading puddle depths, try to avoid the middle of paths and trails. Running in mud is one thing; immersing your whole shoe in a puddle of mud makes for grainy, slippery and uncomfortable running. Add rough sand to a blister, and you’ve got a situation that could keep you out of your shoes for a couple of days.
If you have to deal with caked-on mud when you get home, first let the shoes dry completely. Then, bang them on a sidewalk, driveway or road, and the mud should fall right off.
Keeping your feet dry and safe is the key to good “spring” training. You’ll be racing in the warmth soon enough. Happy running!