Even on the drive home from work I knew I had to go out. I was tired. I had to go out. I was stressed. I had to go out. It was wet and cold. I had to go out. The light was fading. I just knew I had to go out.
My foot has been bothering me for a year and it had not been the best day for my foot while at work. I hadn’t eaten in quite a few hours. I ran through a lot of reasons in my head why I should stay in. I still felt the pull to go outside though.
So I went inside, grabbed some running clothes (I couldn’t have cared less how I looked or whether I could find something warmer), did some mobility exercises (because my foot was, as a friend once put it, “grumpy”), warmed up (I have too many old niggles not too), and I went out the door. I couldn’t even find a headlamp to take with me in the dark.
I walked to the trail. I walked up the trail. The darkness was more of a comfort than a hinderance. I began to run. I knew I didn’t have much in me. I think I only went out for maybe a mile and a half. I stopped at one point and squatted down and looked out at the bright lights of Reno and said a prayer. It was cold and windy but somehow I felt just a little bit of my burden slip away in the dark out there on the trail.
I brought home less weight than I took out. I didn’t go far. I walked half of it. It wasn’t perfect… but it helped. When I was cooking dinner at home after the run (I am being generous with the word “run”) I felt more grateful and just a little less stressed- I’m really glad I went out (even if it had to be alone) and I do not want to take that for granted.
Mobility Post Script:
Some of you might want to know what my mobility exercises were. I like to take a small ball and divide the bottom of my foot into sections. Then I stand on the ball in each section for about 30 seconds with as much weight/ pressure as my foot will allow. It relaxes the soft tissue and allows (among other things) the joints to move more freely (and often affects pain if I am having some). I don’t always recommend doing it right before a run unless you follow it up with some foot activation (like short foot exercises)- but if you have tight feet and ankles and make mobilizing them a habit- you will learn your own body more and know when you need to do it. I mobilize my feet at least once a day (often in the morning or at night). I recommend everyone learn how to do “soft tissue work” on yourself- it can reduce pain, help speed up recovery, and help you learn the wonderful body that we all get/ have to live in!
First off let me preface by saying that running in cold and treacherous conditions may be dangerous. Please be careful if you are not used to running in wintery weather.
That being said, running in snowy wintery conditions can be awesome! Getting outside in blustery conditions does take a little practice but with the right gear and mindset it may be your new favorite running season.
Choosing what to wear will take time to figure out based on your preferences. This is probably the most crucial aspect of winter running. The challenge lies in temperature and moisture control. When you start running you will always be cold if you are dressed properly then hopefully you will warm up to a comfortable temperature. Layers and a light wind breaker that you can peel off once you begin warming up is always an options. Plus it is great to have a windbreaker in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. You will also want to wear a material that wicks moisture. Under your laysers of warm clothes you will build up sweat as you run. If you are not wear moisture wicking clothes you will eventually become quite chilly as you have wet clothes against your body.
Extremities are important. Your core generally isn’t too hard to regulate but hands, feet, ears can quickly become unbearably cold while the rest of you is hot if you do not have proper clothing. Reno Running Company carries a variety of gloves and mittens made specifically for runners. They are lightweight and convertible. I highly recommend a buff for your head. If you have not tried a buff for around your neck, face, head wrists, etc. do yourself a favor and watch our video about buffs.
When it comes to your feet you will want to run with taller run specific socks to wick the moisture and prevent blisters. You will want to go with a thick winter version. Also, you may want to consider investing in gore-tex or waterproof shoe. Lastly, when the snow is a bit deeper ankle gaiters which are generally meant for rocks and debris work great to keep snow from packing down your ankles
Some runners avoid winter running because it can be quite slippery and they are afraid of falling. That is understandable. However, there are ways to prevent this. Firstly I would recommend running somewhere flat if you are uncomfortable running in slippery conditions. Any little bit of off-camber terrain can cause slippage and cause you splat. Another tip is to stay off road. Sometimes the dirt and sand from trails provides a bit more grip than a slick and icy sidewalk. Lastly, you may want to consider get a pair of traction devices for your shoes. They work great and can be used on almost any type of running shoe. What am I talking about?…. just watch another video
Also, since it is darker in the winter months you should also be prepared with lighting (headlamp and blinking safety lights) should you find yourself out in the dark.
So if it still sounds quite miserable to you I challenge you to give it a shot. Find some buddies and go play in the snow. Winter months are a great time to not focus on nailing specific workouts but to get out the door and continue that active lifestyle by simply moving, feeling the crisp fresh air and reaping the reward for the accomplishment of crushing a wintery blizzard run. You’ll feel great!
Written by Ben Tedore,
Sierra Endurance Sports Athlete
If you happen to find yourself visiting or even better living in Reno and you are looking for a place to get out and venture you will be a happy runner. Reno is a superb location for trail running with trails for all types and for all season. The options and variety are endless. Despite the fact that Reno is located right next to Lake Tahoe and it’s wonderful wilderness many locals are perfectly happy with Reno’s trails choices.
So if you are looking for a flat long trail look no further than our only flat trail the “Ditch Trail”. The Ditch Trail winds through the upper parts of Reno before running alongside the hill west of Reno next to the Truckee River. The Ditch trail is a favorite amongst runners seeking flat terrain, running a tempo where they want to focus on their pace or simply recover on a non-pavement surface. It is also great for running intervals or fartleks if that is your thing. The western portion of this trail can be pretty exposed and windy while the the eastern section located in neighborhoods is often sheltered more. If you hit this trail at the end of summer you may also be able to snag some blackberries that grow wild along the trail for a mid run snack. The best place to park and begin your run is probably HERE.
If you are looking for a little more variation and maybe are close to downtown than you will want to go to Rancho San Rafael Park. This park blows my mind because it is right next to the University of Nevada, Reno yet also right next to Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest land. From this park is a vast network of 50 miles of trails that extends all the way to the summit of Peavine Mountain and beyond. So from Downtown Reno you can travel one mile and be on endless trails that make it feel like you are instantly in the wild. And that is because you are! To visit the park and start your run go HERE.
Lets say it is summer and you only are able to get a run in during the middle of the day. A lot of trails in Reno expose you to our wonderful sunshiny days that we have but it can be a bit warm in the summer sun. You may want to head a little further south and just to the west of the Reno Running Company store that I’m sure you will visit anyways and run the Dry Pond Loop. This area is very popular because it really feels like you are up in the mountains and in the forest, yet very close to Reno still. The trail is well maintained and the views are breathtaking. There is a bit of climbing, but nothing too bad. Start your Run HERE.
If you are looking for something a little steeper and more challenging the Hunter Creek Trail is also very popular. This trail can become more heavily trafficked on the weekends but for a good reason. The prize at the end of this trail is a beautiful waterfall. If you are looking for something challenging, scenic and Instagram worthy run this trail. This is also a great trail to simply hike. Be careful crossing the creek which requires some fancy foot work from rock to rock and once at the top you will need to cross a log which is about 10ft above the creek. The trailhead starts HERE.
If you are looking for something even steeper and longer some of the more serious local mountain runners often visit Chalk Canyon. This trail is relentless and climbs about 2.5k feet to the summit of Peavine. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot because the views of Truckee Meadows and Reno are amazing. You will most likely see deer that live in the higher desert environment. You may want to carry a windbreaker or something warmer because it is often 10-20 degrees cooler at the summit and is always windy. This trail runs up Chalk Canyon for the first 2/3 then up a ridge line to the summit. To start this run go HERE.
I hope this gets you out enjoying our backyard! And if you have any questions many of the staff at Reno Running Company could certainly help with trail recommendations and if you are looking for someone to run with they may be able to find someone to get out there with you.
Happy Trails! #RENORUNNINGCOMPANY