Don’t let this happen to you!
These past few months, I’ve been running lots of miles outdoors in the cold while training for the Susitna 100 next month. These past few weeks it has been especially cold in the Anchorage area, and on race day, there is always the potential for it to get down to -20 to -30°F. Keeping your water from freezing when running for hours in these kinds of temperatures is a very important skill. I’m not going to last very long in a winter 100 miler if my water is frozen solid, and there are only aid stations every 15-20 miles.
Continue reading “How to Keep Your Water From Freezing When Running in the Winter”
This is my public service announcement, since so many seem to get the two confused.
A balaclava will help keep your face and neck warm when running in the cold.
Baklava may be a tasty dessert, but it won’t help keep you warm.
As part of my preparation for the Susitna 100 next month, I had to build a sled to haul my 15+ pounds of required gear. Much to my frustration, I had trouble finding much good information online on building a sled for winter running. I did find some decent information on building a pulk, but those are typically geared toward hikers and/or hunters pulling a much larger load, often travelling across unpacked snow. Some of the ideas are transferable, but many are not. I also spent a fair amount of time talking to other runners I know who have done this race, and asked them about how they built their sleds. I even went as far as scouring the intertubes for photos of runners pulling sleds, zooming in and gathering as much information as I could about their sled construction.
In the end, what I came up with was a pretty basic sled design. There are some people who get way more complicated with their sleds. Although their designs may be superior in some ways, my decisions on my sled design were guided by 2 principles:
- I wanted my sled to be as simple as possible, with the least likelihood of something breaking during the race.
- If something did break, what would be the easiest to repair out on the course?
Continue reading “Building My Sled for the Susitna 100”
For several years now, I’ve considered running the Susitna 100, but had just never taken that leap. Running a 100 miler in the middle of winter is a whole different beast than running one in the summer. There’s already plenty of things that can go wrong during a “normal” 100 miler – running one in the middle of the Alaskan winter adds even more to that list.
Well, this year I finally committed and signed up. Like many winter races in Alaska, you can choose to either run, bike or ski this event. There is also a 50k that I ran 2 years ago.
Continue reading “Preparing for the Susitna 100”
No, not that kind of ice…
It may be well into November, but winter still hasn’t really hit in this part of Alaska yet. We got a few inches of early-season snow, with nothing since then. Instead, we’ve had several rounds of freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw, leaving our sidewalks and trails covered in ice.
Still wanting to get outside and run, but not wanting to fall and hurt myself, I properly studded my shoes several weeks ago. I’ve tried numerous traction devices for running in the winter on snow and ice, and have found simply inserting screws into my shoes to be the most effective, and (better yet) the least expensive method. Even with studs in my shoes, things can get a bit perilous on glare ice, of which we currently have plenty. Over the years, I’ve learned to slow down and alter my foot fall a bit to ensure I stay vertical.
Another sneaky technique I’ve used for dealing with the ice is to run on the indoor track at The Dome. Back in October, they had a great deal on annual memberships. My dear wife, not wanting me to injure myself, got me a membership. My son has karate two nights a week, and his dojo just so happens to only be a few blocks away from the Dome. So I’ve been spending a lot of time lately running around in circles while my son learns the touch of death. No, it’s not the same as running outdoors, but it is nice not having to deal with the ice, and being able to just run in a t-shirt and shorts.
What are your tips and techniques for dealing with running on ice?