Don’t Let Winter Stop You in Your Tracks!~By ThePineTree Pedaler, Brett Loring

Eighteen degrees outside, snow’s falling, and the roads are icy. Seems easiest to just skip that outdoor exercise routine on days like this. Don’t let winter weather stop you! Now I’m not a die-hard distance-runner or a marathoner (I prefer the bicycle for the long haul), but barring any serious respiratory ailments, I insist upon a 3-day-a-week, 3-mile routine for the heart, lungs and legs – rain, sleet, or snow. So early this…..

snowy morning, for example, I suited up – sweat pants, base layer shirt, hooded sweatshirt, gloves, running shoes, headlamp and Yaktrax. Different varieties of the shoe/boot traction devices exist, but for under 20 bucks, those in the photo keep me from doing a Tonya Harding routine while running on Moran Road. Think of them as snow and ice cables for your feet. Easy on, easy off.

In these winter months, you don’t have to confine yourself to a treadmill (or worse yet just staying inside) and miss out on the exhilaration of taking in fresh, crisp air while exercising the heart, soul and mind. Had I stayed inside on mornings like these, I would have missed out on a private showing of a December meteorite shower; the curiosity of two gray foxes as they watched this lone runner pass their tree den; the diversion of tracing tracks of a raccoon family in the fresh, downy snow. If you run, walk, jog in an area where you are concerned about undesirable critters that might approach you, you might consider carrying a metal pole or other object that you can swing, such as a golf club, or take along a small canister of oleo capsicum (pepper spray).

Remember, if you run on the roadway, you are virtually invisible to motor vehicle traffic. Despite reflectors, headlamp, day-glow green vest, even in daylight motorists may not see you. A headlamp for visibility and signaling, if necessary, is also a good idea if you are a pre-dawn treader like me. I always keep an ear tuned for cars coming from behind and yield to them by merging well onto the shoulder. Runners, walkers, and cyclists can often throw-off drivers’ judgment as they attempt to predict what you will do. If possible, carry a cell phone and always let another person back home know your route. Get equipped. Get out in our area’s natural gym. What a great place to stay fit year ‘round!