Thanks to our colleague Liz Kay who trudged through the snow to find us this:
Some runners don't give up even when the U.S Postal Service cries uncle. But even some of Baltimore's most diehard runners thought it was best to wait until the flakes stopped falling before lacing up their shoes for a run.
"You get to a certain point where you simply can’t perform the mechanics of running,” said Bart Rein, a board member of the Baltimore Road Runners Club.
“If it’s like mid-calf, you can still get out there and do it,” he said.
But given the accumulations that had arrived by Wednesday afternoon, even devoted joggers shouldn’t venture out, he said. Most members of the running groups he monitors via Facebook and other sites were canceling their runs.
“You kind of get used to running in just about anything,” Rein said, including rain and snow. However, runners would be putting themselves at risk of getting hit by vehicles that lose control, he said.
“When you have 4- and 5-foot mounds of snow on a corner, it becomes a blind corner. Trying to use the same space a car is trying to use ... it’s just ridiculous,” he said.
Instead, Rein will maintain his training schedule — he’s aiming for a 50-kilometer race in March — by picking up miles on his treadmill.
Once the snow stops falling, Rein and running coach Jeff Gaudette had some tips for those who can’t wait to lace up their shoes.
Gaudette, who has been running for nearly 15 years and coaching for seven, said he ran outside every day since Friday — but wasn’t sure he would go out yesterday. The Maine native attended school in Providence and ran professionally in Michigan, so he’s experienced plenty of winter weather. But this has been a challenge, even for him.
“I hate the treadmill, I’m not going to lie,” Gaudette said. “For me, I would rather be outside and enjoying it, even when it’s crazy like this.”
On Saturday, the Charles Village resident headed to Johns Hopkins University. “I’ve always found that running on college campuses is usually the best way to go,” he said. “Those tend to clear up the fastest.”
He also recommends that people just take things easy rather than try for speed or to do any sort of workout. “It’s too easy to slip and mess yourself up,” Gaudette said.
Both Rein and Gaudette put short screws in the soles of sneakers to enhance grip on the snow or ice. Runners are advised to run against the flow of traffic, so they can see cars, even if drivers can’t see them.
Rein dresses in layers and puts duct tape over the mesh of his running shoes to avoid losing heat. Gaudette layers tight clothes that won’t get heavy and saggy when wet. He also lines his gloves with latex gloves, which are waterproof, and uses Vaseline to create a waterproof barrier on any exposed skin.
“I think all athletes, no matter what level you’re at, there’s an inherent level of competitiveness there,” Gaudette said. “It’s kind of fun to think to yourself, ‘I’m kind of crazy for doing this.’”
Baltimore Sun photo