By Amanda Theobald
The winter is one of my favorite times of year to run. Sometimes it can be hard to get out the door because it will be a bit cold at the start. Not to mention the other deterrents to going out in the winter weather, such as snowy and icy conditions, making your footing so unstable it doesn’t even feel worth it to run. Or the blasted pollution that fills this lovely valley with harmful particulates that breathing in will outweigh any health benefits gained from running. Yet, I am here to tell you about a product that can help you continue running if either of these situations are keeping you indoors.
Slipping on the ice is one of the scariest things that can happen to you when running. Your running career flashes before your eyes as you try to avoid landing on your tailbone, hips or knees, or as you try to keep your legs together so you don’t do the splits. You can get really hurt from falling. If you seriously bruise any part of your butt, hips or knees you are probably going to have to take some time off, and might even struggle getting home. Also, I once met a lady that slipped on the sidewalk standing on the corner, and right as she did a semi-truck hopped the curb and ran her legs over. Now that is a one in a million chance, but you are always safer up on your feet. So what can be done about this? Use Yak-Trax! They are a rubber and coiled metal contraption that you put over the soles of your shoes. It is the equivalent of adding chains to your vehicle’s tires for safe winter driving. They are unobtrusive enough that if you run into some shoveled side walk it isn’t a big deal.
So how will these things that you put on your feet help you deal with poor air quality? They make the trails more accessible! However, I am not sure how high up you have to go to escape the poor air quality. My experience on trails makes me think it is better at higher elevation because when I’m up on a trail it appears that I am looking down on the smog. Not to mention, the particulates suspended in the air are heavier so will be most concentrated in the valley. I really hate treadmills, so I am willing to risk it. I actually like running on the trails in the winter more than in the summer. In the summer you have all these rocks to roll your ankle on, yet in the winter the snow packs out nice and flat. So with a little extra traction its actually better footing than trying to run over all those rocks. Yak Trax are the perfect amount of traction to keep really stable on icy, snow packed trails. Running on trails in the winter is such a quiet, peaceful, beautiful experience and not to be missed.
A few more things to consider.
You really only want to wear them if the majority of the run is going to be on sketchy conditions. They are kind of loud on pavement, and they will wear out faster on pavement.
If the snow is fresh and fluffy it usually has good traction, unless there is ice underneath. But fresh, fluffy snow can get built up in the yak trax, which is like running on big round snowballs stuck to your feet.
They are really easy to take on and off your shoes and stay on the whole time.